Expansion of highways should include plans for bus lanes.

The members of the Association for the Improvement of Mass-Transit have taken note of the recent report on the Government Transformation Program and the specific concerns about the success of the Urban Public Transport NKRA. We have also noted the recent comments from Minister of Transportation Kong Cho Ha (who is lead minister for this NKRA).

The Minister of Transport has made it clear that the Government & Pemandu will be moving forward with their stated goal to make public transport reliable, comfortable, convenient and affordable. Projects to improve public transport will include (among others) a Bus Rapid Transit system for the Klang Valley and a ‘corridors’ based approach to public transport.

TRANSIT has long stated that the highway & major corridors of the Klang Valley are suitable transport corridors and space should be given to allow and encourage the use of Bus-Rapid Transit (BRT) and Expressway Rapid Transit / Bus Expressway Transit (ERT / BET) services on these corridors.

An artist's impression of the Bangkok BRT system shows what a BRT system on our major roads might look like.


TRANSIT has also noted recent announcements about expansion & extension of the existing highway system around the Klang Valley – namely the NPE extension to Ampang, the Besraya Eastern Extension, and the construction of separate express & local lanes for the LDP in Puchong.

These highway corridors are also potential public transport corridors, linking many communities around the Klang Valley.

For this reason, we call on Minister of Transport Kong, the LLM, and Malaysian toll concessionaires to incorporate space for physically-separate bus lanes within the alignment of their highways – especially as part of their extension/expansion projects.

These bus lanes would be ideally placed in the highway median lanes, to allow contra-flow operation of buses without taking up space.

Artist's impression of contra-flow bus operations in an urban setting.

The example of the Metrobus service in Istanbul (the world’s first Inter-continental BRT) shows that a BRT or ERT system can be built with reduced costs using contra-flow lanes and off-the-shelf bus designs.

A view of the Istanbul Metrobus operating contra-flow in the middle of a major highway.
Istanbul Metrobus has simple stations & platforms with off-the-shelf buses (Mercedes CapaCity 18m long articulated buses)

In addition, TRANSIT believes that SPAD’s future COO, Azhar Ahmad (the innovative CEO of RapidPenang) can also work with the highway concessionaires to set up their own public transport services along these corridors – either managed in-house or contracted out to existing bus operators. This would help them to gain a new source of revenue by shifting some trips to public transport. Although this would reduce the number of cars on the highways, it would also reduce congestion and make even more money from the concessionaires through the bus fares collected).

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12 thoughts on “Expansion of highways should include plans for bus lanes.”

  1. The government will tell you, please wait for another million years and all the public buses have to pay tol too.

  2. Do you think that is possible?? Even Plusliner have to pay tol, the reason is simple, because it’s under a different subsidiary.

    1. @Jeffrey

      Plusliner is owned by KTB – it is not a direct subsidiary of PLUS Berhad.

      However, we do know that national investment companies Khazanah & PNB hold shares in PLUS and KTB.

      We are talking about the possibility of Litrak and NPE setting up direct subsidiaries to operate bus services on their routes.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  3. Trust me, if the bus lanes are not properly gated, other motorists 100% sure to use it for convenient sake especially during traffic jam.

  4. “Trust me, if the bus lanes are not properly gated, other motorists 100% sure to use it for convenient sake especially during traffic jam.”

    not if they are contra-flow bus lanes.

    There was an application of contra-flow bus lane in KL. At Jalan Yap Kwan Seng in fact. I am not sure if it was ineffective but they have long reverted it back to a 2 way road. I think part of the problem with the implementation of bus lanes in Malaysia is that taxis are allowed to use bus lanes. I think taxis should not be allowed in bus lanes.

    1. Jeffrey, we are talking about contra flow bus lanes and /or regular-flow bus lanes – both types separated from the traffic by kerb or railings.

      This is not just painted on bus lanes – although painted-on contra-flow bus lanes would work, no one in DBKL seems to be brave enough to try it.

      As for painted-on bus lanes in line with the road, this will only work with enforcement.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  5. Trust me, the crony on each sides have their own interests and considerations, by the time they are willing to combine to have a direct subsidiary to host the bus services, God knows when will that happen. It always happen that way.

    1. Jeffrey

      Agreed that there is opportunity to delay the project. That is why we cannot hope for LLM members to do it themselves – they will need incentives from the government & SPAD to make it happen.

      Of course, that does not mean we aren’t holding out hope that some companies (NPE Sdn Bhd in particular) might give it a try independently of other toll concessionaires.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  6. this may be off topic, but whilst hoping and praying for the government to draw the bus lane and implement a BRT solution (can be forever), there are other innovative solutions out there to alleviate traffic congestion.

    sometimes, drivers may find it difficult to be weaned off their cars due to the lengthy travel time of buses / or it does not provide direct route A to B / it is raining.

    one interesting solution currently in the US is Traffictalk. what it does is this – it lets drivers to hook up to the phone and listen to the traffic report via radio (sthg like our Ford Traffic Ranger report in Hitz). only difference is that it is interactive, someone can call in and ask abt the condition of that particular area and another driver at that point of time driving at that area may share what is happening there. and since it is radio based, and we hv a number of successful radio entreprenuers like Biz FM or Tune FM, it might just work in congested areas like Klang Valley and Penang
    http://www.traffictalk.info/how_it_works.html

    1. William

      That sounds pretty interesting – we have felt that there is a lot more that can be done to make our existing roads more efficient – from the physical separation of buses & cars to more efficient speed control to ways to avoid & reduce congestion.

      Traffic Talk appears to be effective because it works on your schedule, rather than that of the radio station or ITIS. It reminds us of the Citizen’s Band Radios which were popular in the United States & Canada for many years. Of course, truk (lorry) drivers in the US & Canada still use their CB radios for traffic updates & communications – but the phone represents a newer, more secure technology.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

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