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Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Improve system or abolish bus lanes

I REFER to the letter “Bus lanes only worsen congestion” (The Star, March 10) and urge DBKL to do an urgent review of the bus lane system in Kuala Lumpur, in particular the stretch along Jalan Syed Putra, which has been reduced to two lanes on both sides of the highway as a result of the bus lanes. I have raised this matter at various forums and meetings over the years but nothing has been done.

The bus lanes are operational six days a week from 6am until 8am. Bus lanes should operate only at peak hours and only if there is an efficient bus system which, sad to say, we still do not have.

It is painful to see traffic congested on two lanes of the highway while the bus lane is empty or used by buses that run sporadically. Bus lanes are not for show and we must make sure there are buses using them regularly. If not, please abolish these bus lanes. And thus, I am very alarmed that there are plans to increase bus lanes in Kuala Lumpur.

Bus lanes may also operate on a contra-flow basis, meaning that in the morning, only bus lanes towards the city should be operational while in the evening, bus lanes leaving the city should be operational. This is only logical considering that people commute into the city in the mornings and commute out in the evenings.

The present system, which effectively reduces the six-lane expressway to a four-lane crawl and in place since 1997 without any review or adjustment truly defies logic.

Of course, this is compounded by motorists sometimes enduring the fiasco of being waved on by traffic policemen to use the bus lanes to ease congestion at one end while at the other end, DBKL enforcement officers gleefully issue summonses to these poor entrapped motorists. I have myself had the experience of being booked for being in the bus lane although I was stuck there because the traffic congestion that day made it impossible for me to move out.

The bus stop along Jalan Syed Putra that serves MidValley also needs to be relocated to a proper place. It has been the cause of traffic congestion along that stretch all these years as there is no lay-by for the buses to stop. This is worsened by impatient bus drivers who cannot wait their turn to move but insist on overtaking by using the regular lanes.

RICHARD Y.W. YEOH,

Petaling Jaya.

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