Ministry takes measures to address traffic congestion and poverty

AN RM31mil facelift, with government funding of RM25mil, for the 30-year-old Puduraya bus terminal in Kuala Lumpur will provide travellers and visitors a more conducive and comfortable environment.

The bus terminal, which is infamous for congestion, pollution and crime, will soon be given a new image to transform it into a modern first-class facility.

The long- and short-term plans include relocating the Urban Development Authority (UDA) office and the bus companies operating at the terminal to Level 4, giving the whole building a new coat of paint, upgrading the toilets and the waiting areas on the mezzanine floor, upgrading the air-cooling system in both the basement area and the food court on Level 4, including providing better ventilation, and brighter lighting in the waiting areas.

“The waiting area on the mezzanine floor is an addition and would complement the existing waiting area on the ground floor,” said Federal Territories Ministry secretary-general Datuk Ahmad Phesal Talib.

Ahmad Phesal, who is also the new Labuan Corporation chairman, said the ministry would also work closely with the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB) and the Road Transport Department (RTD) to overcome the problem of touts operating at the bus terminal by introducing a taxi coupon system.

The building of a sheltered pedestrian walkway from the Plaza Rakyat Star LRT station to the Puduraya bus terminal is an option considered under the short-term plan to beautify the surrounding area and to reduce jaywalking on the streets.

The surrounding link roads like Jalan Robertson and Jalan Pudu will be further upgraded with an additional lane each to increase passenger mobility and curb congestion.

UDA Holdings, which will also be taking over the management of the Puduraya Hotel, will allow taxis on Level 1, 2 and 3 about 15 minutes to drop and pick up passengers at the terminal.

Ahmad Phesal said to overcome congestion in the areas surrounding the bus terminal, a special holding area along Jalan Hang Jebat would be provided for buses before they were allowed to drive up to the Puduraya bus terminal to pick up passengers.

“We are constructing a bus holding area at Lot 754 in Jalan Galloway, off Jalan Pudu,” he said.

He said facilities like bus-holding areas were being provided as the Puduraya area had been identified as a major source of the massive daily traffic congestion, due to haphazard parking by the bus operators.

Ahmad Phesal also announced that the ceiling price for the government’s People’s Housing Programme (PPR) and Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) public housing units would be RM35,000.

He said there were a total of 44,146 units for sale, of which 29,562 were PPR houses in 20 areas and 14,584 were DBKL PPR units in 17 areas.

“For PPR houses in the 20 areas, a rebate would be extended to those households earning a combined wage of less than RM2,500. The buyers would also enjoy other benefits.

“The DBKL units will be sold at between RM21,500 and RM35,000 a unit, depending on the number of rooms and size,” he said.

This is a special gift to the poorer community in line with the 1Malaysia tagline, “People First, Performance Now”, announced by Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak on July 11 to mark his first 100 days as Prime Minister.

Ahmad Phesal said priority would be given to those who had been renting these houses for a long time, and whose household income did not exceed RM2,500 a month.

Buyers would also enjoy a rebate of up to RM2,500 for each PPR unit, with the amount varying according to the size of the unit and the number of rooms it had, he said.

Those who were not buying any of the PPR units would not be forced to shift out.

“They can continue staying in the units until such time when they can afford to buy them,” Ahmad Phesal said.

He also pointed out that the Putrajaya Park and Ride (P&R) system would be enhanced and campaigns to create public awareness of the facility would be held.

“We want to encourage more government servants to use the Nadi Putra bus services to overcome the parking problems in the precincts where government offices are located,” Ahmad Phesal said, noting that the limited parking bays resulted in roadside and double-parking.

Meanwhile, the Perbadanan Putra­jaya (PPj) had launched the Jom Naik Bas campaign to encourage the residents to use the Nadi Putra buses.

The campaign was in line with the federal government’s initiative to have more people, both residents as well as tourists to Putrajaya, use the public transport available.

According to Ahmad Phesal, PPj is operating 70 buses that run at 15- to 20-minute intervals during peak hours and 20- to 30-minute intervals during off-peak hours, and another 80 buses would be added to the current fleet in stages until the middle of next year.

“We hope that, with the additional buses, the public would be further encouraged to use public transport,” he added.

Ahmad Phesal said the Federal Territories and Urban Wellbeing Ministry was coming up with a holistic approach to overcome the problem of poverty in the city areas.

The ministry, he added, was focusing on households with a combined income of less than RM3,000, and the exercise would be carried out under the 2010 budget.

“I am proposing that the ministry prepare a comprehensive action plan to identify the hardcore poor in order to address the problem,” he said.

Overall, Ahmad Phesal said the FT must be people-centric and focus on upgrading the overall quality of life of its residents, which includes maintaining and upgrading existing public amenities as well as improving services like transport, health and education.

This, he said, could be achieved through the 4Cs, namely cooperation, coordination, consultation and collaboration.

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