The RM100 monthly travel pass will change lives in Greater Kuala Lumpur, but it will require effort from all of us.
The new policy, come January 1 2019, covers train and bus rides.
A person living in Cheras, closer to Kajang, with the closest MRT station Sungai Jernih and works in SS2 in Petaling Jaya, presently has to cough up RM10.60 per day (Feeder Bus – Sungai Jernih MRT – Phileo Damansara MRT -Feeder Bus), and with about 22 days of work per month, ends with a RM233.20 bill. This excludes after work travel, lunch trips, work trips and weekend excursions.
It can be upwards of to RM300 per month.
The new proposed policy, in fact, is the government effectively subsidising city workers and students RM200 a month on average. That’s a huge boon, if utilised.
Several things are disincentives. And they need mending.
There are more breakdowns these days. Both on the trains, and buses breaking down. There has to be redundancies and greater management of services to counter them.
Prasarana has to fix this, perhaps with a new CEO they’d spend more interest on Malaysian transportation woes.
The feeder buses are irregular. This is supported by the fact 64 out of the 67 feeder bus routes being loss-making. They bleed money because people don’t take them. People don’t take buses because they are irregular and not dependable. Is the circular nature of the problem evident?
It is a trust issue and this government’s agency has to roll up its sleeves and encourage ridership. Majlis the heck out of this situation, and meet the people. People like to be assured, so go out and assure them. Resident associations are the bridge to the people and greater ridership.
The travel pass will increase the migrant workers utilising the trains as much as the rapid KL buses they do now. It will be something Malaysians have to get used to. Swallow your xenophobia and save money in your pocket.
MRT Feeder, Rapid KL and Go KL buses will be even more attractive when the roads begin to empty of cars. It is about ratios. Every small reduction in private vehicular traffic during peak traffic will result in more space for public transportation vehicles, which always ferry more than private cars. Inching down the number of private cars will have a massive impact on peak hour traffic, accompanied by greater commute traffic which translates to higher productivity at the offices.
The final piece in the jigsaw would be late trains and buses, if there is high commute figures, the government must consider reduced services in the off hours. Shift and F&B workers would be over the moon if there are 3am buses and trains. It can be our panacea to over-reliance on foreign workers, but providing cost-efficient transportation to Malaysians around the clock.
But all of these, absolutely everything begins with getting people into the trains and buses. It is a huge mindset shift. The day when PPR flats are not stacked with cars, and people have more disposable income thanks to low commute fees and the end of hire purchase for private vehicles, along with toll payments and parking.
The effects of Mahathir’s bad dash for vehicle ownership can be reversed. The finance minister eluded to it, when he said we need to move away from our obsession with car ownership.
And more so, don’t get churlish, it saves the planet.