Getting more to use public transport


Room for improvement: The utilisation of public transport is still ‘below target’.

PETALING JAYA: The government will redouble efforts to attract people to fully utilise public transport, especially in Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley.

In the 12th Malaysia Plan (12MP), it said the targeted modal share of 40% was unable to be achieved last year, citing Covid-19 pandemic as one of the reasons.

It said several issues had been identified during the 11th Malaysia Plan period (2016-2020) with poor first-and-last mile connectivity being a key reason.

In Chapter 12 of 12MP (Enhancing Efficiency of the Transport and Logistics Infrastructure), it said the salient issues that needed concerted efforts were inadequate first and last-mile connectivity (for public transport), uncompetitive transport and logistics industry, as well as poor governance of the transport and logistics industry.

Public transport users continue to have subpar commuting experience that includes “low on-time performance”, while transport operators struggle with the “absence of holistic travel demand management” that has affected efficiency and reliability of public transport.

Describing the utilisation of public transport as remaining “below target”, authorities argue that the reluctance to switch from private vehicles to public transport is partly contributed by the relatively low-cost of car ownership.

“This is proven by the increase in the number of registered vehicles, by about 6% per annum, from 20.2 million in 2010 to 30 million in 2018.

“The ratio of vehicles to the population, which stood at 0.9 in 2018, was one of the highest in the region,” it said, while also highlighting the poor culture of public road maintenance.

“Whether implemented on a corrective or preventive basis, it is still an issue due to lack of resources.

“The preferences for corrective maintenance over scheduled maintenance have aggravated the problem.

“This leads to the degradation of road conditions, thus limiting mobility and increasing accident rate, while reducing road lifespan and raising maintenance cost in the long run,” it said.

It also said during the 11MP, federal funding was only sufficient to cover 25% of the total requirement for federal road maintenance.

“This indicates that there is still unmet demand for road infrastructure due to resource constraints and other priorities,” it said.

As for the logistics industry, the key constraints include poor last-mile connectivity for cargo to major entry points, inadequate facilities at ports and airports, as well as inefficient transport services.

“These cause delays and damage to goods, thus increasing handling and transportation costs.

“The deployment of vessels by major cargo ship liners with a capacity greater than 20,000 TEUs (20-foot equivalent) poses a challenge in terms of channel depth in major ports such as Port Klang and Port of Tanjung Pelepas (PTP),” it said.

The 12MP said the major ports, namely Port Klang, PTP and Johor Port had established their own individual port community systems.

“These systems assist in managing and facilitating cargo movement and vessel traffic. However, these systems are not integrated, which hinders the effective coordination and optimisation of ports and logistics services,” it said.

The government agreed that putting more cargo onto rail is the way to go for sustainability, by leading to a smaller carbon footprint as well as safer and free-flowing roads.

“The utilisation of the current (KTM Bhd) railway track capacity for the movement of cargo was at 30%.

“This was mainly due to the relatively higher cost of carrying cargo via rail compared to roads,” it said.

Due to this, the situation had been further aggravated by the limited scheduled trips for cargo trains.

“As a result, only 1.6% of total land cargo was transported by rail.

“Although there is a rail network in Port Klang, only 5% of cargo movement uses rail due to the inefficiency of railway services and the lack of door-to-door services.

“During peak period, the rail network from the north and south is congested with priority given to passenger trains (such as ETS and KTM Komuter).

“So trucks were preferred to haul cargo, resulting in frequent plying of heavy vehicles and traffic congestion on roads connecting to the ports,” it said.

In addition, there was untapped potential for using rail to transport bulk cargo, especially for dangerous and hazardous materials.

Currently, these goods are being transported via road which poses risks to other road users and the surrounding areas.

The 12MP also highlighted the lack of coordination between the federal and state governments over matters like public transport policy, planning and development.

“This hampers the optimisation of infrastructure planning in various states. The lack of coordination in terms of tariffs, regulations and port facilities has resulted in unhealthy competition between ports,” it said.

The National Logistics Taskforce, which was set up in 2015, lacks the capacity to monitor the implementation of the Logistics and Trade Facilitation Masterplan as well as to propose a policy direction for the logistics industry and the aviation sector.

“The development of airports is carried out without adequate planning due to the absence of an overarching masterplan to set the strategic direction for airports development, leading to an underutilised terminal capacity in several airports,” it added.

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12th Malaysia Plan , 12MP

   

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