COMING into Kuala Lumpur’s city centre may be a costly soon. This will be the case if City Hall decides to implement a new scheme called Congestion Charging next year.
For now, it’s only an idea. City Hall is seriously looking into it as the authority has come up with a plan called Integrated Transport Demand Management that looks into short- and long-term plans to increase the efficiency of public transportation.
This will include policies covering the management of parking facilities as well as user-friendly pedestrian pathways.
“Seventy per cent of the 2.12 million cars entering the city from the Middle Ring Road II are single occupancy vehicles,” said Kuala Lumpur mayor Datuk Abdul Hakim Borhan.
”This is one of the major factors that contribute to traffic congestion during peak hours in the morning and afternoon,” he said in his speech at the launch of a workshop on Congestion Char-ging in Kuala Lumpur City Centre at the Renaissance Hotel in Kuala Lumpur on Monday.
He also said that the levy charge was not a new idea as it had already been implemented in London under the same banner.
“In Stockholm and Singapore it is known as ‘Road User Charging’ and ‘Electronic Road Pricing’ respectively.
“We have invited people from every walk of life who will be affected by the charge to discuss the matter at the workshop before implementing anything,” said Hakim.
He added that the implementation of Congestion Charging might reduce traffic congestion by an estimated 50% and in the first year alone a 15% decrease is expected.
The proposal will later be submitted to a Special Cabinet Committee on Public Transporta-tion led by Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.
Meanwhile, DAP MPs from the Federal Territory - Dr Tan Seng Giaw (Kepong), Tan Kok Wai (Cheras), Fong Kui Lun (Bukit Bintang), Teresa Kok (Seputeh) and Selangor DAP chairman Ean Yong Hian Wah issued a joint statement at the talk to object to the plan to implement the levy.
“Those who will be affected by this will be from Selangor as most of them travel into the city to work,” said Ean.
“We are already paying for the tolls before reaching the city and now we will have to pay more,” he said.
“If this plan is implemented KL will become a ghost town and the business community will be affected,” said Fong.
The workshop was attended by 250 participants comprising officers from government agencies and representatives from NGOs, housing area committees, public transport committees, business councils and other relevant committees.