LETTER | I refer to news reports that the government plans to introduce congestion charges to replace the standard toll charges. I applaud the government decision.
A congestion charge is not something new; it has been already implemented in several developed countries such as Singapore and the UK. In fact, Jakarta is also preparing to introduce congestion charges soon.
Traffic congestion is getting unbearable in the Klang Valley and we have seen radical approaches such as introducing contra lanes at several highways, converting two-way streets to one-way and increasing parking charges in central areas. These approaches are great but congestion charges can be a game- changer
I have several recommendations on how to successfully implement the proposed congestion charges if, let's say, there are to be congestion charges form 7am till 9am
1. Allow colleges and universities to start classes after 10am. Subang Jaya, which is one of the top education hubs in the Klang Valley, has more than five universities which I estimate have more than 15,000 students.
Let's just say a total of 10,000 students and 5,000 staff drive daily to work and they use the Kesas and LDP highways as their gateway to Subang. With the proposed congestion charges, these 10,000 - 15,000 cars won't be using the highways from 7-9am.
2. Logistics companies with heavy vehicles will use the highway from 11pm onwards when there are no toll charges. This will not only benefit them as they save costs but will greatly reduce congestion during morning peak hours as there will be lesser heavy vehicles.
3. Companies can change their employees working hours by encouraging their staff to start work later and end later. For example from 10am-7am. By starting work at 10am, they get a 30 percent discount on the congestion charges.
Even a savings up to RM50 can be very beneficial. But the main reason for this is to reduce stress on the road from 7am till 9am. There will be a significant reduction in cars on the roads during those hours.
The proposed congestion charge is a great initiative to reduce traffic congestion in the Klang Valley which many of us can agree is at a critical level.
It's absurd when one has to spend 45 minutes driving a mere 7km every morning during peak hours.
The views expressed here are those of the author/contributor and do not necessarily represent the views of Malaysiakini.