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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!

Comments on Government Comments on Planning Commuter Train (EMU) Complaints - KTM High Speed Rail Information Information Relay JPJ / RTD KTM Komuter (Klang Valley) Mass Transit (LRT/MRT/METRO) Media Reports News & Events Safety, Health and Environment SPAD / LTC

Updates #100

Updates #100

NOTE: Because of the Hari Raya Aidilfitri & Balik Kampung, this update will cover 2 weeks of public transport news.

Comments on Government Commuter Train (EMU) Complaints - KTM Complaints - Other Complaints - Taxi Economic Planning Unit Express Bus (Intra-Urban) Feedback Information KTM Komuter (Klang Valley) News & Events Socioeconomic Equity SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Stakeholders' Participation Taxi Transit Facilities

Updates #99

Updates #99

1. Article: Causeway Link to use Second Link beginning today (NST, 16 August 2011) – Ten additional Causeway Link buses will begin the rounds from Gelang Patah and Bukti Indah to Boon Lay MRT Station in Singapore, Mondays to Fridays, from 5am to 9am and 4pm to 10pm. For more information visit the CausewayLink website. You can also read this article Cross border bus services for shoppers (The Star, 19 August 2011) about new cross-border “shopping bus” services between Singapore and the Johor Premium Outlets.

Lim Han Weng showing the buses’ schedule on the bunting. — Picture by Zain Ahmed NST

2. Article: Strike threat by school bus operators over new policy (The Star, 14 August 2011) – School bus operators in Penang are reported to be planning a strike after Hari Raya to protest a decision to bar buses aged more than 30 years.

3. Article: Commission warns school bus operators against boycott (The Star, 17 August 2011) – The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) will take stern action against school bus operators who are rumoured to be planning for a boycott.

4. Letter: Taxis: Check on errant radio cab companies (NST, 15 August 2011) – Azmi Atan of Petaling Jaya comments on taxi-related issues.

5. Articles:

6. Article: More progress on track as rail ridership increases (The Star, 15 August 2011)

7. Artikel: Parking di stesen KTMB Bangi di naik taraf (Utusan Malaysia, 15 Ogos 2011) – parking at KTM Station Bangi will be upgraded.

8. Hotline: Rail problems being looked into, says KTMB (The Malay Mail, 15 August 2011)

9. Article: KTM offers 4,404 additional tickets to East Coast (NST, 16 August 2011)

10. Letter: Stage bus saga (The Malay Mail, 16 August 2011) – YS Chan of KL argues for improvements to stage bus services.

11. Letter: ERL: Travel card not a stored value ticket (NST, 17 August 2011)

12. Artikel: Rayu pondok tunggu bas (Utusan Malaysia, 18 Ogos 2011)

13. Hotline: Duo’s bus woes (The Malay Mail, 19 August 2011) – two more complaints about bus services and an interesting revelation about Metrobus.

Bicycle Commuter Train (EMU) Complaints - Bus Services Complaints - KTM Complaints - RapidKL Express Bus (Intercity) Express Bus (Intra-Urban) Feedback Information JPJ / RTD KTM Antarabandar KTM Komuter (Klang Valley) Mass Transit Proposals Money Better Spent Elsewhere News & Events RapidPenang Safety, Health and Environment Socioeconomic Equity SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Stakeholders' Participation Taxi

Updates #98

Updates #98

1. Article: Firm denies using taxi coupons to make ‘easy money’ (NST, 10 August 2011) – Mohd Nasir Mohd Rashid, Exec. Chairman of MESRA Indah Jaya Sdn. Bhd. which operates the taxi coupon system in Johor Baru, has denied allegations that it is making an “RM2 profit from the sale of coupons as alleged” but only “taking a 10 per cent commission to cover our maintenance and management costs.”

2. Article: Bandar Kinrara 3 residents want Station 5 moved (The Star, 9 August 2011)

3. Article: SPAD to boost Raya road safety (The Malay Mail, 10 August 2011) – SPAD’s first time participating in the annual Balik Kampung / Hari Raya safety campaign, from 14 August – 14 September including investigation & checking of public transport vehicles “round-the-clock”. Unfortunately, we also read this article: Article: Meddling riders a problem, drivers say (The Star, 11 August 2011) in which JPJ director-general Solah Mat Hassan appears to blame passengers for asking questions and pressuring drivers into driving faster.

Express bus passengers should ensure a safe journey by not pressuring their drivers unnecessarily, said Road Transport Department (JPJ) director-general Datuk Solah Mat Hassan.

He said passenger pressure was a big concern for many drivers who felt pressured to drive faster to reach their destination quickly.

“Some always ask ‘what time will we reach?’ Passengers must not give drivers this unnecessary pressure.

TRANSIT: What nonsense! As if passengers asking “are we there yet?” is the only factor behind our unsafe buses?

4. Articles: NST has two articles about the upcoming Balik Kampung rush:

Complaints - Bus Services Complaints - RapidKL Complaints - Taxi Feedback Information KTM Electric Train Service Local Councils Pedestrian Pedestrianisation RapidKL Safety, Health and Environment Socioeconomic Equity SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Taxi Transit Facilities

Updates #97

Updates #97

1. Article:  Flaming bus at depot (The Malay Mail, 2 August 2011) – A bus parked at its depot in Segambut unexpectedly burst into flames yesterday afternoon, shortly after the driver had finished his shift.

INFERNO: Black smoke billowing from the blazing vehicle. Image courtesy of The Malay Mail.

2. Article: New air-conditioned bus stop opens its door in Zest Point @ Kinrara 9 (The Star, 30 July 2011)

Fostering communities: Trinity Group claims to have built the first air-conditioned bus stop in Malaysia at the Trinity-owned Zest Point @ Kinrara 9. Image courtesy of The Star.

[TRANSIT: As far as we recall, this may not be the first air-conditioned bus stop in Malaysia (there was one built in Malacca) but at least it is the first in the Klang Valley]

3. Article: RapidKL service from KL Sentral to BU not efficient, say passengers (The Star, 1 August 2011)

4. Long wait for bus home (Malay Mail, 1 August 2011)

5. Article: Four LRT stations are now disabled-friendly (The Star, 1 August 2011)

6. Article: Operator yet to relocate buses (NST, 31 July 2011) – A group of business operators in Bukit Indah, JB, are upset that Handal Indah Sdn Bhd, which runs the fleet of Causeway Link stage buses, has yet to relocate its buses from Jalan Indah 15/3 despite the issue being highlighted 8 months ago.

Two Causeway Link buses parked on a stretch of road in Bukit Indah recently. — Picture by Chuah Bee Kim / NST

7. Letter: Cabbies have only themselves to blame (The Star, 1 August 2011) – Frustrated cab user of Ampang writes that cabbies should accept that their actions are the reason a coupon system exists.

8. Commentary: It’s possible to solve traffic woes (NST, 1 August 2011) – Fazlene Aziz comments on traffic solutions for the Klang Valley, arguing that while parking solutions may help a bit, improved public transport is the real solution.

[TRANSIT: On a lighter note, perhaps our KL Mayor and FT Minister can learn a bit of teaching lesson to rectify reckless parking behaviors from the mayor of the city of Vilnius (Lithuania), in which he ran a tank over an illegally parked luxury car. Oh wait, we don’t even have a bicycle lane in downtown KL!

9. Article: Thousands of cheap tickets on ETS till year end (The Star, 2 August 2011) – ETS Sdn. Bhd. is allocating 64,800 “koc 1 Rakyat” seats at a lower price (RM16) for grabs until the end of the year for the Ipoh – Kuala Lumpur Sentral route. Apparently there will be 30 seats per train priced at the lower rate.

10. Commentary: Spare a thought for the disabled (NST, 2 August 2011) – Nuradzimmah Daim comments on accessibility issues.

11. Letter: Towards better taxi service (The Malay Mail 3 August 2011) – YS Chan of KL comments on the taxi issue.

12. Article: ‘Avoid touts for a hassle-free trip’ (NST, 29 July 2011) – The first of the Ramadan Balik Kampung warnings.

13. Article: Flats residents in Sungai Besi want a bus stop shelter (The Star, 6 August 2011)

14. Letter: Build MRT in a cost-effective way (The Star, 6 August 2011) – Rail Mad of Bandar Utama wonders why so much land needs to be acquired in Jalan Sultan for an underground MRT station.

15. Article: Raya bus, train ticket nearly sold out (NST, 6 August 2011)

Comments on Government Comments on Planning Community Shuttle Bus Complaints - Taxi Feedback Information Local Councils News & Events Pedestrian Planning Socioeconomic Equity SPAD / LTC Stakeholders' Participation Taxi Transit Facilities

Taxi: are cabbies going to get ‘political’ on the gov’t as well?

TRANSIT took note of a very interesting article in Free Malaysia Today, announcing that cab drivers were going to organize a protest on Sunday, 31 July over what is described as government apathy over the issues they have raised.

We have to wonder if this protest, coming so soon after a protest of KTM Railwaymen’s Union members, is a sign that more and more line workers in the transport industry are increasingly frustrated with government inaction.

And we wonder how long it will take before the taxi driver’s also start talking politics … because as most of us know, once you get drivers to start talking about politics … everything comes out.

Cabbies see red over govt’s apathy (Free Malaysia Today)
29 July 2011

B Nantha Kumar

Fed up with the government for ignoring their grievances, 2,000 taxi drivers plan a protest this Sunday.

PETALING JAYA: The Kuala Lumpur and Selangor Taxi Drivers Welfare Association is planning to hold a massive gathering over the federal government’s failure to address their problems.

The chairman of the association, M Manickam, said taxi drivers in city are angry and fed up with the Barisan Nasional (BN) government for consistently overlooking their grievances.

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Updates #96

Updates #96

1. Hotline Story: Stop as you please? Passengers forced to alight even in the middle of the road (Malay Mail, 26 July 2011) – Priveena Mahan complains about being dropped off in the middle of the street.

ANYWHERE WILL DO: A bus stops in the middle of the road for passengers to alight and embark. Image courtesy of The Malay Mail.

[TRANSIT: RapidKL responds here explaining that they cannot always approach bus stops properly because of parked cars at the side of the road. But that should be the exception, rather than the rule.]

Comments on Government Comments on Planning Commuter Train (EMU) Complaints - Bus Services Complaints - Taxi Feedback High Speed Rail Information Letters and Articles Mass Transit Proposals Pedestrian Planning Safety, Health and Environment SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Stakeholders' Participation Taxi Transit Facilities Transit Infrastructure

Updates #95

Updates #95

1. Letter(s): Make them pay for it / Bus lanes not fully utilised (Malay Mail, 21 July 2011) – two letters complaining about bus lanes and buses & taxis that drop off passengers in live lanes.

DANGEROUS: Buses and taxis stopping in the middle of the road pose a danger not only to their passengers but to other motorists as well. RapidKL, please note your accessible bus (V063) is stopped wrongly. Hopefully this isn't a recent picture

2. Video: KVMRT / MyRapidTransit has posted a series of videos on YouTube showing impressions of new MRT stations. You can see the videos at the KVMRT YouTube Channel.

This particular video is for Bukit Bintang Central (not Sentral) station:

Bicycle Chartered/Tour Bus Complaints - Bus Services Complaints - Other Feedback High Speed Rail Information JPJ / RTD Letters and Articles Local Councils LPKP / CVLB Mass Transit Proposals Socioeconomic Equity SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Stakeholders' Participation Taxi Transit Demand Transit Facilities

Updates #94

Updates #94

1. Hotline Story: Factory bus jam: They are parked outside apartments all day, says resident (The Malay Mail, 13 July 2011)

2. Article: 1 massive jam: Residents frustrated by chaotic traffic at 1 Utama (The Malay Mail, 13 July 2011)

3. Article: No Booking! (Streets-NST, 13 July 2011)

4. Article: Origami-inspired folding bikes (The Star, 13 July 2011) –

5. Article: Residents stage protest over poor bus service (The Star, 15 July 2011) – 150 residents of Bandar Selasih Jaya in Johor Baru staged a peaceful demonstration over the inefficient transportation system in the area.

6. Letter: Limo service below par (The Star, 17 July 2011) – Zari Malaysiana of PJ complains about KLIA Limousine service.

7. Letter: High speed train will move economy (The Star, 18 July 2011) – Esa Adam of Subang Jaya writes on the proposed high speed rail.

8. Letter: Provide stats on errant taxis (The Star, 18 July 2011) – S. Ragunathan of PJ wonders about the statistics from the LPKP & SPAD regarding reports of violations by commercial vehicles.

Comments on Government Comments on Planning Community Shuttle Bus Complaints - RapidKL Feedback Information Relay News & Events RapidKL SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Transit Facilities

Bus stops are for buses, not cars!

TRANSIT took note of this article in The Malay Mail with an excellent photo of a banner placed at a bus stop in Desa Petaling in the hope of reminding drivers that they should not park their cars at the bus stop.

MAKING A STATEMENT: The banner at the bus-stop in Desa Petaling reminding motorists not to park there. Prasarana says it was put up by some other party. Image courtesy of The Malay Mail.

Ironically, the person who brought this to the attention of The Malay Mail was complaining about service on RapidKL’s U48 bus – and apparently does not like the banner either:

“It is bad enough that the U48 bus service from Desa Petaling to Bukit Bintang is poor but to endure this unprofessional-looking banner above my head while waiting?