Comments on the changes to RapidKL fares

The recent announcement by RapidKL of changes from the daily pass to the 1-way zone system of fares was not well-received by the public and many non-governmental organizations.

As you can see from the article, Resounding no to impending price increase(The Star), commuters are clearly unhappy with the changes, which they see as a massive fare increase.

For example:

Erica Lim is one who will feel the pinch soon. For now, the 29-year-old pays RM2 for a daily bus pass.

When the new fare is implemented, she will have to pay RM3.80 a day, or RM84 a month, to travel to and from KL Sentral and Phileo Damansara.

She said this increase was unacceptable as the buses were not punctual.

“Many a time, I have to wait for 45 minutes before a RapidKL bus comes along. I will rather take other buses or share a cab with my colleagues so that I can reach home faster,” the animator from Kajang said.

Another commuter says:

“We take buses and avoid taxis because the fare is cheaper, but there are times when we are forced to flag down a taxi when RapidKL keeps us waiting for too long,”

On the other hand, the article Cheaper to ride buses using card (NST) takes a more positive approach, focusing on the benefits of the Monthly Travel Cards.

RapidKL has indicated that they are going to make an effort to hold roadshows and convince people of the value of the Monthly Travel Cards.

They will also have to inform people about the zone system and work to convince people that they are doing their best to increase the quality, frequency and reliability of services – not an easy task, especially when you consider the recent bus crash and stoppages of the LRT lines.

We wish them luck. 

TRANSIT has already expressed their disappointment with the nature of the change to the fares, including the rapid (no pun intended) nature of the change and the lack of time given for consultation with the public.

We have heard from various sources that the government and the CVLB are the ones who are pushing for the changes – but this has yet to be confirmed.

Our letter to RapidKL senior management, including questions and recommendations, is copied below for your information.

As always, comments are welcomed.

31 July 2009

Encik Suffian Baharuddin
Chief Executive Officer
Rangkaian Pengangkutan Integrasi Deras Sdn. Bhd. (RapidKL)

Encik Ebi Azly Abdullah
General Manager, Communications
Rangkaian Pengangkutan Integrasi Deras Sdn. Bhd. (RapidKL)

Dear En. Suffian and En. Ebi

The members of the Association for the Improvement of Mass-Transit (TRANSIT) as well as other non-governmental organizations wish to express their concern with the recent announcement of a switch from the daily-pass system to the 1-way zonal fare system and the increase in the cost of two of the Monthly Travel Cards Semua and Integrated.

Aside from the overall increase to fares and the effect it will have on the traveling public, we are also concerned with the extremely rapid nature of the announcement and the lack of prior consultation with the public.

We are also concerned that these changes which will result in fare increases for the majority of the traveling public, will not be matched with improvements to the quality, reliability and frequency of service that is expected of RapidKL.

We have been informed that the prices of the fares still remain below the ceiling level recently set by the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board. We also are aware of the new options for the Monthly Travel Cards (Konsesi and Tempatan) and we also note that the cost of the LRT monthly pass has not been increased.

However, we are concerned that a majority of the core ridership and traveling public are unfamiliar with the Monthly Travel Card and may not be able to afford the money required to pay for a Monthly Travel Card. For many of these customers, the daily pass option was popular because it was quick, convenient and affordable.

We also note the availability of maximum daily fares for Touch ‘n’ Go users, but are disappointed to note that the service will not be available when fares change on September 1. We are also not happy with the prices set for the express bus and Utama buses, which are quite high at RM7.50 and RM10,00 respectively.

Questions

Regarding the change, TRANSIT respectfully requests that the following questions be answered as much as possible, in a timely fashion, for the benefit of the traveling public and commuters.

Please note that it is our intention to post these questions (and responses when received) to our website for the information of the public:

General:

  • Why has RapidKL changed from the daily pass system to the 1-way zonal system?
  • Has the change been pushed by the government or competing operators?
  • Why has no map of the Fare Zones been placed on the RapidKL website (at the time of this writing)?
  • Is it your intention to post such a map and if so, when will this map be made available?

Fares:

  • How has RapidKL determined the new fares for the different bus services?
  • Why is there a large gap between the daily maximum fares for the Bandar/City and Tempatan/Local buses (both at RM3) as compared to the Utama / Main and Ekspres / Express buses (at RM7.50 and RM10.00 respectively)?
  • Why are secondary school and college students not eligible for the Konsesi Monthly Travel Card?
  • Given that the cost of a Monthly Travel Card is relatively high, has RapidKL considered the option of Weekly Travel Cards or Maximum Weekly Fares (for Touch ‘n’ Go users)?

Service:

  •  What are RapidKL’s plans for improving the frequency, reliability, quality and safety of the services that it offers?
  • When will RapidKL introduce the Bus Identification Codes and Driver Information to the inside of the buses?
  • Will RapidKL increase the number of Tempatan/Local routes? If so, when?
  • Will RapidKL increase the number of Bandar/City routes? If so, when? 
  • Will RapidKL push for additional restricted bus lanes on major Klang Valley roads?
  • How will RapidKL improve bus hubs and bus stops in the Klang Valley?
  • Will RapidKL make greater efforts to improve their communication with TRANSIT and other NGOs in the future so that this kind of fare increase can be discussed properly and feedback can be given?

 TRANSIT thanks you in advance for your timely response to the questions above.

Recommendations

Since there was no opportunity for discussion prior to the announcement, the discussion will have to take place between August 1 and September 1. For this reason, TRANSIT respectfully requests, on behalf of the traveling public and commuters, that RapidKL make the following changes to the new fare system, as outlined below.

General:

Fares:

  • Lower the maximum daily fares for Touch ‘n’ Go users to RM6 (for Bas Utama) and RM8 (for Bas Ekspres) respectively – these fares are an approximate doubling of maximum fares for single routes, and should encourage use of multiple buses;
  • Make all Monthly Travel Cards Transferrable;
  • Expand the eligibility of the Konsesi Monthly Travel Card to include secondary school and college students with school or college ID;
  • Encourage the purchase of Monthly Travel Cards on a yearly basis by offering deep discounts to purchasers of 12 MTC – companies can use this as a perk for their employees and claim it as a business expense;
  • Consider the introduction of a Weekly Travel Card or a maximum weekly charge for the benefit of the traveling public.

Service Quality:

  • Increase the number of Tempatan routes so that bus users can connect between different zones using the Tempatan service;
  • Increase salaries for drivers and give them professional training in safe and defensive driving, customer service, and information about the Klang Valley;
  • Reintroduce bus schedules and ensure that drivers stick to the bus schedules with incentives and punishments;
  • Measure performance indicators regularly and publish the results on your website and in stations on a monthly basis;
  • Place driver information and Bus Identification and Route Identification information inside the bus at a place that is clearly visible to the bus passenger – to encourage feedback and complaints and to increase security;
  • Put forward-looking cameras on buses to monitor driver behaviour and intrusion into bus lanes – recordings can also be used as a training tool for bus drivers;
  • Work with local authorities and TRANSIT to increase the number of proper bus stops and bus hubs and standarize bus bays and layby lanes for 12m buses;
  • Work with local authorities and TRANSIT to increase the number of restricted bus lanes for bus operations;

Accessibility and Universal Design

  • Work with local authorities and NGOs to ensure that bus stops and pavements adhere to Universal Design principles;
  • Refit buses with ramps, seatbelts, folding seats and the kneeling feature to improve access;
  • Refit buses to include audio-visual announcements of bus stops and route information – have drivers call out this information until the refits are completed;

We thank you in advance for your attention to these matters and hope that, in the future, there will be more opportunities for public consultation and discussion in advance of major changes to public transport services and public transport fares.

Sincerely Moaz Yusuf Ahmad 

on behalf of TRANSIT


———————————–
TRANSIT
The Association for the Improvement of Mass-Transit – Klang Valley

w. http://transitmy.org
e. klangvalley.transit@gmail.com
tw. http://twitter.com/transitmy

Join TRANSIT’s Online Discussion Group and give us your support. Just send an email to klangvalley_transit-subscribe@yahoogroups.com

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s