Warisan pledges to dump BN’s ‘pricey’ BRT for minibus system

Just make buses reliable and convenient, says Junz Wong (standing, centre) while addressing Warisan grassroots leaders in Tanjung Aru.

KOTA KINABALU: Parti Warisan Sabah says it can offer a viable alternative to the Barisan Nasional (BN) government’s long-delayed bus rapid transit (BRT) plan that is likely to increase public transport fares in Kota Kinabalu.

Its vice-president, Junz Wong, said the party would improve the “haphazard” minibus system if it came to power in the state, instead of introducing the BRT as it would burden commuters with higher costs.

“I totally disagree with (Minister in the Prime Minister‘s Department) Abdul Rahman Dahlan’s suggestion that in order to have the BRT, Sabahans have to fork out higher fares,” he said.

“What should be done is to improve the existing network of minibus transport providers in Kota Kinabalu,” he said, accusing Rahman of not understanding the plight of ordinary Sabahans who use minibuses.

Wong, who is Likas state assemblyman, claimed that the state government had failed to develop a proper public transport system.

“In the state capital, there is not even a proper bus terminal. We see the town buses parked all over,” he said in a statement issued after a meeting with Warisan grassroots leaders in Tanjung Aru today.

Rahman had said last week that people must be willing to pay slightly more in using the BRT than what they were paying for currently.

“This is because they would be getting clean, efficient and very comfortable buses,” the Kota Belud MP was quoted as saying by The Star.

“If people want world-class public transportation, then they must be able to invest (in the project) together with the government.

“We cannot be paying the BRT drivers the same amount we are paying the minibus drivers right now.

“If people expect that kind of fare, then the idea of having BRT may not work because it is just too expensive,” he added.

Wong said Warisan leaders had gathered feedback from daily commuters and industry players on how a coordinated and effective minibus system could be best implemented in the shortest possible time.

He said the buses needed to be reliable, punctual and convenient for passengers.

“Local authorities must also provide support by ensuring roads are well maintained and there are adequate bus stops placed at suitable spots.”

Wong said Rahman seemed to be giving excuses for BN’s failure to implement the BRT which was announced in early 2016 to solve worsening traffic problems.

“The BN government is fond of making grandiose announcements on projects for Sabahans, which remain merely talk. This is done to try to hoodwink, time and again, the people of Sabah,” he claimed.