INTENSE rural-urban migration over the years has made Malaysian cities overly populated and brought an acute need to improve public transport, especially in the Klang Valley.
The Urban Public Transport National Key Result Area (UPT NKRA) seeks to implement an efficient system to ease traffic congestion, thereby reducing air pollution. It hopes to reduce population density by encouraging more people to opt to live in the suburbs and commute daily to work.
The UPT NKRA fell short in six areas last year:
- The long time required for internal approval processes due to being overstretched with various timelines, with some departments finding it difficult to prioritise the processing of approvals and documentation;
- Bureaucracy issues among government agencies resulted in a lack of coordination, hampering the effectiveness of project delivery;
-The delay in the full mobilisation of the Land Public Transportation Commission (LPTC) between June last year and the end of January due to the delay in acquiring parliamentary approval affected the initiative to measure and manage industry performance. One of the LPTC's objectives is to ensure a proper monitoring and reporting of performance by all rail and bus operators. It is also to absorb the roles of both the Commercial Vehicle Licensing Board (CVLB) and Department of Rail that regulate public transport operators;
- The initiative to ensure a fairer distribution of bus routes and better services by bus operators was delayed as the CVLB was unable to get private bus operators to come to an agreement;
- Several projects to refurbish the existing Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad electric multiple units were not completed due to a lack of capable contractors. This delayed the award for refurbishment of the 15 sets that were targeted to start last year; and,
- Based on the traffic impact assessment, widening of the Middle Ring Road 2 from three lanes to five would be required to alleviate traffic congestion and ease bus accessibility. This has affected the delivery timeline of the Integrated Transit Terminal (ITT) Gombak.
The successes achieved under the UPT NKRA last year:
- Completion of the Bandar Tasik Selatan Integrated Transport Terminal;
- Introduction of five Bus Expressway Transit services to reduce bus journey time using underutilised highways;
- Some 634 bus stops were refurbished in Sepang, Shah Alam, Subang Jaya, Klang, Selayang, Ampang Jaya and Kajang; and,
- A total of 22 new four-car sets were introduced at the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) Kelana Jaya line, which carried 2.43 million more passengers last year.
The Transport Ministry, the key driver of the UPT NKRA, has identified congestion during peak periods, unreliable service with cancellations and/or frequent delays and poor access to public transport services as the ills affecting public transport.
In 2003, the government started restructuring the Klang Valley transport industry by consolidating the majority of rail and bus systems under a single company, namely Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad.
With about 60 per cent of the market share, Prasarana is today the largest public transport operator in the Klang Valley.
Last year, the primary objective was to increase the number of daily peak hour commuters to 251,184 from 226,184 in the preceding year. Several measures were identified like increasing capacity and frequency of trips, stimulating demand to draw or "pull" people to public transport, taking heavy vehicles out of the central business district area, accelerating the formation and operations of LPTC to drive industry restructuring, managing demand through "push" and having a Mass Rapid Transit for 2013 and beyond.
The government also hopes to double passenger capacity for KTM Komuter and LRT lines.
Dedicated right-of-way lanes for buses across 12 key corridors in the Klang Valley will also be introduced.
To encourage commuters to opt for public transport, the government has introduced an integrated ticketing platform and fare structure, and embarked on plans to add 6,800 parking spaces across 14 key rail stations outside the urban core by next year. Feeder services into rail stations and upgrading high-traffic stations and terminals will be put in place.
The three major ITTs outside the city are expected to take heavy vehicles out of the city like ITT Bandar Tasik Selatan, which opened in January. Next year, ITT Gombak is expected to divert more than 700 express buses daily from the north (temporarily until the northern ITT is ready) and east from the city core.
The third ITT will potentially be in Sungai Buloh to serve the northern express buses beyond next year.
Intra-city terminal hubs at Hentian Putra, Pudu, Pasarama Kota and Jalan Pekeliling will facilitate the flow of traffic from the suburbs into the city.
The government admits that it is best to identify symptoms early and take corrective actions to avoid any delay in the delivery schedule.
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