This letter by Moaz from TRANSIT was published in the NST on Monday, 8 June 2009. Please note that the letter is edited. A full copy of the letter will be posted soon along with more detailed info and analysis of RapidKL’s original route system.
PUBLIC TRANSPORT: CVLB should look to RapidKL for the answers
By : MOAZ YUSUF AHMAD for Transit
MINISTER in the Prime Minister’s Department Datuk Seri Mohamed Nazri Abdul Aziz recently visited Kuala Lumpur’s Chinatown area, taking a look at public transport problems at Jalan Silang, the Klang bus stand and other areas.
The media reported that Nazri was angry with the pollution and obstruction to traffic there. Nazri also noted that he thought that the bus operators were using the pajak (pawning) system — the closest that any politician has come to admitting that this exists. I hope that some action will be taken against bus operators that pajak their buses to others.
Nazri said there were six major bus operators serving Kuala Lumpur and six entry points to the city. He has directed the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) to give each bus operator its own separate entry point and bus stand. The CVLB has two months to plan the new routes.
The Association for the Improvement of Mass Transit-Klang Valley (Transit) would like to suggest that the planning of new routes can be accomplished a lot sooner by simply asking RapidKL for information.
In 2006, RapidKL divided the Klang Valley into six zones. To serve these six zones, it identified five separate entry points as bus hubs and terminated the stage bus services there. For access into the city, RapidKL offered a city shuttle service and a single all-day ticket, Touch ‘n Go service and monthly passes. Prasarana also bought hundreds of new buses for RapidKL.
The problem was that only RapidKL followed the new system. Other bus operators continued to pajak their buses, block the streets of KL, raise their fares to the maximum allowed and cut costs to the bare minimum, polluting the air with their old, poorly maintained buses.
It is these bus operators who are claiming that the system is unfair because RapidKL gets financial support from the government.
So what is the solution? Ironically, it is in the hands of the CVLB. With the support of the Federal Government and the Kuala Lumpur City Council, the CVLB can act as a de facto local public transport authority, instead of waiting until the new public land transport commission is created.
The CVLB can plan the new routes, package the zones to include a mix of profitable and social routes, and make each zone available under contract via an open tender to the existing bus operators. They can work with Prasarana to buy more buses to supplement the existing fleets.
The bus operators then would have to abandon the pajak system, start paying their employees a competitive salary, buy new buses (or lease them from Prasarana) and maintain their existing fleet. By following this system, the CVLB will be able to bring back accountability to the bus operators and better public transport services in the Klang Valley.
RapidKL had a good route plan for Klang Valley in 2006 but was unable to implement it because the system was unfairly tilted in favour of the other bus operators. If the CVLB takes the RapidKL zones as a starting point and uses the BastrenKL map guide for overview, they may be able to plan a better system for the Klang Valley.
Transit suggests that the CVLB keep RapidKL’s route system and devise a single ticketing system. Let RapidKL run the City Shuttle and LRT. Transfer the Cyberjaya Dedicated Transport Service to the Putrajaya Corporation which has more buses.
Let the additional buses go to the operators selected to provide services for each area. That way, RapidKL can concentrate on LRT and the City Shuttle, the other bus operators can improve their services, and public transport users get a single, effective public transport system.
Nazri and CVLB must realise that it is RapidKL that has all the answers.
We are not here to defend RapidKL. Our goal is to improve public transport and that comes from openness and dialogue and honesty. Sharing this information with the public and the government will, hopefully make it clear to some people (Nazri) that the solution to the existing problems with public transport is clear and staring him in the face.
We look forward to receiving our invitation for the meeting of bus operators with Prasarana, DBKL, Federal Territories Ministry, EPU and the bus operators. But we won’t hold our collective breath yet.