If we have a good transit system with seamless connectivity, who in their right mind would want to spend heaps of time on the road?
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob announced recently that members of the public can have free rides on all public transport run by RapidKL, including the MRT, LRT, BRT, monorail and buses, as well as KTM Komuter in Klang Valley, for one whole month.
To people regularly commuting on public transport, this undoubtedly is great news, as they can save the whole month’s transport cost, although the government will have to fork out an additional RM155 million in subsidy.
This facility is believed to relieve the financial burden of some city folks but is not expected to woo majority of Malaysians into taking PT in the long run to relieve the chronic congestion problem.
Traffic congestion is a universal problem for modern cities, and governments the world over have been cracking their heads to attempt to resolve this headache.
In Malaysia, severe traffic congestion has become a nightmare for people living in cities and towns, having to spend much of their waking hours getting stuck in non-moving traffic, not to mention the negative implications on their physical and mental health.
We all know that the most effective way of addressing this problem is to encourage the people to take public transport to cut down the number of vehicles on our roads. But, this is often easier said than done!
To be honest, we have seen some improvement in the country’s public transportation networks in recent years, and the just opened MRT Putrajaya Line phase 1 will further boost the existing transit networks.
Unfortunately, Malaysians are not expected to abandon their cars if the issue of “first and last mile connections” is not solved.
Why do most Malaysians opt to go behind the wheel instead of taking the transit? Inconvenience is the answer!
Due to the poor planning of our transportation system, we have to spend a lot more time taking buses and trains than driving.
Is there a shuttle bus to the train station from my house? Is the shuttle bus punctual and reliable? How to expect us to rely on public transport if we have to take a long time just to travel to the train station? Is there sufficient parking at the train station if I choose to drive to there? This “first mile” issue needs to be addressed.
Well, if I happen to live near a train station, how should I travel to my office after I arrive at the nearest train station? Again, this “last mile” connectivity is of critical importance to get people to leave their cars at home.
There are reasons why many people rather get stuck in the endless traffic than taking trains. If we have a good transit system with seamless connectivity, who in their right mind would want to spend heaps of time on the road?
Inadequate public transportation has sent more people to the road, further aggravating the congestion and forcing the government to bear even heavier fuel subsidies, benefiting no one in the end.
For the long term interests of the country, the government has no choice but to strive to improve public transportation so that more Malaysians will leave their cars behind.