TRANSIT took note of the following interesting article, which describes Prasarana refusing to pay compensation to the residents of the Tong Weng Mansion in Brickfields, while agreeing to pay compensation to two other site owners in the area.
The compensation requests are in relation to the KL Monorail expansion project, which will extend the KL Monorail from the Tun Sambanthan station down to MidValley and to Old Klang Road on the other side of the Federal Highway.
Interestingly enough, all three compensation requests are in relation to properties that are illegally occupying government land – a situation that seems to occur more frequently than one might expect.
This article by fz.com is one of many with details about the new trains which will begin arrival in Malaysia in September 2014.
The important details:
*50 units of 6-car trains designed and built by CAR Zhuzhou (which also built the “Six Car Set” for KTM Komuter)
*30 of these trains will replace the trains currently used on the Ampang line … which are only entering their 20th year (generally train carriages are expected to last approximately 30 years … Although the measurement is really based on kilometers traveled rather than time in service)
*20 of the trains will be used on the Ampang line extension when it opens in 2016
*The trains will have open gangway allowing passengers to walk between all the cars (as compared to the 3 pairs of cars in the current trains) spreading out the passenger load
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 article which discusses the Open Day that Prasarana is holding to share information about the LRT Extension Programme Open Day which will inform the public about the Ampang & Kelana Jaya LRT extension plans.
KUALA LUMPUR: Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad (Prasarana) and Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia (UTHM) yesterday signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) in an effort to create professionals in the rail industry and improve the quality of Malaysia’s public transportation system.
Prasarana group managing director Datuk Shahril Mokhtar said that under the MoU, UTHM would introduce a new Masters in Railway Engineering course this year where qualified staff of Prasarana’s rail division will have preference in gaining entry to the university.
“This we believe will open a new era in pursuance of excellence in education and further uplift the standard of Malaysia’s railway industry specifically, and public transportation in general,” he told reporters after the signing here.
Shahril inked the MoU for Prasarana while UTHM was represented by its vice-chancellor, Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Noh Dalimin.
Elaborating, Shahril said the strategic collaboration with institutions of higher learning was part of Prasarana’s initiatives towards enhancing the quality of its staff, describing them as the company’s key assets in the realisation of its Go Forward Plan (GFP) targets.
“Today also marked a new beginning in Prasarana’s emphasis on development of human capital and staff resourcefulness as we continue rigorous efforts to pursue the agenda of our GFP, which has entered its second year,” he said.
Shahril said that through the programme, Prasarana aimed to inculcate values like innovative thinking, operational excellence and enhanced efficiency among its staff. — Bernama
As you can imagine, we at TRANSIT are always pleased to hear of initiatives to improve the skills & knowledge & capability of the Malaysian rail industry, towards improving railway engineering and creating a new generation of professional railway engineers.
But a public transport industry cannot be built by railway engineers and civil engineers alone. There is also a need for professional public transport planners, regulators, and experts in the organization and management of public transport services, public transport information relay, communications, asset management, and a thousand other jobs that make for an effective public transport system.
So while we are certainly pleased about the initiative to build up Malaysia’s rail industry, we also need to take steps to develop Malaysia’s public transport industry.
Perhaps it will be SPAD who takes the lead there. But mark what TRANSIT says – someone has to do this job because without this, we will never truly improve public transport in Malaysia.
TRANSIT took note of the following interesting news – the Malacca state government is stepping forward with plans to compensate 10 existing public transport operators in the state with RM7.7 million, with a plan to for state-owned operator Panorama to take over the operations from the private operators on February 1st of this year.
The takeover proposal appears to forestall the warnings from the Malacca Omnibus Operators Association that they would be forced to stop services on February 1st.
MALACCA: Malacca’s ailing omnibus operators will get RM7.7mil in compensation from the state.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam also announced Thursday that the state-owned agency, PMTC, would fully take over the stage bus operations from Feb 1 while the current dilapidated buses used by ten operators would be replaced in stages.
The memorandum of understanding between the state government and Malacca Omnibus operators was signed at Dewan Seri Negeri.
So, the state government is paying RM7.7 million to buy old buses from these bus operators, which they will then turn around and use on the existing public transport routes while the buses are replaced over time.
That basically sounds to us like the process by which Intrakota and later RapidKL were created – pay good public money to buy up near worthless private assets, buy new bus chassis at an inflated cost with a ‘too-short’ timeline, leading to:
contracts for Malaysian bus assemblers;
a need to purchase new buses in a few years;
public complaints about the loss of competition.
Hopefully, the Malacca government and SPAD will have learned from the mistakes made by RapidKL & Prasarana in the past. One wise step to take would be to take the purchase of new buses out of the hands of Panorama Melaka Cultural & Tourism (and the state government) and put the purchase in the hands of national infrastructure company, Prasarana.
Why? Because first of all, Prasarana knows what buses to buy, thanks to their 5 extra years experience in purchasing buses. Second, Prasarana is the national infrastructure company, with the right financial backing to get the buses at a great price. Third, it is best to keep the purchase of buses neutral and focused on the improvements, not potential opportunities.
TRANSIT also believes that the Malacca Government needs to develop a concise and effective public transport plan that builds on the major corridors that need to be served – namely the existing Malacca town buses, Malacca – Ayer Keroh route (including the proposed Malacca Tram), and the intercity services connecting Malacca town to Alor Gajah and Tampin (where it can link to KTM train services including possible future ETS.
Update: On request from Prasarana, TRANSIT has been asked to take down this post. We have chosen to take down the image instead, and keep the post in place.
The reason we have maintained the post is simple – we want the public to know that a new livery design has been developed and Prasarana has nearly decided on it – even if we have been asked not to show the design to the public.
We submit to Prasarana that before they decide on the livery, they should make potential designs public and ask the public for feedback. They could even have a design contest like the MyRT design contest – though that might be more for PR than anything else.
What is more important is that they should ask the public what they want from their new monorail trains (better seating, grab bars, in-train information systems, wheelchair seating area, wi-fi, etc) and try to ensure that some of these new features are in place.
Ideally, SCOMI should provide a mock-up of their SUTRA train, fitted to Prasarana’s requested specifications (based, of course, on feedback from the public) so that everyone can see what the new monorail trains will look like.
TRANSIT took note of more bad news in the public transport industry – another shutdown of bus services in Selangor.
Yes, you may not realize it but the “No Bus For You!” crisis that is affecting our public transport industry has already reached Selangor … and Perak, Negri Sembilan, Kedah, and Pahang. So this would not be the first time!
Earlier this year, Sabak Bernam and Kuala Selangor lost their bus service but no one really noticed … except perhaps the people at TRANSIT and some in the media (and they moved on pretty quickly, as they are apt to do).
But now, the most recent crisis that has been popping up all over the country, caused by CityLiner’s threats to shut down bus services in various states, is suddenly getting the attention of the public.
Update: The response from bus operators & government is mixed!
Yesterday TRANSIT learned of a proposal from Prasarana, the government-owned “National Infrastructure Company” to introduce a cooperative system between bus operators, where bus operators would share information, operate routes together under “code sharing” agreements, and implement “blue ocean strategy” to rationalize their operations.
We were immediately surprised and intrigued by the possibilities … and wary of the risks.
The public transport industry in Malaysia is in crisis. Part of the reason for this is because there is no holistic understanding within the government and among the public of what public transport is (a public utility), what it does (stimulates and ensures productivity and economic growth), and what it provides (mobility and access).
Malaysia has no National Public Transport Strategy or any form of cohesive public transport strategy except for “build infrastructure” and “subsidize or buy out when necessary.” And we should mention that to many Malaysians both of those “strategies” have the unfortunate subtext of “enrich cronies.”
What makes things worse is that there is no clear interest in improving public transport services or approaching (and appreciating) public transport as a public utility with economic & social benefits. The public does not seem to be aware and the state & local governments did not seem to care.
Until the crisis started, that is.
Now state governments are being forced to take notice and ensure that there are solutions to the problems in the industry. Unfortunately, they do not have the knowledge, experience or the tools to ensure these solutions will work.
SPAD has asked state governments to do whatever they can to resolve the problems in the short term. The Governments of Penang and Negri Sembilan have stepped in with subsidies. Prasarana’s proposal for cooperation might represent an alternative way of doing things – but the big question is, Will private operators want to work with a government-owned asset-owner-cum-operator that receives capital & operational subsidy from the federal government and appears to be actively competing with private operators on any number of routes?
And more importantly, will corporate collaboration work effectively and meet the needs of the public transport users?