The members of the Association for the Improvement of Mass-Transit have taken note of the recent report on the Government Transformation Program and the specific concerns about the success of the Urban Public Transport NKRA. We have also noted the recent comments from Minister of Transportation Kong Cho Ha (who is lead minister for this NKRA).
The Minister of Transport has made it clear that the Government & Pemandu will be moving forward with their stated goal to make public transport reliable, comfortable, convenient and affordable. Projects to improve public transport will include (among others) a Bus Rapid Transit system for the Klang Valley and a ‘corridors’ based approach to public transport.
TRANSIT has long stated that the highway & major corridors of the Klang Valley are suitable transport corridors and space should be given to allow and encourage the use of Bus-Rapid Transit (BRT) and Expressway Rapid Transit / Bus Expressway Transit (ERT / BET) services on these corridors.
TRANSIT has also noted recent announcements about expansion & extension of the existing highway system around the Klang Valley – namely the NPE extension to Ampang, the Besraya Eastern Extension, and the construction of separate express & local lanes for the LDP in Puchong.
These highway corridors are also potential public transport corridors, linking many communities around the Klang Valley.
For this reason, we call on Minister of Transport Kong, the LLM, and Malaysian toll concessionaires to incorporate space for physically-separate bus lanes within the alignment of their highways – especially as part of their extension/expansion projects.
These bus lanes would be ideally placed in the highway median lanes, to allow contra-flow operation of buses without taking up space.
The example of the Metrobus service in Istanbul (the world’s first Inter-continental BRT) shows that a BRT or ERT system can be built with reduced costs using contra-flow lanes and off-the-shelf bus designs.
In addition, TRANSIT believes that SPAD’s future COO, Azhar Ahmad (the innovative CEO of RapidPenang) can also work with the highway concessionaires to set up their own public transport services along these corridors – either managed in-house or contracted out to existing bus operators. This would help them to gain a new source of revenue by shifting some trips to public transport. Although this would reduce the number of cars on the highways, it would also reduce congestion and make even more money from the concessionaires through the bus fares collected).