1. Article: Close shave for six schoolgirls (NST, 18 June 2011) – Six secondary school students in Georgetown had a close shave yesterday after the school bus they were in overturned in Jalan Mount Erskine.
[TRANSIT: So wait, now you like electric motorcycles?]
3. Article: Taiwan high speed rail ‘sinking’ (APF, 14 June 2011) – Along a stretch of rail in central Taiwan, the soil has subsided due to excessive draining of ground waters, and the limit of what is considered safe is approaching, said Lee Hong-yuan, head of the Public Construction Commission.
4. Article: Reining in the trains (The Star, 18 June 2011) – Chan How Ban’s column on China focuses on High Speed Rail, including government plans to reduce service speeds on the Beijing-Shanghai high speed rail from 350km/h to 300 km/h to reduce operational costs. There will also be a service operating at 250km/h to show respect for those who want a slower pace.
[TRANSIT: If 250km/h is showing respect for those who want a slower pace, then KTMB is probably one of the most respectful companies in the railway industry.]
9. Artikel: Bas U69 Selalu Lewat (Harian Metro, hb. 14 Jun 2011) – Mohamed Hazlan dari Prasarana / RapidKL membalas surat tentang perkhidmatan bas RapidKL.
10. Article: Cameron Highlands bus crash file with A-G (NST, 14 June 2011 – The report on the Cameron Highlands bus crash has been completed and shared with the Cabinet and is now with the Attorney-General’s Office. However, there is currently no plan to lay charges.
TRANSIT took note of this very interesting commentary from Associate Professor Sabariah Jemali from the Malaysian Institute for Transport at Universiti Teknologi Mara (Shah Alam).
Prof. Sabariah writes of the overwhelming attention given to the MRT project and comments that the attention given may reflect the boiling over of all of the frustrations of public transport users (and many drivers as well) over the disorganized, poorly planned, poorly integrated private and public transport systems that they have to deal with every day.
We agree. Oh yes, we certainly agree – and we wonder if some of that frustration is also being expressed because talk of the MRT project as the ‘grand solution’ to our public transport woes just reminds the public of similar talk in the past – about RapidKL, about the LRT, about the Komuter system, about IntraKota…
APRIL 23 — The Klang Valley MRT project has received so much media attention over the past six weeks that the whole project is beginning to seem bigger than what it already is. Never before has so much anger, bitterness and frustration been poured over an infrastructure project. It would appear that all the bad experiences associated with packed trains, stalled buses and walks in the scorching heat have rained on the proposed MRT line running from Sungai Buloh to Kajang in one fiery storm.Continue reading What is the ‘rail’ truth anyways?→
Update: SPAD CEO Mohd Nor Kamal has responded to the announcement by saying that SPAD has not seen any proposal yet!
TRANSIT took note of a very interesting announcement from down south, where the Chief Executive of the Iskandar Regional Development Authority appeared to announce a 500km MRT project for the region.
Now before any jaws drop down to the floor, stop and think for a minute. MRT is a term that means “mass-rapid transit” meaning, a “rapid transit” service (or combination of “rapid transit” services) that moves a large number (a “mass”) of people.
In other words, in this case “MRT network” could actually mean “Mass(ive) Rapid Transit network” and still be a semi-appropriate use of the term.
KUALA LUMPUR: A plan to build a 500km mass rapid transit (MRT) system has been proposed to improve the connectivity within Iskandar Malaysia, according to Iskandar Regional Development Authority (IRDA) chief executive Ismail Ibrahim.
TRANSIT took note of this article today which states that the first contract for the Klang Valley MRT project (for the Independent Check Engineer) has been approved by the Finance Ministry, overruling an earlier rejection by Prasarana.
KUALA LUMPUR, April 14 — The owners of the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) will award their first major contract today for an independent check engineer (ICE) chosen by the government and who will be paid two per cent of the undetermined project cost, which is reportedly above market rates.
The Malaysian Insider understands that the consortium of HSS Integrated Sdn Bhd, Hong Kong’s MTR Corp Ltd and Canadian SNC-Lavalin is likely to land the contract despite being rejected by Syarikat Prasarana Berhad (SPNB) earlier for not putting a price to its brief — which usually costs up to 0.8 per cent of the total project. Continue reading MRT Update: First contract running into controversy?→
4. Article: Main complaint: Express buses (Malay Mail, 29 March 2011) – Over 80% of the 3362 complaints received by SPAD since January relate to express buses. In a linked article, the President of the Pan-Malaysian Bus Operators’ Association (PMBOA) says that bus operators should be required by the government to post driver information inside the bus.
[TRANSIT: Sigh, Ashfar you are the president of the Association. Set an example by getting the big companies to do so. Then, tell the public to only use ‘reputable’ bus companies that inform the public. You’re a businessman. Why do you always want to wait for a government decree to take positive action???]
5. Letter: Sort out driver issue and all will fall in place (The Star, 31 March 2011) – Zamri Mahmud writes that the complaints about express bus drivers (described above) are likely because of their behaviour & resolution will come through increased enforcement & better training (funded & organized through the LPTC).
[TRANSIT: Yes…and no. There are more issues than simply ‘attitude’ and those issues have been well-documented. We do agree that there is a need for public transport-focused training for operators & drivers.]
7. Article: Public bus services in Manjung to be upgraded (The Star, 31 March 2011) – THE Perak government will spend RM4.32mil over the next five years (RM72,000 monthly) to revive public bus services in the Manjung district. New services (managed by a private company) are expected to begin next month.
8. Article: Residents express fear over LRT routes (The Star, 31 March 2011) – Residents of Putra Heights and Taman Subang Alam, have continued to express their concerns over the proposed LRT extension route near their areas. The issue was also mentioned in the Selangor Times.
Updated with a new image including the 6-carriage KTM Komuter trains!
Updated with a new image showing LRT & MRT trains from Malaysia only!
TRANSIT has taken note of various comments & reports showcasing the advantages of the MRT over the LRT – as well as recent articles highlighting surveys by the Go-MRT group showing 93/95% support (depending on which article you read) for the MRT project.
When we see anecdotal comments such as these, we often wonder if the people who comment are really taking the time to understand the issue or simply responding to ‘themed’ questions in those surveys that can direct people towards certain answers (and therefore, direct the survey to certain results).
In other words, perhaps these surveys are ‘loaded’ because people do not really understand what the actual differences are.
This is the most dangerous sort of situation, where the public give their nearly-unconditional approval to projects (the more ‘mega’ the better) based on the assumption that the ‘investment’ is an improvement on what already exists.
Sometimes the differences are a lot smaller than people would think.
A few weeks ago, TRANSIT asked our favourite illustrator @Bukhrin (who has done some wonderful Klang Valley route maps for us) to help the public compare the MRT to the existing LRT system. @Bukhrin came up with this image shown below, which does a wonderful job of comparing the lengths of the six L and M “RT” trains that have operated or are proposed for the Klang Valley:
Klang Valley MRT 4-carriage (proposed for “MRT” lines);
ADtranz 3-carriage articulated EMU train (operating on Ampang Line);
ADtranz 2-carriage articulated EMU train (operated on Ampang Line)
Bombardier ART Mark II 4-carriage set (operating on Kelana Jaya line);
Bombardier ART Mark II 2+2 carriage set (tested on Kelana Jaya Line);
Bombardier ART Mark II 2-carriage (operating on Kelana Jaya Line).
Click here for a larger version of the image above.
Imagine, if you will, a conversation that goes something like this:
SPAD: The MRT is part of a 20-year public transport master plan. TRANSIT: May we see the plan? SPAD: No you cannot see the plan TRANSIT: Sorry, is that ‘cannot’ or ‘may not’? SPAD: Um…cannot. TRANSIT: Why not? SPAD: The plan will not be ready until September. TRANSIT: Oh, so that’s what you meant by cannot. You don’t have a plan yet.
Of course this is not a real conversation – it’s more of a bad joke describing something that never happened. But if you think about it, SPAD is having this imaginary conversation with the public every time they tell us that they have a plan for public transport.
It isn’t that the public does not believe that SPAD has a plan or is developing a plan. It’s just that there is no logic in pushing the MRT project to be launched in July 2011 when the plan will not be ready until September 2011.
KUALA LUMPUR: The Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT project is only the beginning of improved public transport services for the future, says Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar.
“The project is part of a 20-year master plan to raise the standard of public transport service in stages.
“The plan is scheduled to be ready in September,” he said during his visit to Balai Berita here with a SPAD delegation yesterday.