TRANSIT has learned that SPAD will share the Klang Valley public transport plan next month.
The public display for MRT Line 2 (the Circle Line) may begin by the end of this month … which means a lot more information for you, the public, and a lot more work for the people at TRANSIT.
Public transport plan to be unveiled (NST)
18 March 2011
KUALA LUMPUR: The Public Transport Master Plan for the Klang Valley will be revealed next month.
[TRANSIT: Hopefully we can get that powerpoint and post it to our site – or SPAD will post it to their site and we can set up a link.]
Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chief executive officer Mohd Nur Kamal said it was expected to be unveiled along with the National Public Transport Policy.
He said the master plan would determine the near-, medium- and long-term strategies and implementation of the roadmap for road and rail transport.
Among other things, he said, the policy would focus on strategies, standards, governance, sustainability and incentives to promote public transport.
“We are starting with the Klang Valley as it is the centre of economic activities in the nation. We will shift our focus to other regions or cities in stages.
“We also hope to reveal the other two lines of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project this year (the second line is expected to be announced this month).
“The master plan and transport policy is not only aimed at increasing the use of public transport by improving the level of services, but also to address problems faced by public transport operators.
“For example, the problem of late train arrivals may be caused by a shortage of coaches.
“So, one of the solutions is to increase the number of train coaches, which may result in increased costs for operators.
[TRANSIT: An unfortunate reality of infrastructure development (and public transport in particular) is that it is relatively easy to raise money for capital expenditure, but very tough to raise money for operating expenditures – and the more infrastructure you build and/or the more complicated it is (for example, MRT as opposed to trams or Komuter, underground as opposed to elevated, etc) the greater the operating & maintenance costs will be)]
“We understand that bus operators, for instance, are facing hardship especially in terms of operating costs, but that is not an excuse to be rude to customers.
“This is one of the aspects that we have highlighted to the companies which provide transport services.” [TRANSIT: And what did they (and their drivers) say when you highlighted this? Was the response positive, derisive, rude?]
He said attention was focused on mass rapid transit but SPAD played a holistic role which included bus and taxi services.
Contrary to public perception, he said SPAD did not make the decision for the MRT project.
“We may be the facilitator which draws up the guidelines and implements the Land Public Transport Act covering the various modes of transport, but the decisions are made by the government,” he added. [TRANSIT: Sorry, you ‘may be’ the facilitator? Shouldn’t the understanding of roles be clear cut? Either you are the facilitator or you are not.]
He said SPAD had held meetings with the public, operators and local authorities to gather information such as population figures which was essential for determining bus routes. [TRANSIT: Population figures are not the only essential factor – actual demand and projected demand are also very important]
By next year, he added, it was hoped that public transport use would go up by 25 per cent compared to last year.
As we said above, we are going to request that SPAD provide that presentation to the public so that more people can understand the various factors about the Masterplan. And certainly, we hope that the public transport master plan, when revealed, will be revealed for debate rather than “here’s the plan, hope you like it”
TRANSIT has yet to see the plan, but we expect that some of the elements will probably show similarities to what we have been talking about for the past few years. At the very least, we want to see some or most of the following incorporated within the plan:
- Local & Regional Public Transport Authorities to manage & organize & plan public transport at the Local & Regional Levels;
- Implementation of the 4-Stakeholders model for the Local & Regional Public Transport Authorities, bringing together the passenger, government agencies (infrastructure owner and/or government regulator), local / regional government, and the public transport operators);
- A shift from the current (and unstable) competitive, profits-based, business-oriented model to a competitive, service-based, consumer & development-oriented (not a developer-oriented) model;
- Contracting-out of bus services & train operations by the Local Public Transport Authorities – rather than the current “our-hands-are-tied-public-transport-is-a-federal-matter” excuse;
- Encouragement of real transit-oriented development (not, “let’s-build-a-lot-of-high-density-near-the-station-because-it-always-works” which will lead to high-rise ghettos);
- A stable funding plan for public transport including long-term funding of operations as well as capital expansion;
- Service standards, including Client’s Charter, On-Time Performance Standards, Customer Service Standards, etc as well as a mechanism for reporting all of this information to the public (and to SPAD, the Regulator);
- Real public transport planning, not public transport planning based on ‘realpolitik’ and NIMBY-ism (where those who get what they want are the ones who demand the most and / or object the loudest);
- Information that justifies planning – for example, projected demand, carrying capacity, various costs, benefit analysis, etc – the information we are not being given today with respect to public transport planning;
- Respect for public transport employees – especially by eliminating the ‘pay-per-trip’ system for bus drivers and giving bus and taxi drivers real salaries & benefits – as well as providing them the services that they need.
Now, as you can imagine, there has been a lot of work done on the public transport file in the government, and we at TRANSIT have similarly been overworked trying to keep track of all the information, organize it, and present it to the public.
Not to mention, analysing the information, giving our feedback, and encouraging the public to do the same.
But guess what – as our proposals for the masterplan show, there is a lot more that needs to be done – we have only scratched the surface of the challenges in the public transport industry and there is a long and tough period ahead.
Now, on top of what we have now and what we have to deal with, the proposed MRT Line 2 (Circle Line) should be revealed at the end of this month or early in April.
That means a lot more information to review – but at least the public will be getting a better idea of the problems and challenges as well as the holistic plan.
As always, TRANSIT is interested in your feedback, and we want you to give your feedback on the proposed MRT network as well as the Klang Valley public transport master plan to SPAD.