Going car-less

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Rapid expansion of the middle-class segment of society coupled with rising urban migration are among key factors prompting a sharp increase in the number of vehicles on the roads especially in cities like Kuala Lumpur. More often than not, hours are spent battling traffic congestion, especially during peak hours, impacting overall productivity of our nation.

The Malaysia Consumers Movement (MCM) commends the Kuala Lumpur City Hall for continuing in its efforts to explore methods to reduce traffic congestion in the city which includes the recent hike of parking rates in central business areas.

The Federal Territories minister has recently announced the commission of a study to explore the possibility of eliminating parking bays in buildings within the city area which is expected to further reduce traffic congestion in the city.

The MCM believes that implementing such initiative in the near future may cause more harm than bring benefit to consumers as efficiency, safety, connectivity, affordability, convenience of public transportation continue to be a challenge. While the overall quality of public transportation has improved significantly, there is much room for greater enhancement.

The MCM urges City Hall to thoroughly scrutinise existing mode of public transportation, predominantly from an efficiency, safety, connectivity, affordability, convenience standpoint, before drastic measures to reduce traffic congestion are implemented or even considered. In developed cities like London and Tokyo, consumers automatically opt for public transportation rather than driving to destinations due to the mentioned factors.

Consumers will definitely rise to the challenge for change in the way they commute if appropriate facilities are made available to them.

Doing away with parking in buildings may hold benefits but only in the longer term when public transportation infrastructure blueprint has been fully realised. Until than KL City Hall must avoid inconveniencing consumers by implementing any such decisions.

Actions and decisions made today will ascertain the viability of our tomorrow. Convenience was a norm then but now it is about getting real. Let us all play our part for a better future.

DARSHAN SINGH DHILLON is president, Malaysia Consumers Movement (MCM).

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