Meeting on Klang public transport, 8 pm on 9 April (Update #1)

  • Updated with a summary of the meeting!
  • Updated with comments on how to rescue Klang from being a dead, ‘drive-through’ town!

TRANSIT notes that there will be a meeting of Klang MPs, Klang ADUNs and Klang Municipal Council members regarding Klang public transport:

TRANSIT Says:

We hope that residents of Klang will attend the session and come prepared to discuss issues related to Klang Sentral, connections with KL, bus rapid transit, traffic congestion, etc.

For more information about TRANSIT’s proposal, see our Klang proposal here.

Summary of Meeting

It turned out that the meeting, which was chaired by Pandamaran Assemblyman and Exco for Local Government Ronnie Liu was intended to focus more on general issues in Klang, but many people there were concerned about public transport, 1-way streets and businesses closing – and they expressed their concerns loudly and clearly.

Various taxi associations were present at the meeting to express their anger over the tearing down of the taxi stand at Lorong Kupayang recently. Others were angry about Klang Sentral and expressed their frustration about the idea of paying more money to get to the new terminal.

The biggest complaints of the night were reserved for the 1way streets and ongoing construction which had turned the roads in the Central Business District of North Klang (on the north side of the river) into a complete mess.

One commentator described the roads as an F1 circuit!

It is clear that the public transport and urban design problems in Klang are not going to be resolved easily. We can only hope that the wakil rakyat who were present are seriously interested in solving the problem – otherwise, Klang is going to face serious economic decline.

So what went wrong?

Klang’s current problems are directly tied to 3 interesting, somewhat interdependent factors – a town designed for pedestrians, an increasingly mobile automobile using population, and toll expressways.

As the population of Klang town grew, more and more people moved out of the town centre to the surrounding areas. With the presence of the Federal Highway & Old Klang Road, Klang also became an affordable bedroom community for those who might live in Klang and work in KL, Shah Alam or other towns.

More cars, more roads, more cars

The presence of increased volumes of cars did not help. Because the old road ended right in the centre of town, large volumes of traffic were forced into the centre of the town. But the town centre was designed in a grid pattern, for pedestrians rather than cars.

The other problem is that are only two real connections across the Klang river – forcing traffic heading north or south to travel through the town centre.

The presence of the new east-west toll highways did not really help much. Both the KESAS highway and NKVE do not actually reach Klang town – traffic therefore must still use the old road to get to the town centre.

A ‘Drive-Through’ Town

Effectively, Klang became a ‘drive-through’ town, and the government decided to encourage this by introducing 1-way streets to increase traffic flow, rather than trying to find ways to divert the traffic out of the town centre, or reduce the volume of traffic.

The current “F1 circuit’ and the closure of the North Klang Bus Terminal are two examples of this – instead of encouraging pedestrians and public transport to visit the town (using the ‘stop, shop & stay concept‘) , the government has pushed them both away.

Pedestrians are dissuaded by the large numbers of cars and buses and taxis have been pushed out of the town centre by the local council.

In other words, the government made Klang town unwelcome for the people who wanted to be there, and then made it easier for the people who did not want to be there to simply drive through the town.

Despite what you may think, drivers don’t want to ‘stop, shop & stay’ in the town centres. They prefer to go to places where there is free or low-cost parking and lots of space – namely suburban shopping centres.

The result is that local businesses shut down because they cannot be sustained by the drop in the number of shoppers.

So what can be done?

The solution for Klang is actually pretty simple. Return Klang back to the way it was, with real, two-way streets. Improve the pedestrian environment and rebuild Klang town according to universal design principals as much as possible. Finally, build reliable, organized public transport that will bring people back to the town centre.

What about the cars?

Klang will still be a ‘drive-through’ town because of the lack of bridges across the river, as well as being on two major corridors. The Federal Highway-Kota Bridge flyover, once completed, will divert most of the ‘drive through’ traffic from the town area. Bus & taxi lanes, better public transport, and various enhancements to the pedestrian environment will help ensure that the only cars that will be in the town are people who are there to stop, shop and stay.

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14 thoughts on “Meeting on Klang public transport, 8 pm on 9 April (Update #1)”

  1. mengapa kerajaan tidak menaik taraf pekan kuala selangor dari segi sistem pengangkutan yang baik terutamanya sistem pengangkutan keretapi.

    Kuala selngor adalah tempat ibu negeri selangor pada masa yang lalu. Selepas ia pindak ke kawasan lain; kuala selangor menjadi kawsan luar bandar dan dijadikan sebagai kawasan mundur. Kerajaan selalu memfokuskan kawsan seperti KL dan shah Alam.

    Jika adas sebarang projek yang besar diwujudkan di kuala selangor ia akan meningkatkan taraf hidup rakyat di kawasan ini.

    1. Good point.

      Since now is the byelection, it is a good time to raise the issue of better public transport in Kuala Selangor.

      TRANSIT would like to see better bus connections to Klang, as well as directly to KL with the new KL-Kuala Selangor Highway.

      The proposed railway from Alor Gajah – Port Klang – Batu Gajah could also allow a short line to Kuala Selangor.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  2. Dear sir,

    I am still puzzled with this proposal. If Klang town reached more than a million population, compare to all the other towns in Selangor, why on earth are we not proposing a LRT or monorail to ease the tranffic congestions. There is not a single consideration to propose something like LRT or monorail. I am sure (as proven by counless cities in the world), this kind of system will be popular with the rakyat.

    Proposing some bus feeder system is a good idea, but not complete. We will still have congestions with bus feeder systems, as people will always buy more cars. We need to have something like LRT or monorail, connecting north and south Klang in particular. Moreoever it will bring people to Klang town to stop, shop and enjoy.

    Many people avoid Klang town for many reasons, but one of the main reasons being traffic congestion.

    1. Kody

      Thank you for your comment.

      Public transport cannot be planned based on the actual population of the area – planning has to consider how many people will actually use the service.

      That is why planners must plan according to:

      • The number of passengers to be moved, per hour, per direction
      • where these people live/work
      • The number of vehicles per hour we want to offer
      • the expected rate of expansion – meaning, how many more people we will get, and how soon
      • how much money we actually have
      • how many kilometers we want to build

      Putting all these factors together will help decide whether we need an LRT system, a Bus-Rapid Transit system (as TRANSIT has proposed) or a combination.

      Bus Rapid Transit is not a bus feeder system – it is a system using buses but acting like LRT – with stations. It will get the support of the public if it is fast and convenient and connects them to many different areas.

      TRANSIT supports a Bus-Rapid Transit system because of the huge advantage it has – it costs RM10-25million per km, as opposed to RM250 million for 1km of LRT.

      Meaning, RM1billion will give us 4km of LRT or 40-100km of BRT – meaning we could get a full network of ‘rapid transit’ serving the whole Klang district, instead of just one LRT line in Klang.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  3. Thanks for you constructive and informative reply. Point taken especially on cost.

    However, to have an efficient bus transport system, we have to have a dedicated bus lane. I don’t see if that is possible with what road systems we have in Klang. Without this, the bus-rapid transit system will only be another inefficient bus transit system, unless I am missing something that you have taken into consideration.

    In my opinion, if we think it is costly to build LRT or monorail, then we need have an alternative system, but not just ANOTHER inefficient system, but efficient alternative and cost-effective system.

    I hope this proposal will work.

    Regards, kody.

    1. Kody

      Thanks for your reply. You are correct that we will need bus lanes for the system to work. If we maintain the existing inefficient system of bus lanes it will not work too well.

      That is why TRANSIT proposes that:

      • bus lanes should be placed in the middle of roads rather than at the sides
      • bus operators should be under contract – so there is one brand for the bus rapid transit service (rather than multiple brands)
      • buses stop at ‘stations’ rather than bus stops
      • passengers cross the road to get to the bus stations (either using pedestrian bridges or street walkways)

      The argument is that ‘bus lanes cause congestion’ – but lane segregation can actually make the flow of traffic smoother. And to be fair, a bus carrying 40 people should have priority over a car carrying 1-2 people.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  4. Yeah, i agree. LRT/MRT cannot fight or match with bus system as it still use the road to travel, which subject to hundreds of traffic-lights, outrages bottle-neck, unpredictable traffic conditions, slow-down due to accidents, toll, etc. Even most highways in klang valley get jammed in peak hours, the only few country in the world that got jammed highways!! Most will not favor bus_rapid.

    1. Zamri

      That is why the public will have to be ‘educated’ and ‘sold’ on the benefits of Bus Rapid Transit.

      Malaysia’s first BRT system – down in the Iskandar Development Region of South Johor – should be starting construction before the end of 2010.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  5. Moaz,

    I do agree that having a a single bus system is good, and I suppose for the rapid transit system, you will only have dedicated stations.

    However regarding a dedicated bus lane and educating the public – educating the public will be one of the toughest thing as far as Malaysians concerns. Read the article published in the Star
    http://thestar.com.my/metro/story.asp?file=/2010/5/10/central/6180809&sec=central

    We will definitely need better cooperation between the police, MPK and transport agency to make this works.

    By the way, does this proposal have a name like RapidKlang?

    Regards,
    Kody.

    1. Kody

      It will be complicated, no doubt – but SPAD has the authority according to the law – so they can make it happen if they have the support from the government.

      I’d rather not call it RapidKlang but the Rapid name is still a good one.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

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