Strong effort urgently needed to reverse mistrust in Public Transport

It is indeed a sad day for Malaysia as its people has shown signs in sheer lost of confidence in public transport.

The recent Audit Report shows us that the nation’s railway operator Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) has failed to make its loan payments for the past 8 years and made RM1.45 billion in operating and loan losses.

Utusan Malaysia’s Letter to Editor section recently featured two letters, one on the response from RapidKL on the excruciating wait for a bus to arrive (in which the Head of the bus operations claimed that the feeder buses operated on schedule,… which is one every 45 minutes…. yikes!) and another piece on a depressing call from a bus accident victim (who lost his wife in the 1996 accident, and burdened with tremendous hospitalization costs ever since) for readers to avoid taking the express bus at all costs (and narrated his personal trauma and apathetic follow-ups from the authorities), even to the extent of cutting number of trips or even prioritizing use of private vehicles.

TRANSIT is really at loss of words. We are talking on billions for the new MRT and High Speed Rail.

While our largest and oldest rail operator is allowed to rot day by day, with lands sold off at below market price levels. And our expressways, which should serve to move people instead of cars,are allowed to become prized cash-cows for big companies to milk for their own private interests.

Add in the sheer productivity loss factor of using our urban public transport, as displayed by the failure of the only government-backed bus operator in Klang Valley in providing reliable services for people to access the present mass rapid transit lines.

All of this means there is zero concern on the lack of bus priority ways, integration and coordination between different modes and lines, public sector-driven investment and transit-oriented development. Without active involvement by the public sector, KTM and Prasarana will be suffocated to death in a perfectly car-driven environment.

Finally, through the government’s very own mouthpiece, people have start to talk about abandoning public transport all together.

Way to go!

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