Tag Archives: congestion

KL to face gridlock in 3 years? Not exactly says TRANSIT

‘Gridlock’ is one of those scary terms thrown out to suggest fear in the minds of the public. ‘Gridlock’ suggests a complete vehicle immobility … created when too many vehicles attempt to move on the same roads at the same time.

And for the average Malaysian driver or public transport user, who regularly experiences the unpredictable slow movement and traffic jams that plague life in the larger Malaysian cities, ‘gridlock’ is an appropriate term to describe traffic that just gets worse and worse.

But we do not have ‘gridlock’ in the Klang Valley. We do not have gridlock in Penang or Johor Baru or Ipoh or any of the other big cities … simply because these cities do not have grids.

We’re not being facetious or uncaring here. We recognize that Malaysian cities have a massive problem of overwhelming traffic congestion. After all this is one of the reasons why TRANSIT exists.

But while congestion is stressful and has horrible social and economic costs, it is not ‘gridlock’ as TRANSIT knows the term. Vehicles move, albeit very, very slowly…sometimes after waiting for a very long time.

What this reveals to us is simple: We do not have a ‘gridlock’ problem on our roads. We have a traffic congestion problem caused by high traffic volumes, too many Single Occupant Vehicles (those SOV’s!), and bad driving behaviour caused by poor driver training.

Lousy urban and transport planning which makes driving necessary *and* funnels too many cars onto the roads is also to blame … and let’s not forget the ineffective public transport services which will never be a solution for many because they appear to offer the most basic of services to an undervalued “captive” ridership market.

To borrow an analogy, we often describe roads as our urban “arteries.” Well in KL and Malaysian cities we have lots of “arteries” but they are blocked by plaque (the bottlenecks and bad spots) made worse by cholesterol (dumb ideas and behaviours that create those “plaques”).

Have you ever wondered why certain drivers just appear to be very stupid (careless/reckless/dangerous etc…choose your own term)? Those stupid behaviours are the source of the plaque on our roads…the reason why there are jams without collisions and why good drivers feel like they have to be aggressive, reckless and offensive in order to survive…and why our roads and highways are so very unsafe.

So when you see articles like the one below, promising ‘gridlock’ if nothing is done, remember the following points:

1. There is no ‘gridlock’ on our roads only congestion caused by high traffic volumes, badly designed roads and poorly trained drivers.

2. We do not necessarily need costly mega-projects to find solutions for congestion. Instead we need to educate ourselves and become smarter at what we do.

3. Fear is used as a tool to generate compliance.

4. Threats and warnings are often a sign of weakness. In the case of government, this means a lack of policy alternatives or effective solutions.



Remember to think for yourself.


How do we resolve parking and congestion problems in the city centre? By building better alternatives to driving (Update #1)

The worst cities in the world for parking, according to IBM. Image & data courtesy of IBM.

Our original post:

For 5 years and in fact, many more, the members of TRANSIT have been talking about improving public transportation to bring flexibility to our communities.

We recognize the importance of the car, but unlike others, we recognize that our communities do not have to be totally dependent on the car as our only means of getting around.

That is why we at TRANSIT have continuously called for better, more reliable public transport – buses, trains and LRT – to give the public reliable alternatives.

The problem is that the focus of the government and authorities has been on building more LRT or MRT. Yet they forget that a majority of public transport users get to KL via buses – and the fastest, easiest way to get more people to use public transport is to make buses more reliable, faster, and more efficient.

This would encourage the public to use public transport, rather than attempting to drive into the city – creating unnecessary pressure on our roads, an artificial shortage of parking spaces, and a pointless and wasteful use of precious space in our city centre for the storage of cars.

Parking blues in city centre (NST)
24 February 2012
By Bhavani Krishna Iyer

CONVENIENT and affordable parking is welcome in any city and, in this respect, Kuala Lumpur fails us miserably. Continue reading How do we resolve parking and congestion problems in the city centre? By building better alternatives to driving (Update #1)

30% of Malaysian bus drivers suffer from sleep disorders, says survey

TRANSIT members were shocked and disappointed to read the news in The Star today, which shared the results of a survey by the Sleep Disorder Society of Malaysia and the JKJR which showed that a significant number of Malaysian bus drivers suffer from sleep disorders.

30% of M’sian bus drivers suffer from sleep disorders (The Star)
Saturday February 18, 2012

KUALA LUMPUR: Sleeping disorders affect 30 percent of 300 bus drivers in the country, with eight percent categorised as chronic, raising fears about their driving performance.

Sleep Disorder Society Malaysia (SDSM) president Dr Muhammad Muhsin Ahmad Zahari said the statistics were obtained in a joint study with the Road Safety Department (JKJR) recently.

“The survey was carried out on 300 bus drivers from five transport companies nationwide and what shocked us the most was that eight percent are at a severe level,” he told Bernama at the Sleep Disorder Society Malaysia (SDSM) Scientific Meeting – Towards Healthier Sleep in Malaysia event, here on Saturday.

[TRANSIT: We want to know which companies!]
Continue reading 30% of Malaysian bus drivers suffer from sleep disorders, says survey

Brickfields bus & taxi lane shut down after two months because of Government flip-flopping or just bad planning? (Update #2)

Updated with additional articles!

TRANSIT took note of this interesting and disappointing news about the Brickfields – Jalan Tun Sambanthan bus lane, shut down by the government beginning February 6th, after only 2 months in operation.

The big question from TRANSIT is WHY? What are the reasons why the government chose to back down on the plan for the bus lane, and is this a reflection of a government that listens to public protests, or just poor planning, bad policy, or a weak government?

And more importantly, this really raises questions about strength of the government’s commitment to improving public transport – especially in light of the fact that bus lanes in KL are simply not working right now.

So what are we going to do?


Brickfields bus lane abandoned after two months (The Star)
Thursday February 2, 2012

THE indecisive nature of the authorities about the traffic situation in Brickfields have once again caused unhappiness among residents there.

Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Minister Datuk Raja Nong Chik Raja Zainal Abidin announced on Tuesday that the contra-flow bus and taxi lane would now be aborted and buses would once again ply Jalan Sultan Abdul Samad.
Continue reading Brickfields bus & taxi lane shut down after two months because of Government flip-flopping or just bad planning? (Update #2)

Brickfields on ‘collision course’ because of the new bus & taxi lane?

On December 3rd, 2001, buses & taxis leaving KL on the southbound route through Brickfields began using the contra-flow bus & taxi lane on Jalan Tun Sambanthan.

The bus & taxi lane was actually supposed to begin operations on 20th August 2011 but the start was delayed because of objections from business owners in the area who complained that not having car-parks in front of their shops would somehow cause them to lose business.

Now that operations along the bus & taxi lane have started, business owners are actively protesting.

In addition, there is a lot of confusion over what is happening in the area. While the NST claimed that things were going smoothly for buses & taxis, The Star reported traffic chaos. There have been a number of collisions between motorists and, even more disturbing, a number of collisions between pedestrians and buses! A RapidKL bus driver has been suspended pending an internal investigation related to one crash – the aftermath of which resulted in a hostile crowd and vandalising of the bus.

A Metrobus leads a RapidKL through the new contra-flow bus & taxi lane in Brickfields, Kuala Lumpur. The lane allows buses to travel southbound on Jalan Tun Sambanthan. Image courtesy of the NST.

Even worse, it appears that some politicians are getting involved, possibly there to stroke frustrations in order to enjoy a more populist appeal before the upcoming election!

As if the congestion & traffic in Brickfields was not bad enough????

Give new system a chance, public urged (The Star – Metro)
Saturday December 10, 2011

THE residents and traders of Little India in Brickfields should give the newly-introduced bus and taxi lane system a chance before dismissing it as non-workable, said Federal Territory People’s Progressive Party chairman Datuk A. Chandra-kumanan.

“Whatever rules and policies implemented by the government has been carried out in accordance with the wishes of the people and for it to work you need to give it time,’’ he said.

Chandrakumanan, who made a working visit to Brickfields on Tuesday, said he decided to see for himself what was happening after receiving complaints from the public.

Showing the way: A DBKL enforcement officer guiding traffic in Brickfields. Photo by RICKY LAI for The Star.

Continue reading Brickfields on ‘collision course’ because of the new bus & taxi lane?

Now you know why we will always have traffic congestion in KL – because we widen roads to allow cars to block them!

TRANSIT took note of this absurd piece of news where the KL government will be spending lots of your RM to widen Jalan Ma’rof in Bangsar, in the area between Jalan Bangsar (where the flyover to/from MidValley is) and Jalan Ara (where the Masjid is).

Why is the government widening only this section of the road? Because this is the area where there is a great deal of congestion caused by taxis that queue up to fill-up with Natural Gas at the Petronas station between Jalan Riong & Jalan Tempinis.

Taxis lining up to fill up natural gas at a petrol station in Jalan Maarof, and causing a bottleneck. Pic by Syarafiq Abd Samad, New Straits Times.

The Petronas station in Bangsar is the only NGV facility in the south side of KL, and the daily queues are a source of frustration for residents, neighbours and taxi drivers alike.

But instead of solving the problem by having Petronas build more NGV filling stations – or even a centralized multi-level filling station in the nearby Tenaga Nasional lands, the DBKL government has decided to widen the road so taxis can queue up.

Jalan Maarof in Bangsar to be widened to three lanes to ease congestion (The Star)
Saturday November 26, 2011


KUALA Lumpur mayor Tan Sri Ahmad Fuad Ismail has briefed residents associations and stakeholdwers in Bangsar on the upgrading of Jalan Maarof to ease traffic congestion.

Jalan Maarof will be upgraded from the Jalan Bangsar junction to Jalan Ara near the Masjid Saidina Abu Bakar As Siddiq. Continue reading Now you know why we will always have traffic congestion in KL – because we widen roads to allow cars to block them!

Has KL reached ‘peak car’ yet? Will we be ready when it happens?

The term “Peak oil” refers to the impact of three very significant economic laws, namely:

  • The Law of Increasing Returns to Scale tells us that a company or organization that increases the scale of its operations & activities will reduce average costs and increase revenues and profits;
  • The Law of Increasing Relative Costs tells us that as production increases, costs will increase at a faster and faster rate until costs overwhelm returns;
  • The Law of Diminishing Returns tells us that the availability of a product will decrease and its cost will increase over time as the supply decreases and production costs increase;

Once the ‘economic peak’ is reached the average cost of producing  oil will continue to increase as the availability of oil will continue to decrease and the cost of production of oil will continue to increase. Continue reading Has KL reached ‘peak car’ yet? Will we be ready when it happens?

Updates #98

Updates #98

1. Article: Firm denies using taxi coupons to make ‘easy money’ (NST, 10 August 2011) – Mohd Nasir Mohd Rashid, Exec. Chairman of MESRA Indah Jaya Sdn. Bhd. which operates the taxi coupon system in Johor Baru, has denied allegations that it is making an “RM2 profit from the sale of coupons as alleged” but only “taking a 10 per cent commission to cover our maintenance and management costs.”

2. Article: Bandar Kinrara 3 residents want Station 5 moved (The Star, 9 August 2011)

3. Article: SPAD to boost Raya road safety (The Malay Mail, 10 August 2011) – SPAD’s first time participating in the annual Balik Kampung / Hari Raya safety campaign, from 14 August – 14 September including investigation & checking of public transport vehicles “round-the-clock”. Unfortunately, we also read this article: Article: Meddling riders a problem, drivers say (The Star, 11 August 2011) in which JPJ director-general Solah Mat Hassan appears to blame passengers for asking questions and pressuring drivers into driving faster.

Express bus passengers should ensure a safe journey by not pressuring their drivers unnecessarily, said Road Transport Department (JPJ) director-general Datuk Solah Mat Hassan.

He said passenger pressure was a big concern for many drivers who felt pressured to drive faster to reach their destination quickly.

“Some always ask ‘what time will we reach?’ Passengers must not give drivers this unnecessary pressure.

TRANSIT: What nonsense! As if passengers asking “are we there yet?” is the only factor behind our unsafe buses?

4. Articles: NST has two articles about the upcoming Balik Kampung rush: Continue reading Updates #98

Updates #97

Updates #97

1. Article:  Flaming bus at depot (The Malay Mail, 2 August 2011) – A bus parked at its depot in Segambut unexpectedly burst into flames yesterday afternoon, shortly after the driver had finished his shift.

INFERNO: Black smoke billowing from the blazing vehicle. Image courtesy of The Malay Mail.

2. Article: New air-conditioned bus stop opens its door in Zest Point @ Kinrara 9 (The Star, 30 July 2011)

Fostering communities: Trinity Group claims to have built the first air-conditioned bus stop in Malaysia at the Trinity-owned Zest Point @ Kinrara 9. Image courtesy of The Star.

[TRANSIT: As far as we recall, this may not be the first air-conditioned bus stop in Malaysia (there was one built in Malacca) but at least it is the first in the Klang Valley]

3. Article: RapidKL service from KL Sentral to BU not efficient, say passengers (The Star, 1 August 2011)

4. Long wait for bus home (Malay Mail, 1 August 2011)

5. Article: Four LRT stations are now disabled-friendly (The Star, 1 August 2011)

6. Article: Operator yet to relocate buses (NST, 31 July 2011) – A group of business operators in Bukit Indah, JB, are upset that Handal Indah Sdn Bhd, which runs the fleet of Causeway Link stage buses, has yet to relocate its buses from Jalan Indah 15/3 despite the issue being highlighted 8 months ago.

Two Causeway Link buses parked on a stretch of road in Bukit Indah recently. — Picture by Chuah Bee Kim / NST

7. Letter: Cabbies have only themselves to blame (The Star, 1 August 2011) – Frustrated cab user of Ampang writes that cabbies should accept that their actions are the reason a coupon system exists.

8. Commentary: It’s possible to solve traffic woes (NST, 1 August 2011) – Fazlene Aziz comments on traffic solutions for the Klang Valley, arguing that while parking solutions may help a bit, improved public transport is the real solution.

[TRANSIT: On a lighter note, perhaps our KL Mayor and FT Minister can learn a bit of teaching lesson to rectify reckless parking behaviors from the mayor of the city of Vilnius (Lithuania), in which he ran a tank over an illegally parked luxury car. Oh wait, we don’t even have a bicycle lane in downtown KL!

9. Article: Thousands of cheap tickets on ETS till year end (The Star, 2 August 2011) – ETS Sdn. Bhd. is allocating 64,800 “koc 1 Rakyat” seats at a lower price (RM16) for grabs until the end of the year for the Ipoh – Kuala Lumpur Sentral route. Apparently there will be 30 seats per train priced at the lower rate.

10. Commentary: Spare a thought for the disabled (NST, 2 August 2011) – Nuradzimmah Daim comments on accessibility issues.

11. Letter: Towards better taxi service (The Malay Mail 3 August 2011) – YS Chan of KL comments on the taxi issue.

12. Article: ‘Avoid touts for a hassle-free trip’ (NST, 29 July 2011) – The first of the Ramadan Balik Kampung warnings.

13. Article: Flats residents in Sungai Besi want a bus stop shelter (The Star, 6 August 2011)

14. Letter: Build MRT in a cost-effective way (The Star, 6 August 2011) – Rail Mad of Bandar Utama wonders why so much land needs to be acquired in Jalan Sultan for an underground MRT station.

15. Article: Raya bus, train ticket nearly sold out (NST, 6 August 2011)

Updates #94

Updates #94

1. Hotline Story: Factory bus jam: They are parked outside apartments all day, says resident (The Malay Mail, 13 July 2011)

2. Article: 1 massive jam: Residents frustrated by chaotic traffic at 1 Utama (The Malay Mail, 13 July 2011)

3. Article: No Booking! (Streets-NST, 13 July 2011)

4. Article: Origami-inspired folding bikes (The Star, 13 July 2011) –

5. Article: Residents stage protest over poor bus service (The Star, 15 July 2011) – 150 residents of Bandar Selasih Jaya in Johor Baru staged a peaceful demonstration over the inefficient transportation system in the area.

6. Letter: Limo service below par (The Star, 17 July 2011) – Zari Malaysiana of PJ complains about KLIA Limousine service.

7. Letter: High speed train will move economy (The Star, 18 July 2011) – Esa Adam of Subang Jaya writes on the proposed high speed rail.

8. Letter: Provide stats on errant taxis (The Star, 18 July 2011) – S. Ragunathan of PJ wonders about the statistics from the LPKP & SPAD regarding reports of violations by commercial vehicles.