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Pua slams SPAD for not riding the bus

 | February 23, 2011

The Land Public Transport Commission is taken to task for dismissing the effectiveness of bus service.

KUALA LUMPUR: The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has come under fire for dismissing buses as an effective means of public transport.

“Bus services form one of the two critical pillars in any successful public transport model and its contribution cannot be underestimated,” said DAP MP Tony Pua.

Pua then emphasised how an improved bus system would complement and maximise the utilisation of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT).

As examples, he cited Singapore, which had an average daily ridership of 1.95 million, a mere 63.2% of the ridership of buses at 3.09 million; and Hong Kong, which had an extensive bus service network.

“Despite the highly efficient MRT system, the island state has an extensive bus service network dominated by three bus companies serving the equivalent number of passengers or more daily.

“Hong Kong’s Kowloon Motor Bus Company, the largest bus company alone serves an average of 2.7 million passengers daily,” he said in a statement.

Pua said the intensification of bus services should precede the MRT mega-project for two reasons.

Not only would it provide immediate relief for traffic congestion, it would also be much cheaper, he added.

If each bus costs RM600,000, furnishing the Klang Valley with an additional 3,000 buses would only cost RM1.8 billion, which was a tiny fraction of the RM46 billion MRT price tag.

Pua urged SPAD to provide its Klang Valley bus services blueprint as an adjunct to the MRT blueprint to complete the public transport equation for feedback and evaluation by the local community.

“The risk is that Malaysians are being presented with a massive RM46 billion proposal which may fail to achieve its lofty goals of transforming our public transport landscape,” he said.

The MRT project’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report stated that a bus service would not replace the MRT as it would struggle to meet the desired passenger ferrying rate.

The report stated that the bus solution would require 90-passenger vehicles every 10 seconds to match the MRT’s 30,000 passengers per hour per direction.

According to Prime Minister Najib Tun Razak, the MRT was the largest infrastructure project in Malaysia, with a travel distance of 51km and 35 MRT stations, and would provide service to approximately 1.2 million people.

Construction is expected to commence in July and be completed in 2016.

The project is an economic entry point identified for the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley National Key Economic Area under the Economic Transformation Programme (ETP).


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