PETALING JAYA residents can look forward to better public transport which would bring much relief to residents of this highly populated city.
To help increase the use of public transport to 35% or more, the Petaling Jaya City Council (MBPJ) introduced the 10-year Master Urban Transportation Plan in July last year.
Under the plan, five main transit bus lines and 117 feeder bus routes have been identified to help fill the missing links between residential areas and main transport hubs such as train and LRT stations.
“We had discussions with the Land Transport Public Commission (SPAD) on June 9 and they are very receptive to our plan.
“Once they approve it and give us the licence, the additional bus services will be implemented by the middle of next year,” said MBPJ councillor Lee Suet Sen.
Lee said the council would be working with developers in the area as well as public transport service providers such as Prasarana and MRT Corp to implement the plan.
In a study carried out by MBPJ, Petaling Jaya is one of the most densely populated cities in Malaysia with 7,000 people per sq km, and is comparable to countries such as Singapore.
Based on previous records, Singapore has 6,800 people per sq km and Hong Kong has 7,200 people per sq km.
In these two countries, the use of public transportation was over 90% for Hong Kong and 68% in Singapore.
However in Petaling Jaya, the use of public transport is less than 10%.
MBPJ is hoping that bigger developers will also step in to help them run feeder bus services for their neighbourhoods.
These will help connect residential houses to public transport hubs.
“I think it is possible as Tropicana City Mall, Paradigm Mall and 1Utama Shopping Centre have their own bus service,” said Lee.
Once the licence is approved by SPAD, there will be an open tender process carried out to see which public transport service provider can give the best price.
Unlike the PJ Free City Bus Service, these bus services will run like normal paid buses.
“The free bus service can only complement the public transport system. We cannot have free buses for all routes because we do not have the budget,” he said.
MBPJ has allocated RM2.9mil to help run the 10 free buses which travels on two different routes around the city.
These have marked an average of 8,000 passengers a day to date.
The free bus service will continue next year and has been included in MBPJ’s 2016 budget.
Lee added that MBPJ was the first to introduce the free bus service and the first to help SPAD plan routes for the buses in Petaling Jaya’s master plan.
“SPAD has to plan routes for the whole of Malaysia so instead of waiting for them to do it for Petaling Jaya, we are helping them,” he said.
In addition, the council is also looking into having special priority lanes for buses, so that they will always be punctual and reliable.
Meetings for this proposal were carried recently between MBPJ, the Public Works Department (JKR) and Lingkaran Trans Kota Holdings Bhd (Litrak).
Lee said all these plans were crucial and must be included in the 2016 budget because the new MRT routes would be operational next year.
To further help improve traffic conditions in the city, MBPJ is also setting up a Traffic Information System costing RM411,000; allocated under this year’s budget.
This new system is part of the master plan, which will help monitor traffic in the city and help MBPJ make future traffic decisions.
For example, if there is an event happening at Dataran Petaling Jaya which requires a few lanes to be closed, MBPJ can key in this information into the system to see how this lane closure will impact the surrounding traffic.
Lee said the system could also determine alternative roads or plans which can be taken to help ease traffic congestion in the area.
The system would also be able to estimate congestion and calculate the number of cars for a proposed development hence helping MBPJ determine if the project is too dense for the area.
“We will also use this to ensure developments will not severely impact traffic,” he said.
It would also be able to monitor the number of cars on the road during peak hours and non-peak hours.
“I think all this is coming in at a right and crucial time because public transportation is a key infrastructure,” said MBPJ councillor Cynthia Gabriel.
She said having services such as feeder buses were more important than a network of new highways because without them, residents without cars would not be able to get to the LRT and MRT.
“This might also be a solution to parking problems in the city, but our main focus for now is to mitigate traffic,” she said.
MBPJ’s traffic plans will be revealed on August 26, during a two-day workshop with residents and the Traffic Information System will be implemented in September.