PETALING JAYA: Taking public transport in the Klang Valley has never been easier, especially after the numerous Government Transformation Programmes (GTP).
Before the advent of the National Automative Policy back in the 1980s which saw the streets of Malaysia flooded with affordable cars, taking the public transport was the trend du jour with almost a third of the population relying on public transport.
Slowly but surely, the numbers dipped to 20% in 1997 and was down to between 10% and 12% in 2008.
But with the setting up of Urban Public Transport as one of the National Key Result Areas of the GTP, plans to revive public transport as a feasible and top mode of travelling appear to be on track.
Heading the agenda is the GoKL free bus service that has tongues wagging. It even got a special mention on travel website TripAdvisor.
Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said that when the buses started operating in September, they were ferrying only 1,300 passengers daily. After a month, the ridership increased to 15,000. It is now hovering at about 20,000 passengers a day.
“When we introduced it, there were so many complaints especially from taxi drivers who said we were trying to take away their business.
“But the people loved it, and it wasn’t like the most of them were tourists either,” he said, adding that foreign tourists only make up 10% of the passengers.
The GoKL buses make up just one of the many improvements to the bus service on top of the 470 new RapidKL buses, nine new bus express transit (BET) corridors and 1,374 new or refurbished bus stops.
Under the first phase of the Government Transformation Programme from 2010 to 2012, key results were also accounted for in the bus, rail, integration and network sectors.
Datuk Ahmad Suhaili Idrus, director of the National Key Result Areas for Urban Public Transport, said that not only was it integral to get the buses and rails to work, but it was also necessary to make them more accessible to people.
Hence, the Government is looking into revamping the KL stage buses network to rationalise the number of operators per route, which otherwise also contribute to congestion in the city centre.
With some of the biggest changes coming in 2015 with the completion of the Mass Rapid Transit as well as the Light Rail Transit extensions, modal share of public transport should be 40% by the year 2020, and public transport should be an acceptable way of life again for city folk.
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