Update: More information and comments on the Urban Public Transport NKRA!
TRANSIT took note of the following article discussing public perceptions & satisfaction with public transport services in the Klang Valley.
Public transport user satisfaction is only 48% (The Star, 28 March 2011)
OVERALL public transport user satisfaction of Urban Public Transport (UPT) services in the Klang Valley is relatively low at 48%. This is despite the many plans successfully implemented to improve this National Key Result Area (NKRA) as reported in the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) Annual Report 2010.
Among the problems that have been identified under the NKRA are peak hour congestion that sees overcrowding in LRT and KTM trains, unreliable service with cancellations or frequent delays due to transport services not adhering to schedules.
Click here for a larger version of the image above.
A total of 38% of respondents said existing bus services in the Klang Valley was good though many were concerned about accessibility, punctuality, waiting and travel time, bus condition, transfer convenience and drivers’ attitude.
[TRANSIT: Interestingly enough, TRANSIT has consistently said that these were the major issues of commuters, rather than issues like fares (usually mentioned by ‘well-meaning’ NGOs) and feelings of safety.]
“The public perception is understandable as most of the initiatives for buses will only materialise from 2011 onwards,” according to the report.
These measures include the 200 new buses under last year’s target that will be delivered in stages together with an additional 270 buses this year up to September, and the upgrading of the remaining 166 out of 800 bus stops as well as refurbishing an additional 440 stops.
[TRANSIT: And yet there is no updates of progress on these services]
On the other hand, there were five Bus Expressway Transit (BET) corridors introduced last year aimed at reducing bus journeys by using underused highways all with the end destination at Pasar Seni from Kota Damansara, Bandar Baru Sungai Long, Subang Mewah, Taman Seri Muda and Rawang.
This exceeded the initial target of four corridors.
[TRANSIT: Our target is to merge the RapidKL express routes with the Bus Expressway Transit routes and have all-day service along the main expressways of the Klang Valley. There is definitely demand for 5 more routes.]
“The first four BETs are operated by RapidKL while the fifth is by Setara Jaya.
[TRANSIT: The 5th BET route is from Rawang to Pasar Seni – how many people knew that?]
“The former has shown improvement of 192% ridership since the first day of operations in January 2010,” stated the report, adding that the fifth BET service introduced in October 2010 still needs promoting to the Rawang community.
[TRANSIT: So after nearly 5 months of operations, they still have not found a way to promote the service? It’s not just Setera Jaya to be blamed (though we cannot find a website for them) – RapidKL can also do a better job of promoting their BET routes.]
LRT services are perceived by 63% of users as reliable as a result of the new four-car trains that allow a better travelling experience as trains are no longer jam-packed.
“Last year, 2,430,563 more commuters were taking the LRT.
“There was a 6.8% increase in daily ridership,” stated the report, adding that coming improvements include the delivery of the remaining four out of 26 four-car trains in stages together with another nine until mid 2011.
However, only 28% of KTM Komuter users are satisfied with the current services and gradual improvement will only come with the first four sets of six-car Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) to be operational by December.
Other achievements include the completion of the RM570mil Bandar Tasik Selatan Integrated Transport Terminal with some 500 buses travelling the south-bound route daily.
One outcome that was not achieved in 2010 is for all operators to adopt a cashless system and offer discounted fares for cashless tickets and only RapidKL will implement it by mid-2011 while discussions are still being held with other operators.
Only 1,200 of the 4,000 targeted new parking spaces at rail stations will be completed by September as the rest are still at different stages of planning and tendering.
Denying road tax renewal for drivers with outstanding summonses has been differed while review of plans to restrict heavy vehicle entry into central business areas during peak hours will take place this year.
In terms of enforcement, only 19.03% or RM643mil of the total summonses issued between 2000 and 2010 has been collected.
THE UPT NKRA fell short in six areas last year due to delays and long periods required for internal approval processes, bureaucracy issues among government agencies resulting in lack of coordination, delay in full mobilisation of Land Public Transportation Commission (LPTC), inability to reign in difficult bus operators, lack of capable local contractors and road-widening issues on the MRR2 affecting the delivery of the Integrated Transport Terminal Gombak.
[TRANSIT: One of the issues that has not been mentioned is that there is no ‘local’ public transport authority to coordinate & manage public transport in the Klang Valley – something that is desperately needed and should have been a priority under the NKRA!]
The report stated that with a large portion of the population migrating to urban areas where rapid development is taking place, there is a pressing need to set up an integrated, comprehensive, affordable and comfortable “people-mover” to facilitate travel within cities, particularly Kuala Lumpur.
We are happy to read the results of the 2010 Annual Report on the Government Transformation Programme and are pleased to see that not everything was marked down as ‘rosy’ by the auditors.
Most interesting to note is the fact the feedback on public transport and the main grouses of commuters reflects what TRANSIT has been saying for years.
We also note that the most ‘successful’ of the NKRA projects, the purchase of the new 4-carriage trains for the Kelana Jaya line, was actually a purchase made under the administration of the previous Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi. Hence, claiming the success as a part of the GTP is a bit misleading.
Most importantly we are pleased to recognize that the GTP auditors are aware of the failings of their efforts to reform – likely because of a failure to communicate and consult with the public in advance of decision making.
The problems with coordinating information about the BET service serves as a great example. Right now two different operators provide the services. Bus operator RapidKL has done a somewhat good job of informing the public but bus operator Setera Jaya has not done much. The result is that the public misses out on a service that should be available to them.
Again, this is an example of government thinking – asking companies to provide service instead of creating a new authority that plans the routes, hires the companies, communicates the information, and manages public expectations.
Until the government and their agents start to realize that transformation cannot involve ‘easy’ steps and does not require changes in organization & management practices, we will continue to be stuck with a newer, fresher version of the same old, same old.
The content below is a summary of expectations & results, taken from the NST article, Few delays, but plan on track (30 March 2011).
The Urban Public Transport National Key Result Area (UPT NKRA) seeks to implement an efficient system to ease traffic congestion, thereby reducing air pollution. It hopes to reduce population density by encouraging more people to opt to live in the suburbs and commute daily to work.
[TRANSIT: If that is what they are hoping, they are terribly wrong. Reducing population density is not a solution that will encourage the development of strong public transport.]
The UPT NKRA fell short in six areas last year:
- The long time required for internal approval processes due to being overstretched with various timelines, with some departments finding it difficult to prioritise the processing of approvals and documentation;
- Bureaucracy issues among government agencies resulted in a lack of coordination, hampering the effectiveness of project delivery;
- The delay in the full mobilisation of the Land Public Transportation Commission (LPTC) between June last year and the end of January due to the delay in acquiring parliamentary approval affected the initiative to measure and manage industry performance. One of the LPTC’s objectives is to ensure a proper monitoring and reporting of performance by all rail and bus operators. It is also to absorb the roles of both the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) and Department of Rail that regulate public transport operators; [TRANSIT: Hmm. Nazri wanted to be SPAD supervisor but was refused. Then SPAD is delayed because the bill amending the Road Transport Act to give SPAD authority is pulled from Parliament by Nazri. Coincidence?]
- The initiative to ensure a fairer distribution of bus routes and better services by bus operators was delayed as the CVLB was unable to get private bus operators to come to an agreement; [TRANSIT: We’re sure they tried very hard]
- Several projects to refurbish the existing Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad electric multiple units were not completed due to a lack of capable contractors. This delayed the award for refurbishment of the 15 sets that were targeted to start last year; and,
- Based on the traffic impact assessment, widening of the Middle Ring Road 2 from three lanes to five would be required to alleviate traffic congestion and ease bus accessibility. This has affected the delivery timeline of the Integrated Transit Terminal (ITT) Gombak.
The successes achieved under the UPT NKRA last year:
- Completion of the Bandar Tasik Selatan Integrated Transport Terminal;
- Introduction of five Bus Expressway Transit services to reduce bus journey time using underutilised highways; [TRANSIT: Not as great an achievement as they claim]
- Some 634 bus stops were refurbished in Sepang, Shah Alam, Subang Jaya, Klang, Selayang, Ampang Jaya and Kajang; [TRANSIT: That is good news] and,
- A total of 22 new four-car sets were introduced at the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) Kelana Jaya line, which carried 2.43 million more passengers last year. [TRANSIT: As we mentioned above, since the purchase of the LRT trains was initiated by the government of Abdullah Ahmad Badawi, it is not appropriate to claim it as an NKRA / GTP success.]
The Transport Ministry, the key driver of the UPT NKRA, has identified congestion during peak periods, unreliable service with cancellations and/or frequent delays and poor access to public transport services as the ills affecting public transport.
Read more: Few delays, but plan on track