State of our public transport — Cameron Kang

JULY 14 — I refer to the article “Public Transport Needs a Huge Rethink” published on 12 July 2018. I wish to make a clarification to the writer and also help the general public understand the state of our public transport.

While the case of LRT3 is indeed shocking and we should be happy that the new government manages to find a way to reduce the cost by downsizing the systems.

But the downsizing should not be done in a way that prevents the systems from scaling up in the future when the needs arise.

Take the Kelana Jaya Line (formerly known as Putraline) lesson we learnt in the mid of last decade, the original two-car trains were overwhelmed by the increase of ridership hence SPNB (former name of Prasarana) have to bring in four-car trains to support the ever-increasing ridership.

But as the systems were designed only to take on up to four-car, there is no more room for increasing capacity per trip other than increasing number of trains per hour.

In this situation, there is little room for any unexpected situation.

The smallest incident such as an unruly passenger holding door can cause a chain of backlog to the whole line.

Bigger issue aside, I wish to point out most bus shelters and walkways are not under maintenance of Prasarana but instead the responsibility of the PBT. Which many public transport users like the writer isn’t really aware of.

I would suggest that both PBT and Prasarana should come out a way for the public to report in by installing signboard on every bus shelter (Like how LLB does with maintenance border on highways) with details of how they can report and who should they report to.

Prasarana and other similar players within Malaysia are sadly not being able to make a profit and almost all of the operators are receiving grants and support fund from the government to operate.

In Klang Valley, the operation of buses are heavily regulated by SPAD under Bus Network Revamp (BNR).

Operators within Klang Valley no longer allowed to operate on their own preference but routes are decided by SPAD.

With the fare highly regulated and our policies is still car-friendly, tag along with many other factors such as development types within the vicinity of stations and bus hubs not under operator’s control, it seems like profitability are something of a legend.

I always believe that public transport systems will get more efficient and more reliable as more people use it, with institutional support to discourage private car use such as reducing the number of parking bay in the city centre and congestion charges, supported by physical infrastructures such as safe, accessible walkways, bus stops and bus lanes.

But until government start stepping up the game and do unpopular, necessary decision, efficient public transport that we can all proud of, will still remain a legend.

* Cameron Kang is councillor at Municipal Council of Seberang Perai.

** This is the personal opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of Malay Mail.