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10 years of public transport reform

TRANSIT notes the recent publication of a report entitled “Public Transport Tendering in the Netherlands,” which looks back on 10 years of public transport reform (including integration, devolution and competition measures) implemented in the Netherlands.

The interesting thing about this document is that is shows us how the Netherlands government decentralized authority for local public transport and allowed the creation of regional public transport authorities which introduced competitive tendering for services.

According to the report, the reforms led to:

  • greater efficiencies
  • significant enhancements in service levels and the overall local public transport offer whilst retaining integration
  • stable bus patronage
  • rising levels of customer satisfaction
  • high quality bus fleets
  • a formal role for passenger groups in franchise development and changes
  • moves to pool transport budgets and fleets for social services, healthcare, education and public transport


This is basically what TRANSIT has been proposing for the different economic regions of Malaysia: decentralized public transport.

We want to see local and regional control over commuter and rapid transit as well as long haul and stage bus services, with national control over interstate buses and trains.

Fortunately we are starting to see some changes, such as the Bas Iskandar Malaysia service which is operated through relatively competitive tendering. And many state governments are looking at taking a more active role in public transport planning and organization.

More importantly, on the surface SPAD appears to have no objections to local control over planning and organization. After all, it makes their jobs easier.

For a long time, too many in the public and among the wakil rakyat have accepted the idea that deregulation and open competition is the best thing for public transport. More and more we are seeing evidence that shows that this is not the case. Public transport works best with government involvement.

Now we need to convince the public and the government and wakil rakyat that this is so.

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