The Government withdrew its subsidy to RapidKL today.
For the politicians in Parliament this means nothing, but for those standing for hours in bus stops waiting, praying and dreaming of a bus before they get cardiac arrest, things are going to get worse.
Everyday my mom waits in sweltering weather with fellow Malaysians for a bus whenever it may come because just like most things in Malaysia, some smart ass in a nice suit with others along with him come up with plans, and these plans are just so brilliant a foreign consultancy would also endorse it.
However the truth is, buses are controlled by station masters, people who don’t have degrees in city planning or traffic management. They are just guys who have stepped up from being drivers and conductors, and they just try to make it through the day.
The buses are badly maintained, because they are badly old. Please don’t be fooled by the exterior- its body and seats. Everything in Malaysia is window dressed. Some of these buses struggle on minor slopes. The station masters make drivers do the drill, but with low pay, bad buses and no performance bonuses, the drivers and station masters just can’t be bothered.
And now, the expenditure amount is to be reduced, since there is no more subsidy. And like most of corporate Malaysia, they are going to compromise service, not executive pay-cheques.
Plus, the fares will go up. So we are going to end up with ickier service coupled with a larger transport bill.
It is not that I am supporting subsidies, but I am supporting a state run transportation system that is run with great commitment to efficiency and not launches nor PR events. And the planning has to involve the driver and the gang.
It is feudal thinking and planning, and a belief that throwing money will solve the problem that is hurting the situation.