Tag Archives: financing public transport

‘Solutions’ to public transport problems focusing on the bus industry, not public transport users

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.

The nation-wide collapse of bus services are continuing, despite the recent announcement that the Malaysian Government has approved an RM400mn fund for public transport operators. Applications for this fund began earlier this week and SPAD intends to release the first Rm100mn as soon as possible.

TRANSIT notes that the government is stepping in with the financial aid to bus operators. We also note that Prasarana-RapidKL have talked about improving cooperation (actually, we should say “starting” cooperation) with private bus operators to reduce wasteful competition on different routes. At the same time, taxi drivers and other bus companies are benefiting from the lack of competition in the Klang area since CityLiner shut down bus services, affecting thousands of public transport users.

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.

Read about TRANSIT’s take on the issues and a proposed action plan after the jump! Continue reading ‘Solutions’ to public transport problems focusing on the bus industry, not public transport users


KTM Update: Another restructuring for KTMB promises to accomplish what earlier restructuring(s) did not

TRANSIT took note of this article which describes plans for another corporate restructuring at KTMB.

It is sad that the Malayan Railway has still not managed to figure out whether it is supposed to be a government agency, corporate entity, or something in between.

TRANSIT remembers earlier corporate restructurings that have happened for KTMB. Well, at least they were started but then they got stalled either because of a lack of government support, an unclear vision, or resistance from workers (among other reasons).

The corporatization of KTM began nearly 2 decades ago but it was never finished. A lack of government funding and deferred maintenance since the corporatization has helped bring KTMB to its knees.

Recently one President of KTMB started an RM1 campaign, promising to take KTMB back to profitability. That campaign died aborning, when the president was quickly replaced (it might have had something to do with his “hybrid” trains).

The most recent KTMB President has talked about restructuring KTMB into a holding company, with various railway service subsidiaries (freight, Komuter, ETS, power systems, maintenance, terminal management, etc). and selling track warrants to other companies interested in providing railway services. He believes that this model will be successful because it has worked in Europe – despite the fact that it has not worked in many European countries and that Malaysia lacks the density that makes railway travel profitable.

We wonder what this latest restructuring will bring for KTMB but we wish to share one important point – KTMB needs to have a clear vision of the kind of transport service provider that it needs to be over the next 10-20 years.

Without that clear vision, this latest restructuring will be as effective as the last ones.

Railway revamp (Star Biz)

Thursday October 27, 2011

PETALING JAYA: KTM Bhd (KTMB) will undergo a two-year corporate restructuring programme to turn around the ailing national rail operator and a consultant will be hired to manage this, according to the Treasury, in its reply to the Auditor-General’s (A-G) report.

The A-G’s report had stated that KTMB posted a loss of RM92.6mil in 2009 compared with RM84.6mil loss in the previous year. Continue reading KTM Update: Another restructuring for KTMB promises to accomplish what earlier restructuring(s) did not

New KTM Komuter trains arrive in Port Klang (Update #2)

  • photos of the 6 Car Set trains on KTMB’s Facebook here http://on.fb.me/nZj99G !
  • Updated with an article from Railway Gazette!

TRANSIT took note of this article, announcing that the first of the new 6-carriage Komuter trains has arrived in Malaysia.

One of the cab-cars of the new KTM Komuter 6-carriage set (SCS). Image courtesy of @VehicleExaminer and posted to ktmrailwayfan.com

Click here for a larger view of the image above.

This train is the first of 6 trains which will arrive over the remainder of this year, and will likely be put into service in late December 2011 or early 2012.

TRANSIT was invited to the arrival ceremony but were unable to attend due to scheduling conflicts. However, we thank KTMB for the invitation.

KTM gets first batch of electric train coaches from China (The Star)
23 September 2011

PORT KLANG: Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTM) has received the first batch of six electric train coaches from the Transport Ministry.

First batch: Kong (in tie) inspecting one of the electric train coaches in Port Klang Thursday. Image courtesy of The Star.

Its minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said the Six-Car-Set (SCS) manufactured by China’s Zhu Zhou Electric Locomotives Co Ltd were shipped from Shanghai Port on Sept 13 and reached Westport at 2am yesterday. Continue reading New KTM Komuter trains arrive in Port Klang (Update #2)

KTM Update: Improved facilities at Komuter stations will help deal with long waits.

TRANSIT took note of this interesting article in which KTMB has announced plans to improve the facilities at KTM Komuter stations, to help commuters deal with the unacceptable wait times that are plaguing the system.

Now, this is something that TRANSIT had been talking about for some time – and ironically, it took a few years to get the plans in place. And probably even more ironic is that by the time everything is done and taken care of, there will be another 20-30 Komuter trains operating – so the facilities may end up going unused.

But in the meantime – let’s learn more about the plans.

KTMB to add new features for wait time and security (The Star)
19 September

KUALA LUMPUR: Plans are in the pipeline for Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) to upgrade its train stations with more facilities to enhance convenience for passengers.

KTMB will also be implementing features to improve commuters’ security in its stations.

KTMB corporate communications senior manager Mohd Fazil Ismail said KTMB would introduce features such as WiFi, fans, LCD screens and mobile phone chargers that would keep commuters occupied during train arrival intervals. Continue reading KTM Update: Improved facilities at Komuter stations will help deal with long waits.

KTMB Update: New Komuter trains to be called “MyKomuter”

TRANSIT took note that KTMB has set up a display at KL Sentral station showcasing the design of the new KTM Komuter train sets, the first of which will arrive on September 25 of this year. The new trains will be branded as “MyKomuter” which is … ok, we won’t comment. Let’s just say that the name is not a surprise (and neither are the 1Malaysia logos on the train).

Now, TRANSIT has already shared some photos of the new Komuter trains – so we will only provide a link to the most recent photos and share a few important ones with you in our post.

A picture showing the seating layout for the new Komuter trains. Note the end carriages have only side facing seats, while the interior carriages have a mixture. Image courtesy of @TWK90

Click here for a larger version of the image above.

For one thing, it seems that there may be some confusion over the layout of the seats in the trains. So for the record:

  • The 2 “end” carriages do not have front/back facing seats – they only have side-facing seats
  • The 4 “inside” carriages have a mix of front/back facing and side-facing seats.

Also worth mentioning about the train are the following details: Continue reading KTMB Update: New Komuter trains to be called “MyKomuter”

MRT Update: MyRapidTransit launching & public viewing on 8 July 2011 at KL Convention Centre (Update#1)

TRANSIT took note of the fact that the Klang Valley MRT (now referred to as MyRapidTransit) was launched by the Prime Minister at KL Convention Centre on 8 July 2011.

The launching, which took place in the morning and included a ground-breaking ceremony at the Rubber Research Institute and Jalan Cochrane sites, as well as the first singing of the MRT song by Jaclyn Victor and Badri.

The invitation-only event was telecast on RTM1 from 9:30-11am.

You can watch live streaming video of RTM1 here.

Media Invitation to the Launching of the MRT on 8 July 2011.

Click here for a larger version of the image above.

Following this launching, the public is invited to learn more about the MRT from 12:00-7:00pm at KL Convention Centre.

Public exhibition on the MRT at KL Convention Centre, Friday, 8 July (12-7pm)

Click here to see a larger version of the image above. Continue reading MRT Update: MyRapidTransit launching & public viewing on 8 July 2011 at KL Convention Centre (Update#1)

Putrajaya overrules Prasarana for a third time. (Update #2)

  • Update: At least one wakil rakyat has chosen to speak up so we decided to change the title of our post. Guess who it is? No point, as you already know that it is Tony Pua (since no other wakil rakyat really appear to follow these finance issues, let alone speak up)!
  • Update: According to this article, the contract has actually been awarded to Colas, instead of the Bombardier-Hartasuma-SNC Lavalin consortium. However, the issues of transparency still stand. See the updated post below!

‘He that pays the piper calls (chooses) the tune’

That phrase is a simple explanation of who has authority in life … it’s often those with the money. TRANSIT takes note that the Finance Ministry (the one “paying the piper”) has ‘called the tune’ for a third time, (overruling a tender-evaluation decision made by Prasarana and awarding contracts to ‘unsuccessful’ companies).

The first time this was done was the selection of the ‘Independent’ Check Engineer for the MRT project. The second time was when the government overruled Prasarana’s pre-qualifications criteria (described as “biased” by Malay-rights group Perkasa).

Now the government has overruled Prasarana’s decision on the Kelana Jaya LRT extension, and [TRANSIT: we should have added “apparently” here] awarded the contract to a consortium of Bombardier, Hartasuma and SNC Lavalin – a decision that will increase the cost of the LRT extension, put an additional burden on Malaysian taxpayers for generations to come, and allow foreign companies and their local partners to profit handily on the backs of the Malaysian public.

Putrajaya overrules Prasarana, takes pricier LRT extension deal (Malaysian Insider, 17 June 2011)
By Jahabar Sadiq

A source said Hartasuma-Bombardier’s bid of RM890 million is almost 50 per cent higher than that of the lowest bid — frohsz de pic.

KUALA LUMPUR June 17 — A Finance Ministry committee has ignored the city’s light rail transit LRT operator’s recommendation for the Kelana Jaya line extension project by awarding it to a company whose project price of RM890 million is almost 50 per cent higher than that of the lowest bid. Continue reading Putrajaya overrules Prasarana for a third time. (Update #2)

MRT Update: Prasarana eases conditions for pre-qualification for MRT tender, promises stringent selection process

TRANSIT took note of an announcement from Prasarana that they had eased some of the conditions for pre-qualification for tenders for the MRT project – after being accused of deliberately sidelining Bumiputera contractors.

Prasarana at the time defended themselves, saying that the stringent conditions were meant to ensure that only “genuine, qualified and competent contractors” would be selected.

Saying that, we continue to wonder about the selection of the Independent Checking Engineer – a company rejected by Prasarana apparently chosen after Prasarana was overruled by the government.

At the time Shahril Mokhtar, Group Managing Director, was quoted as saying that it was the government’s money, therefore they had the final say.

No. It is our money. We pay the costs. And if the MRT is not planned, financed built and operated properly, it will be our loss. We, the rakyat, have the final say.

Prasarana eases tender conditions (The Malaysian Insider)
By Yow Hong Chieh
May 19, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, May 19 — Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd appears to have caved in to pressure from Malay rights groups today when it revised pre-qualification criteria for several construction packages for the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (KVMRT).

The project owner said contractors who wish to tender for elevated civil works, stations and depots work construction packages will be allowed to form joint ventures (JV) or consortiums among local companies starting from tomorrow.

“Prasarana has always been sensitive to all constructive views for our projects and the stand is reflected again in this decision, which was made purely based on the need to get more contractors to participate and the need to make the bidding for the KVMRT project more competitive,” the company said in a statement today. Continue reading MRT Update: Prasarana eases conditions for pre-qualification for MRT tender, promises stringent selection process

PMBOA: No bus for you! (Update #2)

  • Update: Sabak Barnam loses its bus link to Kuala Selangor!
  • Update: Commuters and Consumer NGOs comment on the possible shutdown of bus services!

TRANSIT took note of this interesting series of articles detailing how bus services in Peninsular Malaysia have declined (especially in rural and suburban areas) due to the rising cost of fuel, parts and labour, combined with reduced demand.

Long wait: Ramlah Md Ali, 60, and her grandson Mohd Aidil Zamri, three, waiting for a bus to Masjid Tanah in Alor Gajah, some 15km away from their home at Kampung Permatang in Kuala Sungai Baru, Malacca. After 30 minutes, there was still no sign of a bus. — A. MALEX YAHAYA / The Star

Continue reading PMBOA: No bus for you! (Update #2)

Updates #82

Updates #82

1. An Electric Trike In The Trunk Makes For The Ultimate Hybrid Eco-Car(Fastcompany.com, 22 April 2011) – The Geely McCar concept (electric or electric hybrid) includes a built-in electrically powered trike (3 wheel scooter) that fits into the space between the driver & passenger seats.

A Geely McCar hybrid with its electrically powered trike. Image courtesy of fastcompany.com

[TRANSIT: Now this is an interesting concept – and there would certainly be a market for the “real” version of the vehicle here in Malaysia. More info here. Google search on Geely McCar here.]

2. Article: Prasarana’s gearing to rise to 4-5 times when remaining LRT sukuk issued (The Edge, 23 April 2011) – More information on Prasarana bond rating & sale of additional bonds for the LRT extension

3. Article: Boost on the way for Kuantan bus service (The Star, 22 April 2011) – the Pahang Gov’t is in talks with a consortium to improve the bus service in Kuantan.

[TRANSIT: Hopefully this will not be a repeat of RapidTerengganu or Perak Transit – nice ideas from a well-meaning government that end up going nowhere.]

4. Article: BEST passengers increase six folds, more pick-up points mulled (The Star, 22 April 2011) – demand for the Penang Bridge Express Shuttle Transit service is increasing.

5. Letter: Ferries and terminals need makeover (26 April 2011) – Sohan Singh of Tg. Tokong comments on the appearance of the ferry terminals at Weld Quay, Penang.

6. Article: Cabbies get new uniforms (The Star, 25 April 2011) – Seberang Prai Municipal Councillor Teoh Seang Hooi used his April allowance to purchase uniforms for 17 taxi drivers in Nibong Tebal (at a cost of RM65 each).

7. Article: Fast Exit (NST Streets, 25 April 2011) – The direct link from KL Sentral to Lebuhraya Mahameru is now complete and open to drivers – and hopefully to buses. The article also has some information on plans for a contra-flow lane for buses & taxis on Jalan Tun Sambanthan in Brickfields.

8. Article: KTM run attracts 760 (NST Streets, 25 April 2011) – KTM’s Komuter Run 2011 attracted 760 runners.