OUTSTATION bus operators at the Klang Sentral bus terminal in Jalan Meru, which opened in December 2008, are still struggling with low volume of passengers and are upset with the station’s management over the one-entry, one-exit system.
Although the 25 bus operators there have lodged complaints with the management, they claim their pleas have fallen on deaf ears.
Imagine, if you will, a conversation that goes something like this:
SPAD: The MRT is part of a 20-year public transport master plan. TRANSIT: May we see the plan? SPAD: No you cannot see the plan TRANSIT: Sorry, is that ‘cannot’ or ‘may not’? SPAD: Um…cannot. TRANSIT: Why not? SPAD: The plan will not be ready until September. TRANSIT: Oh, so that’s what you meant by cannot. You don’t have a plan yet.
Of course this is not a real conversation – it’s more of a bad joke describing something that never happened. But if you think about it, SPAD is having this imaginary conversation with the public every time they tell us that they have a plan for public transport.
It isn’t that the public does not believe that SPAD has a plan or is developing a plan. It’s just that there is no logic in pushing the MRT project to be launched in July 2011 when the plan will not be ready until September 2011.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT project is only the beginning of improved public transport services for the future, says Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar.
“The project is part of a 20-year master plan to raise the standard of public transport service in stages.
“The plan is scheduled to be ready in September,” he said during his visit to Balai Berita here with a SPAD delegation yesterday.
[TRANSIT: Apparently some of the plan may be made public next month – but will it be an incomplete, rushed plan? Will SPAD have it ready?]
Updated with information about SPAD from the debate in Parliament!
Despite some opposition to the proposed area congestion pricing, the 5 bills presented in Parliament to amend the regulatory framework that governs public transport in Malaysia were passed by Parliament in the 3rd session, which adjourned on 22 April.
The 5 bills, described here, will now go to the Dewan Negara (Senate) where they will likely be passed. Royal Assent (signing of the Bill into Law by the Yang Di-Pertuan Agong) would probably take place later in May.
So, now what?
First, expect to see resistance & office politics come into play as employees from various government agencies (such as the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board and the Department of Railways in Peninsular Malaysia) are given the option to join the Public Land Transport Commission (SPAD) or other government agencies.
[TRANSIT: We expect that this will happen and that some officers & employees may feel demoralized or unsettled by the change – while others may see the change as an exciting opportunity. We hope more officers & employees will look on the positive side.]
Second, expect to see some confusion as SPAD will have to take time to consolidate its position as the supreme agency for the planning, regulating & enforcement of public transport & freight transport in Peninsular Malaysia. We do not know how long it will take for SPAD to meet with and brief the many private and government-linked public transport operators about current and future plans.
[TRANSIT: We expect SPAD to get moving right out of the gate and start making their presence felt and marketing themselves as the authority for public transport and freight transport – which means they should have posters, newspaper & radio ads & tv commercials for broadcast, a good website, and presence on social networking like twitter & facebook.]
For example, will SPAD maintain the current CVLB complaints campaign and hotline and will they require all stickers on all commercial vehicles to be change to say “ADUAN SPAD”?
Third, expect to see some companies & individual operators flouting laws, thinking that the “lame-duck” CVLB cannot do anything to them and the new SPAD cannot catch them. Since SPAD will not have a strong presence & enforcement powers, we can always expect people to take advantage of the situation for their own selfish interests.
[TRANSIT: We expect that the government will step up enforcement in June & July through the Road Transport Department & Local Governments while SPAD is consolidating itself. We do not need any more flouting of rules when it comes to public transport.]
Fourth, expect to see some roll-out of new improvements or changes in June or July as SPAD tries to market itself – this may be additional RapidBET or other Bus Expressway Transit service, an improved system of bus lanes, or perhaps simpler things like better bus stops & route maps & information.
[TRANSIT: We expect that there will be an expansion or improvement to bus lanes by the end of 2010, as indicated in the Urban Public Transport NKRA. We also expect to see a huge improvement in public transport facilities. It is also vital that SPAD improve the way that information about public transport is communicated – including better signage and route maps at stations, bus hubs and bus stops.]
Fifth, expect to see some local presence for SPAD, because many of the members of the transition team are from the Urban Public Transport NKRA team. We may finally see the Klang Valley Urban Transport Authority (KUTA) or Klang Valley Transport Council set up to improve the management of public transport in the Klang Valley.
[TRANSIT: SPAD will need to create regional offices so that it can work at the regional and local level to improve public transport. This means that SPAD will have to work with the public, Local & State governments, public transport operators, developers and even toll highway concessionaires to find ways to improve public transport.
SPAD would join these other stakeholders in Transport Councils, serving major cities and different economic regions of Malaysia.
TRANSIT has proposed that RapidKL and RapidPenang align themselves to become the operating arms of Transport Councils in the Klang Valley and Penang respectively. Instead of focusing on providing public transport services, RapidKL and RapidPenang would focus on the planning, regulation, oversight & management of public transport at the local level, on behalf of the Transport Councils.
One thing that we would really like to see is cooperation to resolve the issues in Klang, especially relating to Klang Sentral.]
What steps do you want to see SPAD take to improve public transport in Malaysia? Please comment below, send an email to us at email@example.com, or visit our facebook or twitter pages.
The food station closed down after operating for only seven months as its operator had refused to sign a tenancy agreement with the management of Klang Sentral bus terminal. Image courtesy of Streets-NST.
KLANG: Barely a year after the controversial Klang Sentral bus terminal was opened, many retail outlets there are vacant as shopkeepers have packed up and left due to poor business and high rentals.
There are 38 retail outlets in Terminal A and of these, 11 outlets are vacant, with most retailers closing shop after only a few months.
The food court, or “food station”, which is located on the first floor of Terminal A, also closed down after operating for only seven months.
The food station operator was only given a day’s notice to vacate.
A notice dated July 24 last year, which was pasted on the main glass door by NPO Management, the operator of Klang Sentral bus terminal, stated that the food station would be closed the next day, July 25.
The notice stated that NPO Management had decided to close down the food station as the operator had refused to sign a tenancy agreement with them.
The notice added that NPO Management could not afford to suffer further financial losses.
Charmaine Lim, director of the Titijaya Group of Companies of which NPO Management is a subsidiary, said the company was considering other plans for the food station.
“We have other plans for the place allocated for the food court. We may not reopen the outlet for the sale of food and beverages but we are seriously considering other businesses so that the public can have a variety when they patronise these outlets,” she said.
Most of the traders at Terminal A complained that business was bad and it was hard for them to earn enough to pay for the rental of their outlets.
“Very few people patronise our shop which sells various kinds of souvenir items. We only see a crowd on weekends and public holidays,” said Mohd Izwan Marjan, 29, an employee at one of the outlets.
Izwan said the operator should lower the rentals as the outlets were finding it hard to make a profit, resulting in many of them being forced to close down.
Another retailer, who wished to remain anonymous, said although the operator had given some discounts in the rentals, they were not enough.
“There is insufficient business. The operator should reduce the rental. They can always review it when more passengers make use of the terminal and there is more business for us,” he said.
He is also unhappy as traders near the passengers waiting area are now selling the same type of food and drinks although they were earlier told that each trader would only sell a particular type of food or drink.
Lim, meanwhile, said the management empathised with the plight of the retailers and had reduced the rental by 40 per cent.
“When the number of passengers at the terminal picks up, the traders should be able to overcome their problems,” she said.
[TRANSIT: And what plans exist to make this happen? Using the ‘power’ of the CVLB?]
The RM12 million Klang Sentral complex in Jalan Meru is located 10km away from Klang town.
It is a build-operate-transfer project and the developer was given a 30-year concession to operate the bus and taxi terminals after which it will be handed over to the Klang Municipal Council.
It is part of a RM300 million commercial hub developed by NPO Development on a 33.2ha freehold land.
The little-used Klang Sentral opened its doors in November 2008 and has been the subject of controversy as many residents in Klang complained it was too far from the town centre.
Most bus operators have refused to use Klang Sentral because of its poor location and the lack of passengers. Many said the location of the terminal had added to their operational costs.
What is truly sad here is that no one is coming up with any solutions to improve the current situation. The customers are in Klang, specifically in North Klang, not Bandar Meru Raya (which is where Klang Sentral is).
Even the massive congestion in the town because of the construction of the flyover has not deterred the bus companies or the customers.
It is truly sad that no one in the government has come up with any solutions for the Klang Sentral problem. Where is the NKRA in the face of this sad and disappointing example of how not to plan public transport?
TRANSIT has suggested that a bus-rapid transit (BRT) system be introduced to Klang, with a north-south corridor that would quickly link Klang town to Klang Sentral in the north and Bukit Tinggi in the south, with 3 east-west corridors linking Klang to KL (along the NKVE, Federal Highway and KESAS).
Implementing the BRT for Klang would bring life back to Klang Sentral, turning it into a popular hub for intercity express buses and rural mini-buses and outstation taxies.
But if the governments do not start working together, Klang Sentral will become a permanent white elephant and the traders will lose the most.
Minister of Transport Ong Tee Keat, please step up and do something about Klang Sentral.
Right now we are looking at the composition of the Klang Valley Transport Council … which government departments and agencies, which NGOs or NGO personalities, which operators, who among the wakil rakyat, etc. should be involved.
Pleas share your feedback with us. We will update this page with more information as the ideas become clearer.
TRANSIT took note of the announcement from the Selangor government that it is proposing a Klang Valley Transport Council to improve public transport in the Klang Valley and much of the state.
(113) Projek kelima iaitu meningkatkan kemudahan infrastruktur terutamanya sistem pengangkutan awam. Sebagaimana kita sedia maklum Lembah Klang kini mengalami kesesakan jalan raya yang kritikal di mana kesannya pengguna jalanraya terpaksa menghabiskan banyak masa di atas jalan raya.
Dalam hal ini, Kerajaan Negeri Selangor mensasarkan supaya nisbah penggunaan kereta individu berbanding dengan sistem pengangkutan awam dikurangkan daripada nisbah 90:10 sekarang kepada 50:10. Saya telah membincangkan perkara ini bersama dengan Menteri Pengangkutan dan menyerahkan “Wish List” Rakyat Selangor kepada beliau.
Ianya mengandungi cadangan penubuhan sebuah Lembaga Pengangkutan Klang Valley (Klang Valley Transport Council) bagi mengatasi masalah ini. Lembaga ini berperanan menyelaraskan proses-proses pemantauan, perancangan dan penguatkuasaan pengangkutan awam di Lembah Klang. Saya juga membangkitkan beberapa isu termasuk cadangan memperluaskan jaringan pengangkutan LRT bagi kegunaan orang ramai. Ianya merangkumi aspek penyelarasan, jaringan pengangkutan berintegrasi dan seterusnya memberi kuasa kepada Kerajaan Negeri dan kerajaan tempatan untuk menjalankan operasi tersebut kerana Kerajaaan Negeri dan kerajaan tempatan lebih memahami keadaan dan permasalahan yang wujud.
Saya juga tidak lupa membangkitkan isu pelaksanaan sistem pengangkutan bas awam seperti Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), perlunya pewujudan sistem pengangkutan bas komuniti dan penambahbaikan infrastruktur sokongan seperti laluan pejalan kaki (pedestrian walk) di Negeri Selangor.
As you might imagine, TRANSIT has been working for a long time to push the concept of the Public Transport Council / Transport Council for the government and the operators.
It is our belief that the creation of such a council will help coordinate public transport and help reduce the prevailing “silo mentality” that keeps government departments isolated from each other.
The challenge now is to see where this proposed Transport Council goes. The idea is a fine one, but the structure of the proposed council must also be effective.
The Council must include the presence of all 4 stakeholder groups, it has to be balanced and effective so the discussion actually leads to conclusions.
Most importantly, the Council needs to have the authority to plan the bus and LRT and rail routes and the supporting infrastructure.
That is not going to be easy to get.
In the meantime, TRANSIT will be giving our feedback to the State government and the Federal Government and Prasarana and KTMB on how this Transport Council can work effectively.