Ways to Improve Public Transport in Malaysia

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10-steps to improve public transport for the whole Malaysia
With the recent decrease in the fuel subsidy, many people have complained that they would be willing to use public transportation if it were improved. They are calling loudly and clearly to the government to improve public transportation. We must look at other places and see what they have done to improve their public transport system. However, it must be clearly understood that there is a right way and a wrong way to improve public transportation in Malaysia. Belows are the suggestion to improve public transportation in Malaysia.

1) A Parliamentary Committee for Public Transportation must be created to oversee public transportation in Malaysia.

The existing Cabinet Committee does not have the confidence of the people of Malaysia (or, I imagine, Parliament itself). The presence of a Parliamentary Committee will improve confidence in public transportation. Planning and decision making will be improved through open planning and discussion. The Committee will help the MPs and the public to understand the proposals from the bus operators and the government, so the best plans are made.

2) A single National Authority for Public Transporation to create national standards, while Local and Regional Public Transportation Authorities will plan and implement strategies on the local level.

Public transport planning is invariably a local and/or regional service. It would not be possible for the proposed Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Negara (SPAN) to plan and oversee public transportation properly. Thus, each economic region of the country should have its own Local or Regional Public Transport Authority to own the bus routes and transport corridors and plan the future of public transportation.

3) Regulated Competition would be enhanced under the system provided.

The Public Transport Authority would own the buses and provide capital funding, while the operators would be required to compete for routes. This combination of regulation and competition would improve service levels and provide better, customer-focused services. Operators that could not meet the expectations of the Local Authority or the passengers would lose the routes to their competitors.

4) Proper funding for maintenance and expansion.

Since it started operating in 1995, the KTM Komuter service has been horribly neglected. The fleet size has decreased by 50% while passenger demand has actually tripled. Poor planning and oversight has left KTMB unprepared for the expanded passenger demands. An open Parliamentary Committee would be able to review the plans of the operators and proposals and make the necessary investments to improve public transportation.

5) Only a few operators, please

Competition is hurting public transportation in Malaysia. The only way that we can see real improvements is to reduce competition within the industry and focus on consolidation. The largest bus company, Konsortium Transnasional Berhad, is a good example of this consolidation. It offers express and intercity and urban bus services through its different branches and brands. Konsortium Bas Ekspres on the other hand, shows you what happens when there is consolidation without proper regulation. Konsortium Bas Ekspres has become notorious for bus crashes, underpaid and reckless drivers, and poor maintenance. The government should encourage existing operators to form properly regulated conglomerates like KTB. Under the proposed system of regulated competition, the Local Authority can even (with proper justification) invite foreign transport companies like First and Veolia and ComfortDelGro to compete for bus routes tendered in their areas.

6) Proper information

Malaysians are, ironically, being restricted by companies that are supposed to provide them mobility. Bus operators and even government operators like RapidKL, KL Monorail, and KTMB are doing everything in their power to keep...
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