TRANSIT notes the recent comments from the Minister of Transport regarding the recent Government Transformation Programme report, which said that the Urban Public Transport NKRA did not meet all expectations.
TRANSIT has long said that more attention needs to be given to the urban public transport by creating an authority that would manage & organize public transport service in the Klang Valley.
From the reports in the media, it appears that the CVLB’s approach to getting bus operators to shift their routes etc did not pay off – but how much of a result can we expect from an organization that was facing the end of its authority to regulate public transport in Malaysia – an authority that was generally scoffed at by bus, taxi & freight operators anyways.
Public transport initiatives (The Sun, 1 April 2011)
WE REFER to “Congrats and caution on the 1st GTP Report (Letters, March 29).
1. To get more commuters to use public transport, we must first create the “pull factor” by ensuring it is reliable, comfortable, convenient and affordable for them and this will be our main focus.
[TRANSIT: We’re with him up until affordable. Affordable does not rank as ‘4th’ on our list of what public transport users want (it’s actually 6th of 6).]
2. And the connectivity between the various modes of transport as well as reliable schedules, availability of parking spaces and safety are also important factors to encourage the usage of public transport.
[TRANSIT: You cannot encourage companies that compete with each other to voluntarily regulate their routes & bus trips – nor can you expect multiple local governments to collectively plan for public transport. All of this has to be done by a single government or quasi-government agency.]
3. In other countries, “push factor” such as imposing area road pricing, higher parking fees in the central business district, etc discourage the public to use private vehicles in the city, and at the same time encourages the usage of public transport. Anyway, our main focus now is to complete all the “pull factors” to encourage public transport usage.
4. The government is committed to ensuring the successful implementation of all initiatives to improve public transport services and to make it an attractive alternative mode of transport for the greater KL region.
5. As the lead minister for NKRA-UPT, our focus in 2011, will be towards the achievement and implementation of a number of initiatives, these include:
[TRANSIT: Minister Kong has a lot to do if he wants to harness the same level of enthusiasm as the previous lead minister, Ong Tee Keat.]
a. Completion of a study of having a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system in the Klang Valley;
b. Construction of 306 new bus stops in and around the Klang Valley;
c. RapidKL would be receiving about 200 new buses by year-end, which would then improve current services, like feeder services to/from rail stations and services at underserved areas;
d. Six sets of the new six-car EMUs will be delivered by November 2011 and four will be in operation by the end of this year. This would alleviate overcrowding problems on KTM Komuter trains;
e. Thirty-five sets of four-car LRT trains will be operational on the KJ line, further increasing the capacity and reducing headways;
f. We hope that work on the Terminal Pengangkutan Bersepadu Timur Gombak (ITT Gombak) would begin this year. This would help streamline express bus services to the eastern and northern corridors, and reduce congestion in the central business district;
g. Completion of integration and pedestrian facilities at various stations, including at four key stations: KL Sentral (Komuter/KJ line LRT-Monorail), Masjid Jamek (KJ line LRT-Ampang line LRT), Hang Tuah and Titiwangsa (both Ampang line LRT-Monorail). This is especially important to provide intra-modal and inter-modal transfers for commuters, and to ensure comfortable and convenient journey for commuters;
h. A number of park and ride facilities would be implemented, namely at Gombak and Ampang (for LRT stations), Sg Besi and Bandar Tasik Selatan (under DBKL – for LRT Ampang Line and Komuter Stations) and Kajang, Serdang, Sg Buloh and a few others for KTMB stations, which in total would provide more that 5,000 additional parking bays;
i. The implementation of an Integrated Smart Ticketing system across the various public transport modes – a single ticketing platform which can potentially reduce boarding times;
j. Introduction of a corridor-based approach for bus operators to improve services on current routes and to deploy services at previously “un-served” or “underserved’ areas. This would need the reorganising of the bus service network which would ensure a “win-win” station for all, especially the commuters and bus operators.
[TRANSIT: As we said above, this cannot be done voluntarily – someone has to take charge and organize the routes, set expectations, parcel out the corridors, and ensure service levels meet expectations. It is up to the operators themselves to decide whether they want to compete for the government’s business, and serve the public, or whine & complain instead.]
Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha
For the past few years, TRANSIT is more and more often seeing our own ideas & words reproduced through the statements of ministers. While this generally gives us a favourable feeling, we worry a great deal that good ideas are being implemented without stakeholder participation.
The government does not yet understand that stakeholder participation needs to be a permanent part of public transport in Malaysia. It is not about government or government agencies taking ideas and trying to implement them in isolation.
Unfortunately, that is what we saw with some elements of the GTP’s Urban Public Transport NKRA over the past year. Different agencies went out and did some things, but without a collective sense of what was being accomplished.
That is why we know something about the 4 “Rapid” BET routes but nothing about the 5th BET route operated by SJ Bus.
That is why we have the CVLB (the regulatory authority which was in its last days of authority) asking bus operators to reorganize themselves while SPAD, a new agency with no regulatory authority (yet) was left with nothing to do for 6 months.
TRANSIT believes that there are many people in the government who have good intentions and a positive vision for public transport. However, without a collective vision & collective plan for action, and without involving all of the stakeholder, these good intentions will simply remain as good intentions.
And you know what they say about good intentions…..