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Why is the MPK using the North Klang bus terminal for a night market, instead of a bus terminal? And why hasn’t the Selangor Government stepped in?

TRANSIT took note of this interesting and disturbing article about the introduction of a night market at the site of the old North Klang bus terminal, which was closed in late 2007 when Klang Sentral was opened.

The irony, of course, is that the bus area remains closed to buses – despite the fact that most buses that serve Klang town have returned to the North Klang bus terminal area, and Klang residents have called on the MPK to improve amenities and facilities.

What makes it worse is that in 4 years, the Selangor government has not stepped in to improve public transport in Klang, reopening the North Klang bus terminal and introducing new services. In addition, SPAD has not stepped in and resolved the issue, despite entreaties from TRANSIT, who recommended to SPAD that solving the Klang Sentral and North Klang bus terminal issues was the best place for them to get started.

The resolution of the North Klang bus terminal issue is going to be a major factor in any improvement to public transport in the west Klang Valley.

Flea market draws flak (The Star)

Saturday February 18, 2012
Story and photos by ELAN PERUMAL
elan@thestar.com.my

THE Klang Municipal Council’s decision to approve the Nadi Kota Uptown flea market at the site of the former North Klang bus terminal has not gone down well with traders in the area.

The North Klang bus terminal remains closed, but buses and passengers still gather on Jalan Pos. Image courtesy of The Star.

They feel that the council’s decision to approve the market which operates from 10pm to 4am daily is not a good idea.

The traders said this was because the bus terminal issue had not been resolved yet after the move to Klang Sentral in Meru four years ago.

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Bus-Rapid Transit plan and water taxis for Petaling Jaya?

TRANSIT took note of this interesting piece of information from the Selangor Times – a plan for “Rapid Transit Bus” routes, minibus services and limited-stop bus routes in Petaling Jaya.

Selangor Times diagram showing proposals for public transport in Petaling Jaya.

Click here for a larger version of the image above. The February 3, 2012 issue of Selangor Times can be seen here in the scribd feed.

The proposed line would run from a bus terminal in SS7 (near the proposed SS7 LRT station?) to the bus terminal in Damansara Damai, running via Subang Airport Road, Jalan Sg. Buloh and Jalan Kuala Selangor. Whether or not the line can be considered as “Bus Rapid Transit” (or another name for Bus Expressway Transit or Expressway Rapid Transit) remains to be seen – after all, we (indeed, the public in general) have to look at the details of the plan.

According to this article in the Selangor Times, “Water taxis in PJ by 2015?” boats and hovercrafts will also ferry passengers from jetties built along Sungai Damansara, Sungai  Kayu Ara, Sungai Penchala, Sungai Tambul and Sungai Payong.

Seriously? As great (well, “creative”) as all these ideas are, we would like to see the MBPJ take the steps to improve public transport first – like setting up a public transport / urban transport office to determine how realistic and feasible these plans are.

Then, engage with the public to set up a MBPJ transport council to discuss these proposals, and implement actual public consultation to see if the public actually want these proposed services.

Finally, figure out how to run the service in a way that actually works and get people to use public transport.

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Bus Rapid Transit Comments on Government Comments on Planning Feedback Information Local Councils Planning RapidKL Socioeconomic Equity SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Stakeholders' Participation Transit Demand Transit Facilities Transit Infrastructure Transit-Oriented Development

What is RapidBRT, how will it work, and when is it coming to the Klang Valley?

TRANSIT took note of this interesting photo of a sign in one of our LRT trains – advertising improvements to RapidKL bus services.

To the top of the photo, we see an advertisement for RapidBET Route #3, which connects Subang Mewah to Pasar Seni, Kuala Lumpur. And down in the right hand corner, the message “RapidBRT Akan Datang! Coming Soon!”

RapidBRT & RapidBET advertisement. Image courtesy of @TWK90

But what exactly is RapidBRT?

Well, we know that BRT stands for Bus Rapid Transit – a “rapid transit” system of public transport using buses as the vehicle technology. In TRANSIT’s view the term “rapid transit” can encompass any type of public transport operating in a Category “A” or Category “B” right-of-way.

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‘Solutions’ to public transport problems focusing on the bus industry, not public transport users

By now everyone should be aware that a major crisis is taking place in the bus industry.

The shut down of CityLiner bus services throughout was the major ‘tipping pint’ in a series of crises [TRANSIT: refer to our “No Bus for You” series of posts] that showed the precarious state of public transport and the bus industry – and made it clear that SPAD has lost the plot by focusing on the MRT project rather than revamping & transforming public transport.

The nation-wide collapse of bus services are continuing, despite the recent announcement that the Malaysian Government has approved an RM400mn fund for public transport operators. Applications for this fund began earlier this week and SPAD intends to release the first Rm100mn as soon as possible.

TRANSIT notes that the government is stepping in with the financial aid to bus operators. We also note that Prasarana-RapidKL have talked about improving cooperation (actually, we should say “starting” cooperation) with private bus operators to reduce wasteful competition on different routes. At the same time, taxi drivers and other bus companies are benefiting from the lack of competition in the Klang area since CityLiner shut down bus services, affecting thousands of public transport users.

However, we need the government, SPAD and Prasarana-RapidKL to acknowledge that their “solutions” are not holistic and not sustainable. The problem is that they are focusing on short-term solutions for the crisis, not long-term solutions that will make public transport work, sustainably and effectively, and most importantly, meet the needs of public transport users.

And this, ladies & gentlemen, is the biggest problem. Everyone talks about fixing public transport but all the solutions that are put forward focus on the bus industry, rather than the public transport service. What’s worse is that the ‘solutions’ still fail to consider the needs of the public transport users.

Read about TRANSIT’s take on the issues and a proposed action plan after the jump!

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Bus Rapid Transit Comments on Government Comments on Planning Feedback Local Councils News & Events Planning SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Stakeholders' Participation Taxi Transit Facilities Transit Infrastructure Transit-Oriented Development

Brickfields contra-flow bus & taxi lane to begin operation this weekend, from 3 December 2011

Update: Read more about the fallout from the Brickfields bus & taxi lane here!

TRANSIT took note of this article that states that the Brickfields contra-flow bus & taxi lane will be introduced this weekend.

The southbound lane, which had been under construction since earlier this year, was supposed to open in August, but protests from area business owners led to the implementation being pushed back to after Deepavali.

Contra-flow system takes effect (Streets – NST)

30 November 2011

PARKING bays in Jalan Tun Sambanthan and around shop lots in Little India will no longer be available to motorists from this weekend.

The new contra-flow bus & taxi lane in Brickfields. Image courtesy of the NST.
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ETP: Masterplan is not just about MRT. TRANSIT: But the MRT is all you seem to be talking about!

TRANSIT took note of a very interesting commentary from Ahmad Suhaili Idrus, the Director of the Urban Public Transport NKRA and Greater Kuala Lumpur / Klang Valley NKEA in response to a letter from TRANSIT’s Advisor Rajiv Rishyakaran, regarding recent comments by Idris Jala that the Klang Valley would be choked by 2020 if the MRT was not built.

Ahmad Suhaili attempted to clarify the situation by saying that the NKEA / NKRA projects related to public transport included improvements to rail and bus services, improved integration, improved infrastructure and expanded services. You can read the full comment below, but first, consider clicking on these links for some background information:

And now, the response from Ahmad Suhaili:

MRT is integrated with LRT, KTM, monorail and bus systems
November 3, 2011 By ETP Malaysia

We refer to the letter ‘Idris Jala is wrong: MRT is not the only solution for Klang Valley’, written by Rajiv Rishyakaran from TRANSIT

Presumably, the writer was referring to Dato’ Sri’s response to a question during the recent ETP Turns One event, in which he said:

“MRT is absolutely in my opinion totally and utterly needed for our city. If we don’t have an MRT I can tell you, by the year 2020 this city will be choked.

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International Competition for Development of Sg. Besi Airbase – Let’s do it right and make it public transport friendly!

TRANSIT took note of this article which announces that the Development of Sg. Besi airbase is moving forward with an invitation for proposals for the Malaysia City development.

Most of the project will be used for a mix of commercial and lifestyle amenities. Planners have been invited to participate in a pre-qualification & competition with information at http://www.bandarmalaysiacompetition.com/

Proposals invited for Malaysia City (The Star, 21 October 2011)

PETALING JAYA: Proposals have been invited for the main plan design of Malaysia City, a development at the former Royal Malaysian Air Force (RMAF) air base in Sungei Besi.

The proposal to take part in the pre-qualification of the main plan must be sent to the Malaysian Institute of Planners office in Plaza Kelana Jaya before 4pm on Nov 15.

The main developer for the 196ha site is 1Malaysia Development Berhad (1MDB).

Malaysia City is envisioned to become a new landmark within Greater Kuala Lumpur. It will include a commercial area, residences and lifestyle amenities.

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BRT in Kuching developing a name & face?

For some time, TRANSIT has been following proposals for a bus rapid transit (BRT) system in Kuching.

The early proposal for a BRT system was called the Kuching City Area Transit (CAT, of course) and would have had a number of lines running through the Kuching town area as well as to the north side of the river. The proposals for Kuching CAT seemed to emphasize loops around different parts of Kuching City.

The original route map proposal for Kuching CAT.

Click here for a larger version of the image above.

The most recent proposal is to have a Kuching BRT system that focuses on service on major road corridors. Rather than loops, this proposal focuses on building up demand in certain corridors.

Both proposals have been given strong support by Sarawak Urban Development Minister Abang Johari Openg, who has been wondering why it is taking so long to get approval from the federal government for a project that only costs RM200 million.

The bus rapid transit proposal also received support from a recent summit on public transport for Kuching. You can see TRANSIT’s comments here, which we will also re-iterate below.

Most recently, TRANSIT has noted an image posted in a forum on Kuching Public Transport that shows a “Kuching Transit” bus service. Is it official or someone’s fantasy drawing? We don’t know yet….

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Eco-friendly transport: the future is in China

TRANSIT recently took note of some interesting information about public transport in China.

First, blogger Anil Netto comments on Guangzhou’s winning of a sustainable transport award for their Bus Rapid Transit system.

BRT: If Guangzhou can do it, why not Penang? (Anilnetto.com 28 May 2011)If congested Guangzhou can win a sustainable transport award for its BRT and cycle system, why not Penang and other cities in Malaysia?

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TRANSIT’s prediction comes to life. Sadly, Klang is becoming a “pass-through” town

TRANSIT has always had a soft spot for Klang town, despite what people may think. Aside from the food (different options for different people) and the culture, Klang Town is the nearest thing we can find in the Klang Valley to an “urban” town with heritage and cultural traditions.

Certainly there are areas of Kuala Lumpur that are “urban” in the sense that they have pedestrian-scale streets bustling with people. Similar areas can also be found in other towns in the Klang Valley – like Kajang, Petaling Jaya and parts of Ampang.

But none of these areas have the history and independence that Klang does.

And this is why we at TRANSIT have always made an effort to ensure that the urban character and heritage of Klang is retained. Unfortunately, it seems that the Selangor Government and MPK just does not agree. Through their (probably well-meaning) actions, with short term responses to long-term issues, they have managed to hollow out the urban core of North Klang and replace what was once a thriving, pedestrian oriented commercial centre with congestion, poor public transport, and dying businesses.

The worst thing about this is that TRANSIT predicted this would happen years ago, when we first learned of plans to close the North Klang bus terminal and build a flyover through the centre of town.