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Summary of Urban Public Transport NKRA & proposed solutions

For those who are interested, Lester Kong of the Malaysia Star has written a very detailed and interesting summary report on the Urban Public Transport NKRA, part of the Government Transformation Programme.

As you can imagine, there is a lot of information contained within the articles – so TRANSIT will just post the links to the various articles, as well as interesting graphics & statistics.

We strongly recommend that those interested in public transport, including those researching public transport, review all of the articles and summarize the relevant points for their own personal information libraries – as these statistical numbers & anecdotal feedback will be the measure of success or failure of the Urban Public Transport initiatives.

The following graphics are obtained from the different articles at the links above:

Graphic showing general NKRA Targets for Urban Public Transport - courtesy of The Star.

The above graphic shows the current situation of public transport use as well as the expectations provided for in the NKRA. Please note that the goal of an increase to 25% use for the Klang Valley is very different from the goal of 40% national use introduced by former PM Abdullah in 2008-2009.

Perhaps this NKRA goal is more ‘realistic’ given the current circumstances – but TRANSIT believes that the NKRA could go further and aim for a 30% increase. The difference of 5% could be made up by improving the organization of public transport so bus operators complement each other, rather than competing with each other.

Graphic showing outcomes for public transport in the Klang Valley - courtesy of The Star.

As you can see, some of the outcomes proposed in the graphic above would be easier to achieve than others. The main problem is still that the various bus & train operators still operate on their own, with their ‘berdiri sendiri’ (standing alone) mindset. One example is the issue of getting all bus operators to follow the cashless system – this would be far easier to implement if all bus operators answered to a single organizing authority for public transport.

Initially, RapidKL was supposed to be that organizing authority, but along the way it was turned into a government-owned operator competing with existing private operators for their share of the market.

The point is that, unless the organization of public transport is seriously looked into, all of these outcomes cannot be achieved.

Graphic showing the anticipated benefits of an integrated ticketing system - courtesy of The Star

This graphic is pretty self-explanatory. As stated above, the major issue is the separate mentality of the different operators. Even RapidKL and KL Monorail, which are sister companies owned by Prasarana, do not really acknowledge each other. Then, as you know the two LRT lines operated by RapidKL still use separate ticketing systems and are not physically integrated.

If Prasarana has not been able to integrate the various companies that it owns, how can we expect the other bus companies to cooperate with the proposed integrated ticketing system?

And that presumes that there are no physical & technological challenges to implementing the system.

Graphic showing the common perception of public transport vs. private transport - image courtesy of The Star

Unfortunately, the above graphic clearly implies that public transport users are poor and private transport users are rich.

What it should state is that there are three groups of users:

  1. those who rely on public transport;
  2. those who choose to use public transport; and
  3. those who do not choose to use public transport.

Also, those who choose not to use public transport do not necessarily have private cars. They may prefer to use a motorcycle, or walk, or use a bicycle (among other options)

Graphic showing supply targets to achieve congestion & public transport outcomes - courtesy of The Star

We believe that the above graphic is interesting because it shows the challenges that we are facing ahead in improving the supply of public transport in the Klang Valley.

Aside from the issues of planning & integration, we must also ensure that we have the supply to meet the demand – meaning that there are enough:

  • available, well-maintained trains & buses; with
  • well-trained operators; and
  • a large enough fleet of spare vehicles & operators to deal with emergencies.

Under the current circumstances, we are not even close to having enough public transport vehicles.

Things might change by 2012 but how they change is important. We at TRANSIT do not believe that the solution comes in government-operated companies competing with private operators. Nor does it come from sole-sourcing, non-transparent procurement, and poor planning.

The huge problem is that we do not have enough, well-trained people to do the financial planning, strategy, risk assessment, etc. that we need to provide proper public transport in a timely, effective manner.


Overall, we are thankful to Lester Kong for his very thorough & detailed report about the Government Transformation Programme’s Urban Public Transport NKRA.

We at TRANSIT appreciate that the challenge of resolving the issues and improving public transport is not an easy task – at the same time, we know that there are some areas in which the NKRA can be improved, and additional results can be seen, and quickly.

Once again, TRANSIT believes in:

  • Better organization of public transport – this service should be provided by a ‘new’ RapidKL that plans, manages & organizes public transport in the Klang Valley but does not operate services directly – and the ‘new’ RapidKL would be supported by local governments & public transport operators;
  • Better regulation of public transport – this service would be provided by SPAD at the national level, with cooperation from the ‘new’ RapidKL in the Klang Valley;
  • Better taxi service – further to the above, taxi services would be reorganized into only two types of permit, and deregulated in ways that would allow for improved access to taxi cabs and more control at the local level;
  • Better staff (including planners, managers, drivers, Customer Service Officers, etc) – this service would be provided by in-house training as well as university-level programmes & professional training in public transport management – supported by SPAD and Malaysian universities;
  • Better public transport infrastructure – this service would be provided by Prasarana and KTMB (although the role of KTMB in infrastructure procurement will have to be reviewed in the future);
  • Better procurement of public transport vehicles – as above, but it should be noted that procurement should be open & transparent, with competitive tender evaluation by all stakeholders, rather than the secretive methods used today;
  • Better public transport supporting infrastructure – this service would be provided by the ‘new’ RapidKL as well as local governments – and where possible, private companies could be encouraged to support these initiatives;
  • Better planning & financial management – this service would be provided by the ‘new’ RapidKL at the local level, with support from SPAD at the national level as well as the planning departments in the State and National governments

What do you think of the above report or our summary of what is needed for better public transport? Give us your feedback by responding below, or sending an email to us at

Thank you!

2 replies on “Summary of Urban Public Transport NKRA & proposed solutions”

There is a proposal to have all bus operators and public transport operators using the Touch ‘n’ Go card for cashless ticketing.

Aside from ERL, the bus operators do not currently accept the Touch ‘n’ Go card.

However, there is no indication that there would be a common fare introduced for bus operators.

TRANSIT believes that, by having all operators provide service on a contract basis to the ‘new’ RapidKL, there would be one authority responsible for information, fare collection, communications, PR, etc.

This would be much more convenient for the users because there is only one brand/company to deal with. For the operators, the benefit is that they do not have to focus on things like ticketing, communications & PR – they can instead focus on efficient operations.

Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

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