CY­CLING A GOOD AL­TER­NA­TIVE TO DRIV­ING

New Straits Times - - Opinion -

MUCH has been spent on the pub­lic trans­porta­tion sys­tem, such as the Mass Rapid Tran­sit (MRT) and Light Rail Tran­sit line projects.

The open­ing of the MRT Sun­gai Bu­loh-Ka­jang Line is timely to re­duce con­ges­tion.

The most chal­leng­ing as­pect now is to en­cour­age peo­ple to use these fa­cil­i­ties to re­duce the num­ber of ve­hi­cles.

The me­dia has given wide cov­er­age on this is­sue, ini­ti­at­ing bi­cy­cling pro­grammes to gal­vanise sup­port for a cy­cling cul­ture.

One of the most un­ex­plored av­enues to max­imise MRT and LRT rid­er­ship is to im­prove the link­ages to sta­tions.

It would be more en­tic­ing to com­muters if the first- and last­mile con­nec­tiv­ity was im­proved.

MRT and LRT are not the so­lu­tions to the traf­fic sit­u­a­tion in an ur­ban en­vi­ron­ment.

One thing that stands out dur­ing the morn­ing rush hour is the large num­ber of sin­gle-oc­cu­pancy cars.

To win over this group to use pub­lic trans­port won’t be easy.

Peo­ple will choose to drive if they face poor feeder bus ser­vices, high fares, park­ing charges, park­ing space, dif­fi­cult con­nec­tions to dif­fer­ent train ser­vices.

If we open our eyes to the re­al­ity fac­ing us, the use of bi­cy­cles fits in well.

Be­sides be­ing toll-free and en­vi­ron­men­tally friendly, it also pro­motes a healthy life­style.

Cy­cling as an al­ter­na­tive mode has taken a back seat for too long.

The author­i­ties have not gone far enough on this is­sue.

Nev­er­the­less, Kuala Lumpur City Hall is lead­ing the way in this di­rec­tion.

As I see it, cy­cling is low in most peo­ple’s pri­or­ity list as many per­ceive it as out­dated.

Many say the less than pleas­ant weather con­di­tions is not ideal for cy­cling, which is hard to swal­low if we compare the suc­cess sto­ries of cy­cling in other coun­tries that have harsher weather con­di­tions.

In Pu­chong, com­muter rid­er­ship of LRT Sta­tions 6, 7 and 8 falls short of ex­pec­ta­tion, as ev­i­dent by the al­most empty sta­tions dur­ing non-peak pe­ri­ods.

And, we are not see­ing any de­cline in traf­fic in the Da­mansara–Pu­chong Ex­press­way (LDP).

Con­nec­tiv­ity to these sta­tions is in­ad­e­quate. It would be good if the cor­po­rate sec­tor ini­ti­ates such projects as part of its cor­po­rate so­cial re­spon­si­bil­ity pro­grammes. With a lit­tle in­vest­ment in such in­fra­struc­ture, the re­sult will more than jus­tify the cost.

Ban­dar Pu­teri, to­gether with Se­tia Walk and Wawasan, cov­er­ing a ra­dius of more than 8sq km with a pop­u­la­tion of about 16,000, is the ideal test­ing ground to build a bicycle or pedes­trian path and park-and-ride bays in the vicin­ity to get more peo­ple to use the LRT.

ZULFADHLI ZULK­I­FLI PIC BY

Im­prov­ing the first- and last-mile con­nec­tiv­ity will con­vince more peo­ple to use MRT and LRT.

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