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Friday, September 28, 2012

More needed to improve transport system


The Association for the Improvement of Mass Transit is not impressed by the budget proposals.
PETALING JAYA: Budget 2013 has little to offer in the way of improving the public transport system, especially in the Klang Valley, according to the Association for the Improvement of Mass Transit (Transit).
Transit spokesman R Rajiv said that Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak’s announcements were disappointing, even though some people might initially be impressed, especially with the proposal to extend the 50% discount on KTM Komuter tickets to people earning RM3,000 and less.
“There’s really nothing much on public transport; he should have done more,” said Rajiv.
“Instead of giving out BR1M 2.0, why not just give out bus passes for one year? That could be a radical solution.
“Instead of focusing on a discount, we must focus on fare integration.”
However, he welcomed the announcement about expanding the services of Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad to other cities besides Kuala Lumpur.
“Hopefully Rapid Kuantan and Rapid Ipoh will complement rather than compete and kill off each other,” he said. “But we won’t comment more on that until we see more of the plans.”
On the proposal to give school bus operators a RM10,000 cash rebate and 2% interest subsidy on loans for new buses, Rajiv said this should extend to all types of buses.
“Bus operators are having a hard time, and passenger numbers are dropping. The financial viability of bus operators is really something we desperately need to address.
“The Klang Valley is growing bigger and bigger, and there are no new bus routes. People would rather buy cars, and when that happens, nobody takes the buses anymore.”
Rajiv, who is a Subang Jaya municipal councillor, said Transit had always advocated a “complete network” of buses for the Klang Valley, which has 1,200 buses for a population of about seven million.
He made a comparison with London, which is nearly similar in population as well as geographical size. It has 7,500 buses.
“While I agree with Pakatan’s shadow budget that we should immediately get 1,000 more buses, this is still not enough. We need at least 5,000.”
Rajiv said the government should also encourage more motorists to park and ride, deploy more feeder buses to commuter stations, and have more pedestrian walkways.
“More buses won’t create more congestion. If just 10 people leave their cars at home, there will 10 cars fewer on the road and just one additional bus.”
Rajiv said the budget had also overlooked the need for more bus drivers.
“Many work overtime and that’s what causes crashes. Singapore has gotten all our best drivers.”

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