|Written by Administrator|
|Monday, 05 October 2009|
During the morning rush hour today, I took the bus near my home at Taman Midah to the Taman Maluri station to get a first-hand feel of what Malaysian commuters are going through on a daily basis. The people’s feedback is very important in shaping our decisions and policies, and I took the opportunity to speak to them on the Government’s efforts to encourage the use of public transportation, especially on the services and facilities offered.
Various issues were brought up and among the top concerns is the regularity of the services. Other points raised included breakdowns of buses which affect reliability of the services, accessibility and journey time, as well as convenience and comfort.
The feedback received must be taken seriously if we are to achieve the ultimate medium-term target of 25% public transport peak-hour modal share for Klang Valley by 2012 from the current 16% for the National Key Result Area (NKRA) on Urban Public Transport (UPT) which I head.
The view is that in the long-term, rail services must be positioned as the backbone of our urban public transport system . In the next three years, three work-in-progress rail initiatives will be able to contribute to improving rail services. They are 35 new 4-car sets for the K5 LRT line to be operational by 2012, 5 new ETS for KTM’s Ipoh-Rawang line to be operational by 2010, and the resurrection of 9 Electrical Multiple Units (EMUs) for KTM’s commuter lines by 2010. Additional cars are pending approval from the Ministry of Finance. There are also other rail initiatives such as LRT line extensions, LRT new line and new KTM EMUs which will be delivered in 2013 and beyond.
However, something must be done in the short-term and improvement in bus services is crucial to encourage the usage of public transport to achieve our medium-term target. I welcome RapidKL and Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur (DBKL)’s collaborative approach in dealing with the short comings. Although public transportation is within the domain of multiple federal and local government agencies - 13 of them to be exact - the establishment of the NKRA for UPT is a strategic move to bring together the various agencies under a collaborative umbrella with common objectives.
For the initiative this morning, we are working with Syarikat Prasarana National Berhad (SPNB) of which RapidKL falls under, and DBKL in this pilot effort for selected routes in Area 4 which covers areas like Maluri and Cheras to improve on reliability, journey time, comfort and convenience, as well as accessibility and connectivity.
We will look into putting in 8 additional buses into 4 routes, proposing bus lanes and increase enforcement of those lanes. New routes connecting Taman Segar to LRT Bandar Tasik Selatan as well as 3 extensions of current routes to LRT stations are in the pipeline to improve inter-modal connectivity. We also hope that the increase in the number of covered bus stops will alleviate the discomfort of commuters in the short to medium term. I have advised RapidKL that it is one thing to get additional buses; it is another to get as many buses on the road as possible if we are serious about improving reliability of its services.
It must be stressed that efforts at improving urban public transportation must be a comprehensive one, which involves the cooperation of various parties, including other operators. While we welcome competition among operators of public transportation, such competition must ultimately benefit the people. It doesn’t make sense for competition to only focus on peak hours.
I am confident that if we continue to listen to the people, the Government will be able to achieve the high targets set for ourselves. This is the essence of a People First, Performance Now culture.
Here are some pictures of my walkabout: