Ong: 2010 will see transformation of Transport Ministry

TRANSIT took note of this article published on 01 January 2010…a new year’s resolution if there ever was one.

Ong: 2010 will see transformation of Transport Ministry (The Star)

Friday January 1, 2010

PETALING JAYA: This year will be a year of transformation for the Transport Ministry, Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat said.

Ong said as the minister entrusted with the National Key Result Area of improving urban public transport, he would focus on several targets.

For 2010, he would ensure the completion of the process for procuring 40 new six-car trains for KTM Komuter.

[TRANSIT: Wow, from 30 to 36 to 38 to 40 trains in a few short weeks! At least they seem to be on the ‘right track’ (pardon the pun)!]

“This is important so that the trains can be delivered by mid-2012,” he said in his New Year message in his blog yesterday.

Ong said he would be launching innovative programmes to improve bus services.

“Four Bus Expressway Transit corridors will be launched in January 2010. The services will use under-utilised highways to connect high catchment areas with Kuala Lumpur city centre,” he said.

He added that he would complete the detailed engineering study for the first Bus Rapid Transit system in 2011.

“Bus Rapid Transits are specialised bus services running on segregated bus lanes, similar to the successful operations in Bogota, Columbia. Two more BRT corridors will be launched by 2012,” he said.

Ong said he would also push for integrated smart ticketing for Klang Valley’s public transport and reorganise transport terminals within Kuala Lumpur to cater for inter-city, regional, and local bus traffic.

Another focus, he added, would be the improved facilities for the disabled in train stations, upgrade station-to-station connectivity, and roll out more park and ride facilities.

In the aviation sector, he said the Government’s move to open up the nation’s economy had been given a push with the liberalisation of the aviation sector.

In the maritime sector, Ong said the Ad-Hoc Committee on Administration and Good Governance for the Port Klang Free Zone had come up with many good suggestions to uphold transparency and accountability.

“These are very sound and practical suggestions which are being implemented at different levels, not only in Port Klang but also at other federal-run ports like Penang and Pasir Gudang in Johor,” he said.

TRANSIT Says:

More information can also be found at the following articles, taken from Bernama:

You can also read the full statement below, from the Minister’s blog or the Ministry of Transport main site.

Media Statement by Minister of Transport Malaysia, Dato’Sri Ong Tee Keat on January 6, 2009

In line with the Government’s goal to increase the modal share of public transport in the Klang Valley from 10% to 25% by 2012, efforts have been stepped up to make public rail and bus services more attractive.

Bus services, in particular, have long suffered from unreliable schedule and long journey time making them a less attractive option for commuters. To overcome this, the Government will introduce several measures, including the Bus Expressway Transit (BET), as part of the National Key Results Area (NKRA) for Urban Public Transport.

Towards this end, as the Lead Minister for the improvement of Urban Public Transport NKRA, I am pleased to announce the commencement of the Rapid Bus Expressway Transit (RapidBET) system on January 12, 2010 by RapidKL. BET is our first step towards transforming bus services to be attractive and accessible for all commuters. BET is also the second NKRA initiative undertaken after the introduction of the 4-car RapidKL LRT trains.

BET is a system where the buses will utilise less congested highways to link heavily populated areas and the city centre. Naturally, by using the highways, travel time is reduced as the highways are less congested than the normal routes. The service will have limited stops and rely on feeder buses and park-n-ride facilities to ensure sufficient ridership. With BET, travel time is expected to be reduced by about 50 per cent.

For this initial introductory stage, BET will run at 15 to 20-minute intervals during the morning and evening peak hours. Frequency and service periods will be increased at a later stage depending on the demand on each route. Continuous improvements on all aspects, including passenger facilities, will be undertaken by RapidKL to ensure long-term viability of BET. Among the improvements planned include: BET-friendly toll-gates, special feeder services, and route expansion.

Altogether, four BET routes have been identified and the time savings is between 15 to 70 minutes. The expressways involved are

1) Penchala Link (Kota Damansara to Pasar Seni), with an estimated 70 minutes reduction in travelling time (from 120 minutes to 50 minutes).

2) Grand Saga (Bandar Sungai Long to Pasar Seni), with an estimated 35 minutes reduction in travelling time (from 85 minutes to 50 minutes).

3) New Pantai Expressway (Subang Mewah to Pasar Seni), with an estimated 15 minutes reduction in travelling time (from 75minutes to 60 minutes).

4) KESAS (Sri Muda to Pasar Seni), with an estimated 15 minutes reduction in travelling time (from 90 minutes to 75 minutes).

For the introductory stage, two routes will be implemented starting next Tuesday. The routes are:

1. RapidBET1 – Kota Damansara to KL Sentral & Pasar Seni via the Penchala Link

2. RapidBET2 – Bandar Sungai Long to Pasar Seni via the Grand Saga Highway

Notices have been put up in all buses along the four routes to inform passengers. Other routes will commence operations in due time. I believe the RapidBET initiative will go some way in making public transport the preferred mode for residents in the Klang Valley and help ease congestion on the roads.

DATO’ SRI ONG TEE KEAT
Minister of Transport

BET is a good initiative but we should not pretend that it is a new one. BET is remarkably similar to RapidKL’s express buses and old Trunk Bus proposal. The main difference is that now the Minister of Transport is acting as the champion of BET and RapidKL is going along for the ride.

The similarity between BET and the other services as described here cannot be denied.

In addition, it cannot be denied that BET is still more of the same – public transport focused on getting people from the suburbs to the centre of KL.

In other words, BET & BRT will not bring the complete network as promised. But they do represent a small improvement on what we have currently.

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