KL to face gridlock in three years

KL commuters could follow their Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila brethren into traffic jam purgatory if public transport moves fail
KL commuters could follow their Jakarta, Bangkok and Manila brethren into traffic jam purgatory if public transport moves fail

KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 25 — With an average of 1,000 vehicles registered in Kuala Lumpur every day, the traffic in the central region, especially the Greater Kuala Lumpur zone, is likely to become as bad as the streets in Jakarta, Bangkok or Manila within the next three years.

According to Road and Transport Department (RTD) statistics, about 7,000 vehicles were registered in the city each week.

“I predict that the situation will worsen in the next five to seven years as the number of vehicles continues to increase.

“It also does not help that the extensions to the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and Light Rail Transit (LRT) are ongoing,” said MAG Technical Consultancy and Development Service founder Goh Bok Yen.

He believes the traffic problems can only be resolved by 2025 upon the completion of the three proposed alignments of the MRT.

However, he said, the government should ensure the integration and linkages between bus, LRT, MRT and other related services were  strong, otherwise they would fail.

“Our current traffic conditions are similar to Jakarta and Manila, the only difference is that we have several highways to help disperse traffic to main roads.

“People choose to drive because it is convenient. In order for the government to encourage the use of public transportation, they must prove to the public how efficient public transportation is.”

Goh said, the growth in the number of private cars in the country stood at six per cent a year. This was due to the inefficiency of public transport and the lack of an effective traffic management plan.

“This has resulted in an imbalance between the number of cars and the road infrastructure, including parking.

“Once we have a complete transportation system, then the government could learn from Singapore by implementing weekend or off-peak driven cars to control the number of cars on the road.”

Apart from the failure of public transportation, Goh said  lower prices and the zero-deposit finance could have contributed to more people buying cars.

“Subsidised fuel prices, cheaper road tax and no obligation to send cars for inspection alsoencourages people to buy cars.”

Most locally made vehicles are sold locally, hence a move in that direction would definitely affect the country's automobile development.

To tackle the traffic problem in Klang Valley, Putrajaya approved the implementation of the MRT project to ease traffic under the Greater Kuala Lumpur Master Plan.

The three proposed lines were Blue Line, stretching 60 km from Sungai Buloh to Kajang through 35 stations.

The Red Line will go from Damansara in the northwest to Serdang in the southeast, while the Green Line will be from Kepong in the northeast to Cheras in the southwest.

The government also plans to construct an underground MRT, known as Circle Line, looping around the city and serving an important role in tying up and integrating currently-disjointed LRT and monorail lines.