TRANSIT took note of this article in which SPAD COO Azhar Ahmad comments that the 2020 goals for Urban Public Transport are achievable.
We at TRANSIT applaud their enthusiasm but right now we are thinking otherwise.
Unless, of course SPAD is willing to support TRANSIT’s 4-stakeholders model and implement it in major Malaysian cities (Starting with KL, Shah Alam, and some say Klang)
SPAD: Public transport’s 2020 goal achievable (Malay Mail)
T.K. LETCHUMY TAMBOO
Wednesday, July 6th, 2011
PETALING JAYA: The government’s plan to get at least 40 per cent of Kuala Lumpur’s population using public transport by 2020 is an achievable target.
This is the opinion of Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chief operating officer Azhar Ahmad, who felt the target is plausible if all upgrading initiatives undertaken to improve the country’s public transport system are completed by then.
“The current 35km Light Rail Transit (LRT) Ampang-Kelana Jaya extension lines and the Mass Rail Transit (MRT) projects in the Klang Valley must be completed first before more people can use public transport.”
Currently, 17 per cent of KL’s population are using public transport, according to a study by the Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu).
“There are nine years left to achieve the target. By then, the population would have increased and as part of urbanisation, more people will move into the city. Car prices would also have risen and more people will rely on public transport. These factors would contribute towards reaching the target.”
[TRANSIT: This sounds like hope to us. First of all, we are not that sure that car prices (and petrol costs etc) will have risen. Certainly we can see the cost of owning a car to go down with the end of the National Automotive Policy. And our experience with petrol at RM2.80 per litre shows that demand for driving did not decrease as much as was expected (although this may be more to do with terrible public transport than anything else)]
Azhar said educating the public on ways to reduce carbon footprints could also help achieve the goal.
“Both government and media should create more awareness on carbon emission and other environmental hazards from vehicles.
“These efforts can be added into school programmes to encourage today’s children to use public transport when they grow up.”
[TRANSIT: Honestly? Decreasing the carbon footprint? When one cannot even get out of their housing estate without using private transport, the carbon footprint is probably not the first thing on their minds. And by the way, if we are talking about carbon footprints we should also consider the carbon footprint of MRT construction – especially if the MRT brings about massive congestion as warned by AWER!]
However, Association for the Improvement of Mass Transit (Transit) chairman, Muhammad Zulkarnain Hamzah, felt the government’s target would be impossible to achieve considering the current progress of the public transport system.
“In the Sixth Malaysia Plan, the government had wanted to increase public transport usage to 50 per cent but we haven’t even achieved half the proportion.
“The government is also targeting to up the current 17 per cent usage to 25 per cent by 2012. That’s a huge leap, so let’s not look that far first. Let’s wait and see whether next year’s target will be achieved before anything else.”
[TRANSIT: The Urban Public Transport NKRA has been the least successful out of all the NKRAs – and one reason is because there is still no clear direction on public transport policy.]
He said there should be a proper transportation support system for the LRT and MRT lines before such targets are set.
“When they talk about public transport, they are only concentrating on LRT and MRT. What about buses that are the support system needed for these trains? We can have the most efficient LRT and MRT but without a proper support system, they would be pointless.
“The bus system in the Klang Valley is in a dire state, especially its frequency and comfort level. Authorities must ensure the journey for commuters is better than driving their own cars.”
Muhammad Zulkarnain said local authorities should also be proactive in shaping good public transport instead of leaving everything to the Federal government.
We had a lot of hope for SPAD, but let’s face it: if they are not willing to get past the old lines and take the important steps that are necessary (especially with regards to public transport policy) the current goal will not be achieved, just as the goals of the 6th (and 7-9th) Malaysia Plan were not achieved.
The big question we have to ask is why is SPAD so afraid of giving clear direction on public transport policy? And what do they have against our 4-Stakeholders’ model?