LETTER

Think public transport for more stimulus

Muhammah Zulkarnain Hamzah

Published
Modified 13 Mar 2009, 8:57 am

We refer to the Malaysiakini report Najib defends second stimulus package .

Transit believes that the government needs to direct more attention to existing public transport services and inject more money into the industry.

It is known that every US$1 invested in public transport will return US$6-9 in economic growth. It is also known that congestion costs are leading to the loss of 2% of Malaysia’s GDP (approximately RM10 billion) every year.

Reducing traffic congestion in our cities will improve the economy. For these reasons, we call for the following improvements.

  • Extension of passenger services (moving passengers and collecting revenues) from the Kelana Jaya LRT station to the existing Lembah Subang depot to allow the Kelana Jaya LRT line to penetrate new catchment areas in Ara Damansara and Subang Introduce better bus-stops, bus lanes, bus bays, toilets, waiting areas and bus depots while maintaining existing ones

  • Give bus operators financial incentives for meeting schedules
  • Eliminate the pajak system and stop treating bus drivers as independent contractors
  • Allow a rise in bus fares to help operators meet their costs. Complement this with transport vouchers
  • Pay for discounts for urban/stage buses using tolled highways (to be followed up with a ‘Bus Tag’ system - modelled after the Smart Tag)
  • Invest in local public transport service by financing local shuttle bus services
  • Better investment in rapid-transit infrastructure including Busway-Rapid Transit (BRT) and Expressway-Rapid Transit (ERT) - a cheaper, faster alternative to LRT construction
  • Complete missing links in the public transport network by extending the Ampang LRT from Seri Petaling to Petaling Jaya and from Sentul Timur to Kepong and Wangsa Maju
  • All of the above proposals are lower in cost, faster to implement and have a high multiplier effect which in turn will cause an immediate stimulus to the economy.

    The writer represents The Association for the Improvement of Mass-Transit-Klang Valley (Transit).