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.
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.
TRANSIT took note of this interesting photo of a sign in one of our LRT trains – advertising improvements to RapidKL bus services.
To the top of the photo, we see an advertisement for RapidBET Route #3, which connects Subang Mewah to Pasar Seni, Kuala Lumpur. And down in the right hand corner, the message “RapidBRT Akan Datang! Coming Soon!”
By now everyone should be aware that a major crisis is taking place in the bus industry.
The shut down of CityLiner bus services throughout was the major ‘tipping pint’ in a series of crises [TRANSIT: refer to our “No Bus for You” series of posts] that showed the precarious state of public transport and the bus industry – and made it clear that SPAD has lost the plot by focusing on the MRT project rather than revamping & transforming public transport.
However, we need the government, SPAD and Prasarana-RapidKL to acknowledge that their “solutions” are not holistic and not sustainable. The problem is that they are focusing on short-term solutions for the crisis, not long-term solutions that will make public transport work, sustainably and effectively, and most importantly, meet the needs of public transport users.
And this, ladies & gentlemen, is the biggest problem. Everyone talks about fixing public transport but all the solutions that are put forward focus on the bus industry, rather than the public transport service. What’s worse is that the ‘solutions’ still fail to consider the needs of the public transport users.
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.
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.
The southbound lane, which had been under construction since earlier this year, was supposed to open in August, but protests from area business owners led to the implementation being pushed back to after Deepavali.
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.
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.
TRANSIT took note of this article about the closing of the Klang Bus Stand (Pasarama Kota) which last saw service on 31 October 2011.
While TRANSIT is happy to hear about infrastructure improvements, and we acknowledge that the Klang Bus Stand needed improvement, we also want to see improvements to public transport service for the long term.
Yes, move the Klang and Banting-bound buses to Pudu Sentral. Yes, leave them there and use the Pasar Seni / Jalan Sultan Mohammed bus stand for RapidKL and other stage buses.
But please, would you take the minor steps needed to make those stage bus services faster and more reliable?