Public transport in Klang Valley

Nick Tan

Public transport should not be cheap and inferior in quality, which reinforces the perception that it is only for the poor. – The Malaysian Insight file pic, January 22, 2024.

THE National Energy Policy aims to increase urban public transport usage to 50%.

Transport subsidies have been reduced in the last decade and will continue to be reduced, with more targeted assistance for fuel.

Although the PADU system, a centralised database for implementing targeted subsidies, has faced setbacks, such as reliance on citizens to update key information, greater attention is needed on the pull factors, as the development of public transport is time-consuming.

In addition to planning, construction, and procurement, the development of public transport will have a longer time horizon, constrained by financial buffers.

However, public transport projects should not compromise on quality, affordability, and dignity.

Public transport policy

Public transport policy needs to be designed from a user perspective. For example, when citizens want to switch from a car to public transport, they experience considerable inconvenience.

Citizens must research routes, download various apps for different bus operators to track buses with real-time updates, and purchase and top up a Touch ’n Go card.

The development of public transport is value-driven. The poor shouldn’t miss out on economic opportunities or be denied the right to travel due to an inability to afford a car and limited geographical mobility.

Public transport is an excellent place to cultivate social inclusion.

The middle class and the wealthy are encouraged to use public transport to change the perception that it is only for the poor.

Public transport should not be cheap and inferior in quality, which reinforces the perception that it is only for the poor.

Cars will not be completely replaced. People will continue to buy a car because it is more affordable than a house in terms of credit commitment.

However, the use of public transport can reduce the cost of living and can be further converted into savings, especially for young adults, or consumption.

For working adults, a monthly travel pass and Park N Ride offer significant savings on monthly parking costs in the central business district.

However, there is still room for improvement in terms of connectivity to workplaces (e.g. central business district, office towers, technology park, industrial zone).

Integrated public transport mobile app

Taking Klang Valley as an example, there are various apps such as Pulse, SITS, PJ City Bus, GoKL, and KTMB. No single app can coordinate them all. The bus stop QR code indicates Google Map bus tracking, but some information is incomplete.

There is a lack of journey planners in the bus apps, such as those found in Waze, which can optimise public transport routes. Google Maps has this feature, but there is a need to improve route accuracy.

The need to register at the counter to use bus services for Malaysians, such as GoKL, further discourages people from using the bus service. There is also a need to install additional apps to board Selangor Bus.

A mobile app for all bus services should have been launched by the end of 2023, but this has been delayed.

It is hoped that the apps will also include rail information and real-time tracking, similar to Pulse, the journey planner that suggests which route (either a combination of rail and bus, rail or bus only) to take from one point to another, making it easier for everyone to switch to public transport.

The apps should include an e-KYC feature where all users create a profile and their identity can be verified.

This feature will also allow Malaysians to automatically sign up for any bus service instead of going to a counter to register.

The apps should also allow the QR code to be scanned on board, rather than having to install separate apps for boarding.

If the local government tries to subsidise fares for Malaysians while charging non-Malaysians, it could lead to fraud where Malaysians create an account but rent it out to non-Malaysians to enjoy subsidised fares.

Selangor Bus and GoKL bus drivers will require all passengers to show their ID or passport and the results of the code scan upon boarding.

Malaysians are required to show their NRIC and scan results when boarding Selangor Bus and GoKL, while foreigners are required to show their passport and scan results with payment details to prevent fraud.

In terms of payment, it is currently very convenient as TNG cards can even be reloaded through the TNG apps.

However, if the apps can include a payment function, using the QR code function on board rail and bus services would be a cost-effective feature compared to installing a debit and credit card payment system at every bus and train station. – January 22, 2024.

* Nick Tan Beng Teong graduated with Bachelor of Economics at University of Malaya. A member of Agora Society, Tan believes in policy reforms in order to build a better nation.

* This is the opinion of the writer or publication and does not necessarily represent the views of The Malaysian Insight. Article may be edited for brevity and clarity.

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