Categories
Comments on Government Feedback First Review Information News & Events RapidKL Socioeconomic Equity SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Stakeholders' Participation Transit Facilities Transit Infrastructure Transit-Oriented Development Universal Design

Malacca government steps forward on public transport with RM7.7mil compensation and takeover plan. Will they learn from RapidKL? (Update #1)

Update #1: Updated with more letters & articles

TRANSIT took note of the following interesting news – the Malacca state government is stepping forward with plans to compensate 10 existing public transport operators in the state with RM7.7 million, with a plan to for state-owned operator Panorama to take over the operations from the private operators on February 1st of this year.

New Panorama Melaka midi-bus. Image courtesy of Jom Naik Bas!

The takeover proposal appears to forestall the warnings from the Malacca Omnibus Operators Association that they would be forced to stop services on February 1st.

Malacca to give RM7.7mil compensation to ailing omnibus operators (The Star)

26 January 2012

MALACCA: Malacca’s ailing omnibus operators will get RM7.7mil in compensation from the state.

Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam also announced Thursday that the state-owned agency, PMTC, would fully take over the stage bus operations from Feb 1 while the current dilapidated buses used by ten operators would be replaced in stages.

The memorandum of understanding between the state government and Malacca Omnibus operators was signed at Dewan Seri Negeri.

TRANSIT Says:

So, the state government is paying RM7.7 million to buy old buses from these bus operators, which they will then turn around and use on the existing public transport routes while the buses are replaced over time.

That basically sounds to us like the process by which Intrakota and later RapidKL were created – pay good public money to buy up near worthless private assets, buy new bus chassis at an inflated cost with a ‘too-short’ timeline, leading to:

  • contracts for Malaysian bus assemblers;
  • a need to purchase new buses in a few years;
  • public complaints about the loss of competition.

Hopefully, the Malacca government and SPAD will have learned from the mistakes made by RapidKL & Prasarana in the past. One wise step to take would be to take the purchase of new buses out of the hands of Panorama Melaka Cultural & Tourism (and the state government) and put the purchase in the hands of national infrastructure company, Prasarana.

Why? Because first of all, Prasarana knows what buses to buy, thanks to their 5 extra years experience in purchasing buses. Second, Prasarana is the national infrastructure company, with the right financial backing to get the buses at a great price. Third, it is best to keep the purchase of buses neutral and focused on the improvements, not potential opportunities.

TRANSIT also believes that the Malacca Government needs to develop a concise and effective public transport plan that builds on the major corridors that need to be served – namely the existing Malacca town buses, Malacca – Ayer Keroh route (including the proposed Malacca Tram), and the intercity services connecting Malacca town to Alor Gajah and Tampin (where it can link to KTM train services including possible future ETS.

From the article, there is more info to come. In the meantime, take a look at the articles after the jump, which detail the situation in Malacca and the way that the plan came together.

Categories
Comments on Government Feedback Information Kenderaan Transnasional Bhd News & Events SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Stakeholders' Participation

No bus for you Kelantan! Well, 11 fewer buses than before!

TRANSIT took note of more news of more CityLiner bus services shutting down.

This time, 11 bus routes in Kelantan have stopped operating, as discussions between CityLiner and the state government which began in November 2011 were not able to reach a solution – despite the state government’s offer of RM400,000 over 4 months.

Cityliner to cut 11 routes in Kelantan (NST)

14 January 2012

KOTA BARU: Thousands of commuters will be affected when Cityliner stops its stage bus service in 11 of the 17 routes it operates in the state beginning today.

A spokesman for the company said it was taking the action after a series of discussions with the state government failed to find a solution to help the company.

Categories
Bicycle Bus Rapid Transit Comments on Government Comments on Planning Community Shuttle Bus Commuter Train (EMU) Express Bus (Intra-Urban) Feedback Information KTM Electric Train Service KTM Komuter (Klang Valley) Local Councils Mass Transit (LRT/MRT/METRO) Monorail News & Events Pedestrian RapidKL RapidPenang Socioeconomic Equity SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Stakeholders' Participation Taxi Tram TRANSIT - Commentary Transit Demand Transit Facilities Transit Infrastructure Transit Operators

‘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!

Categories
Bus Rapid Transit Comments on Government Comments on Planning Community Shuttle Bus Commuter Train (EMU) Feedback Information Local Councils Mass Transit (LRT/MRT/METRO) Mass Transit Proposals Monorail News & Events Pedestrian Planning SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Taxi TRANSIT For All Transit Operators Transit Support Systems Updates

TRANSIT says goodbye to 2011 and wishes everyone a happy 2012

The year 2011 has been quite tumultuous for public transport and indeed, for many people in many places throughout the world.

Specifically to public transport, we in Malaysia have seen a number of major changes.

Categories
Comments on Government Comments on Planning Complaints - Bus Services Feedback Information Kenderaan Transnasional Bhd News & Events RapidKL Socioeconomic Equity SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Stakeholders' Participation Transit Facilities

No bus for you reaches Selangor … again! (Update #4)

TRANSIT took note of more bad news in the public transport industry – another shutdown of bus services in Selangor.

Yes, you may not realize it but the “No Bus For You!” crisis that is affecting our public transport industry has already reached Selangor … and Perak, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, and Pahang. So this would not be the first time!

Earlier this year, Sabak Bernam and Kuala Selangor lost their bus service but no one really noticed … except perhaps the people at TRANSIT and some in the media (and they moved on pretty quickly, as they are apt to do).

But now, the most recent crisis that has been popping up all over the country, caused by CityLiner’s threats to shut down bus services in various states, is suddenly getting the attention of the public.

Cityliner wants govt ‘lifeline’ (The Star)
Tuesday December 13, 2011
By WANI MUTHIAH and JOSEPH KAOS Jr
newsdesk@thestar.com

[TRANSIT: Please help us out by sending comments to the Star using their email address, editor@thestar.com.my or metro@thestar.com.my. You can also consider sending messages through their facebook & twitter feeds. The message has to get out that the public is frustrated!]

Categories
Comments on Planning Economic Planning Unit Feedback Information Local Councils Planning RapidKL RapidPenang Setara Jaya (SJ) Socioeconomic Equity SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Stakeholders' Participation Transit Demand Transit Facilities

Prasarana proposes cooperation and “code share” system for Klang Valley bus operators (Update #1)

Update: The response from bus operators & government is mixed!

Yesterday TRANSIT learned of a proposal from Prasarana, the government-owned “National Infrastructure Company” to introduce a cooperative system between bus operators, where bus operators would share information, operate routes together under “code sharing” agreements, and implement “blue ocean strategy” to rationalize their operations.

We were immediately surprised and intrigued by the possibilities … and wary of the risks.

The public transport industry in Malaysia is in crisis. Part of the reason for this is because there is no holistic understanding within the government and among the public of what public transport is (a public utility), what it does (stimulates and ensures productivity and economic growth), and what it provides (mobility and access).

Malaysia has no National Public Transport Strategy or any form of cohesive public transport strategy except for “build infrastructure” and “subsidize or buy out when necessary.” And we should mention that to many Malaysians both of those “strategies” have the unfortunate subtext of “enrich cronies.”

What makes things worse is that there is no clear interest in improving public transport services or approaching (and appreciating) public transport as a public utility with economic & social benefits. The public does not seem to be aware and the state & local governments did not seem to care.

Until the crisis started, that is.

Now state governments are being forced to take notice and ensure that there are solutions to the problems in the industry. Unfortunately, they do not have the knowledge, experience or the tools to ensure these solutions will work.

SPAD has asked state governments to do whatever they can to resolve the problems in the short term. The Governments of Penang and Negri Sembilan have stepped in with subsidies. Prasarana’s proposal for cooperation might represent an alternative way of doing things – but the big question is, Will private operators want to work with a government-owned asset-owner-cum-operator that receives capital & operational subsidy from the federal government and appears to be actively competing with private operators on any number of routes?

And more importantly, will corporate collaboration work effectively and meet the needs of the public transport users?

More information, articles & comments after the jump!

Categories
Comments on Government Comments on Planning Complaints - Bus Services Feedback Information Kenderaan Transnasional Bhd Local Councils News & Events Planning Safety, Health and Environment Socioeconomic Equity SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Stakeholders' Participation

No bus for you, Sebarang Prai (as of 21 November). Watch out, Kedah & Perak. You might be next! (Update #2)

  • Update: TRANSIT has learned that the Penang Government will provide subsidy to CityLiner!
  • Update: TRANSIT has learned that CityLiner bus services will operate until the end of November, and that CityLiner is in talks with the Penang Government to resolve the issues facing their operations in the state!

TRANSIT has learned that Konsortium Transnasional Berhad will stop CityLiner stage bus services in Sebarang Prai on 21 November 2011 – this coming Monday.

We urge public transport users in Sebarang Prai who rely on CityLiner bus routes to make alternative transport plans immediately – so that they are prepared if and when the shut down takes place.

And since SPAD has already been caught flat-footed by the shutdown of CityLiner bus services in Negri Sembilan, as well as the threatened shutdowns in Kedah, problems in Perak, Melaka and Kelantan, and other issues … well, we do not see any solutions coming anytime soon.

The public transport industry has been in pain for  a long time. Sadly, while the government has changed from two ineffective “doctors” (CVLB & Department of Railways) to one unproven “doctor” (SPAD), they have done very little to alleviate the pain.

Sure, this new “doctor” has lots of wonderful plans for the public transport industry, but like many of the young among us, this “doctor” is more interested in the urban lifestyle (KL & the Klang Valley), and in the flashy & fancy solutions (LRT, MRT) rather than the reliable and effective medicine (realistic solutions).

To borrow another analogy, SPAD is pumping the public transport industry full of steroids to make it look big & strong, instead of cutting the fat & improving fitness, to make the industry lean, mean, and healthy.

Ok, enough with the analogies. The article is after the jump:

Categories
Announcements Comments on Government Comments on Planning Community Shuttle Bus Complaints - Bus Services Economic Planning Unit Feedback Information Kenderaan Transnasional Bhd Local Councils News & Events Planning Socioeconomic Equity SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Stakeholders' Participation Transit Demand Transit Facilities

No bus for you, Seremban and surrounding area! (Update #4)

TRANSIT woke up to more and more bad news with bus service! Thousands of commuters living around Seremban are affected as local bus services are shut down.

Going nowhere: Bus drivers and employees of the consortium sitting at their depot in Oakland near Seremban 2 after services to several areas were terminated yesterday. Image courtesy of The Star.
More buses than usual lying idle at the depot now that services have been greatly reduced in Negri Sembilan. Image courtesy of The Star.

The biggest surprise – the buses shown in the photos above are “CityLiner” branded buses – and the CityLiner brand is used by various subsidiary companies of Konsortium Transnasional Berhad – Malaysia’s largest (and probably most complicated – see corporate structure here) public transport consortium and owner of well known public transport brands Transnasional, Nice and Plusliner.

The item below is quoted from the KTB website.

Cityliner – Negeri Sembilan Operations

Just like the two regions above, this region is an operations merger of four subsidiary companies under Jelebu Holdings Sdn Bhd, a subsidiary (83.2%) company of Park May Berhad that operates in Western part of Negeri Sembilan with two other subsidiary companies of KKMB, i.e. Starise Sdn Bhd and the stage bus outfit of Syarikat Rembau Tampin Sdn Bhd that operates the Eastern part of Negeri Sembilan. A Regional Manager was appointed to lead one integrated team to focus on the profitability of running the entire stage bus operations in Negeri Sembilan. The resulted merger has a capacity of running approximately 215 permits/buses. Besides running ordinary routes in housing areas and on main roads of Negeri Sembilan, the Cityliner buses here also serve the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) and Low Cost Carrier Terminal (LCCT) from Seremban, Nilai and Banting.

Now, we are really not happy. We could understand if a small bit-player was forced into stopping service because of continuous loss-making operations. But this is the largest public transport consortium in the country! Can they not find a way to keep services running?

In any case, read the articles. We will provide links to the various articles and comments after the jump.

Categories
Comments on Government Comments on Planning Community Shuttle Bus Commuter Train (EMU) Economic Planning Unit Express Bus (Intercity) Express Bus (Intra-Urban) Feedback Information KTM Electric Train Service KTM Komuter (Klang Valley) Local Councils Mass Transit (LRT/MRT/METRO) Mass Transit Proposals Money Better Spent Elsewhere Monorail News & Events On TRANSIT Planning RapidKL Socioeconomic Equity SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Stakeholders' Participation Transit Demand Transit Facilities Transit Infrastructure

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.

Categories
Comments on Government Comments on Planning Complaints - Bus Services Complaints - RapidKL Information Local Councils News & Events Planning RapidKL Setara Jaya (SJ) Socioeconomic Equity SPAD / LTC Stage Bus Stakeholders' Participation Transit Infrastructure

When will we see public transport as a public utility?

We at TRANSIT spent the weekend thinking about public transport and the public perception of public transport. We wondered why Malaysians are still stuck in the mindset that public transport is a service for the poor, which, ironically, must be provided by private companies (which does not really work), with competition to keep prices low (which does not really work) and low government interference & regulation (which does not really work).

On top of that, we would probably not be wrong in assuming that the average Malaysian supports improvements to public transport so that other people can use it … thus freeing the roads for their cars. Unfortunately, that attitude also does not really work.

(Do you sense a theme here???)

You might ask why TRANSIT has become so thoughtful this weekend. You might also ask why we haven’t made posts in such a long time but we will leave that for another post.

What inspired us was this letter by Y.S. Chan of KL which basically complains about the shift of RapidKL’s Cheras-bound bus services from the Klang Bus Stand/Jalan Sultan Mohammed bus terminal (at Pasar Seni LRT station) to the Sinar Kota bus stand.

Y.S.Chan opines that this shift is the result of “arbitary decisions” made by GLCs which are possible thanks to a lack of guidelines. Y.S. Chan also laments that direct competition from RapidKL might be the first step to putting SJ Bus out of business.

And we thought the move was just because the Klang Bus Stand was going to close as of 1 November 2011. Perhaps there is something deeper?

Bus guidelines needed (The Star)
Sunday October 23, 2011

SINCE last Saturday, something new and bizarre is taking place in the streets of Kuala Lumpur – at Jalan Tun Tan Siew Sin to be exact.