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Thursday, April 1, 2010

Be practical and logical to improve public transport

BEING an avid public transport user here and in my travels, I find Moaz Yusof Ahmad’s letter “States’ role in public transport” (Sunday Star, March 21) enlightening.

It would seem incredible that the authorities are flummoxed over legislation governing multi-model public transport, when such systems have been in operation elsewhere for decades.

Hampering progress on the grounds of tangled legal issues is no excuse for the times we live in. All legislation is man-made and can be changed.

Admittedly, public transport is a complex activity with far-reaching ramifications. When changes are made, there is a need to take a practical and logical approach with common sense.

There are numerous instances in the current system, particularly in Kuala Lumpur, that defies sensible expectations.

The fare structure for Rapid buses, for instance, was designed to relieve passengers the burden of carrying coins and enable the driver to move off soon after picking up passengers by having fares in round numbers.

The last revision has undone this sensible concept by reintroducing “stage fares”, resulting not only in a colossal fare increase but burdening passengers as they have to be prepared with coins as drivers are not required to return the difference.

Then there’s the anomaly where “Rapid” operates the LRT (former Putra Line) but the concession passes for Rapid buses are not valid for use on the Rapid LRT system.

Similarly, the ERL to KLIA is available on a concession for senior citizens but their travel is restricted to the ERL Transit (non-express service).

When senior citizens arrive at KLIA on the Transit Service, they end up at a different platform, devoid of any luggage trolleys and have to struggle with their luggage.

The Sentral Transport Hub is a hive of activity seven days a week. However, access to the terminal from the Brickfields side is a tortuous walk to a bottle-necked single lane lift to the upper levels and a limited capacity, poorly maintained lift.

When the escalator fails, it is a harrowing experience for the elderly and children.

For those who come off the KLIA buses with heavy luggage, the experience can be especially bad.

Kuala Lumpur.

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