Permata Utara Bus from Kuala Lumpur Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) to Johor Bahru Larkin Sentral
Permata Utara is a late-night bus operator from Kuala Lumpur Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS) to Johor Bahru Larkin Sentral. I chose this bus on the spot as my earlier booked Billion Stars got cancelled. Once I arrived at TBS, I checked with the ticket counter for my options and paid for a new ticket for the next immediate bus departure to Johor Bahru which was in 2 hours at 3.15am, which was with Permata Utara.
This long-haul Permata Utara express bus service operates from Kuala Perlis to Kangar, Changlun, Jitra, Alor Setar, Sungai Petani, Butterworth Penang Sentral, Ipoh Amanjaya, Kuala Lumpur Hentian Duta, Kuala Lumpur Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS), and Johor Bahru Larkin Sentral, which had departed the day before from Kuala Perlis at 6pm. I will be on board for the final stretch of this long-haul bus route along with many others buying their tickets on the spot as well.
Kuala Lumpur Terminal Bersepadu Selatan (TBS)
I first tried to redeem my Billion Stars ticket which was surprisingly successful. I then showed the ticket counter the SMS I had received from Billion Stars that my bus had been cancelled, and some checking was done with her supervisor on this issue. Apparently, the bus was not cancelled in their system yet.
After some clarification, my refund would have to be done via Easybook since I had booked my ticket online through them. TBS would not be able to provide a cash refund on the spot as this was an agent booking.
I then proceeded to pay for the next immediate departure in cash as I didn’t want to be further stranded in KL in the wee hours of the morning while the clarifications were ongoing. Unfortunately, the next immediate bus departure was in 2 hours with Permata Utara as all buses before were already full.
I first headed down to Gate 19 for my original Billion Stars bus hoping for a miracle, since I had time to kill before my 3.15am departure anyway.
I was surprised to find many passengers waiting at Gates 18 and 19, all for Billion Stars buses.
My original 2am Billion Stars departure’s bus number plate was stated as “STOPTRIP” but the status was “On Schedule”.
Not believing the last glimmer of hope on an error status, I accepted my fate for my 3.15am Permata Utara bus trip.
I then headed back up to go to the main departure lobby where a more comfortable waiting area awaits.
Unfortunately, the check-in system at TBS only allows you to enter the departure lobby 60 minutes before departure.
At 2.15am, I headed down to the departure lobby successfully.
There are plenty of seats at the main departure lobby at TBS.
I took a seat in front of Gate 2 where my 3.15am Permata Utara bus would be departing from.
There seems to be a wave of delays for all buses across all routes that night/early morning. Buses were generally 1 hour behind schedule on almost all routes.
At 3.15am, this turned out true for my Permata Utara bus as the status was changed to “Delayed”.
No sign of the bus came any time soon, and a grumpy passenger soon went to express his grievances to the innocent TBS staff who took it in his stride professionally.
3.15am Permata Utara Bus from TBS
My 3.15am Permata Utara bus arrived for boarding at 3.55am – 40 minutes delayed.
The interior of the 30-seater Permata Utara bus in a 2+1 Super VIP configuration with 10 rows of seats.
While the Permata Utara bus arrived closed to empty, perhaps with most passengers from the north dropping off already at Hentian Duta and the TBS arrival berths, the last leg of the journey from TBS to Larkin ran full.
Also, notice that the Permata Utara bus had headrest covers of Shamisha Holiday. A quick Google search of “Permata Shamisha” brought me to a Permata Shamisha Satu Enterprise webpage which features, well, a lot of other operators as well in the company.
The 3.15am Permata Utara bus departed from TBS at 4.05am – 50 minutes late.
Lights were switched off immediately after departing from the bus bay.
With a lot of time spent awake waiting already, I dosed off quickly in my seat.
Kawasan Rehat & Rawat (R&R) Pagoh Selatan (Southbound)
I woke up for a bit when the Permata Utara bus stopped at Kawasan Rehat & Rawat (R&R) Pagoh Selatan (Southbound) for a toilet break. However, most of the passengers were still in dreamland and did not alight to use it, including me.
I woke up only when the Permata Utara bus was approaching Larkin Sentral.
Approaching Johor Bahru Larkin Sentral in the day light.
Johor Bahru Larkin Sentral
Arriving at Johor Bahru Larkin Sentral.
The Permata Utara bus arrived at Johor Bahru Larkin Sentral at 9.07am, making this a journey time of 5 hours and 2 minutes when actually on the move, or 5 hours and 52 minutes including original departure time.
The extensive destination sign on the Permata Utara bus. However, I don’t think it was continuing on to Pasir Gudang as all passengers have alighted, and Pasir Gudang was not in the TBS system.
Looking back at my last-minute Permata Utara express bus.
Overall, the Permata Utara bus arrived late at TBS but I think it was excusable since this was a long-haul north-to-south Peninsular Malaysia service originating from Kuala Perlis all the way down to JB, and the Permata Utara bus was affected by the end-of-Malaysia Day-weekend traffic jams in to KL that night. At least the journey was non-stop from TBS to JB Larkin with a toilet break in between.
It’s also nice to sample a long-haul northern bus operator for a short sector in another part of Malaysia from where the bus is based without the pains of actually travelling the span of Peninsular Malaysia for the full service from Kuala Perlis via Kangar, Changlun, Jitra, Alor Setar, Sungai Petani, Butterworth Penang Sentral, Ipoh Amanjaya, and Kuala Lumpur Hentian Duta. I’ll happily spend that journey back on the MySawadee 1005dn train.
The Permata Utara fare from TBS to JB Larkin at RM40 was more expensive compared to the usual prices, but I guess it’s the premium one pays when you don’t want to get stranded in TBS in the middle of the night.