Malaysiakini Letter

Include a public transport pass in Budget 2018

Rajiv Rishyakaran  |  Published:  |  Modified:

The Budget 2018 speech, which is slated for tomorrow afternoon, should announce a RM100 unlimited rides monthly pass for public transport users.

This is critical to address the relatively high cost of public transport, especially for the B40 and towards our goal of increasing the ridership of all forms of public transport.

The current public transport pricing is distance-based, which means it is more expensive and burdensome on those who live further away from the city centre, oftentimes the poorer community.

With fares that can easily exceed RM10 a day for travel both to and from work, the monthly cost of public transport can add up significantly, and be especially painful on the working class and for students.

A monthly pass, which is a common feature in most cities with successfully public transport networks, such as New York, Melbourne, etc., serves to help regular commuters manage transport cost, and motivate a higher usage of public transport.

Moreover, the ridership on our public transport services have yet to reach the peak in most instances. The Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT line peaked at 140,000 passengers per day, a far cry from the designed capacity of 400,000.

Many of our buses cannot even reach 500 passengers per day per bus, a far cry from the approximately 1,100 passengers per bus per day in Singapore.

It is time for the government to reward regular public transport users, who have been instrumental in bringing down traffic congestion with an affordable monthly pass, and will also serve to increase ridership for the services and routes we already provide.

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