‘UP­GRADE RU­RAL PUB­LIC TRANS­PORT’

Gov­ern­ment should con­sider three-tier sys­tem, says ex­pert

New Straits Times - - News - FARHANA SYED NOKMAN KUALA LUMPUR farhanasyed@nst.com.my

IT IS vi­tal to up­grade pub­lic trans­porta­tion con­nec­tiv­ity to boost the so­cioe­co­nomic sta­tus of ru­ral folk. Pub­lic trans­porta­tion ex­perts said a de­tailed study was needed to de­cide on a suit­able sys­tem of pub­lic trans­port.

Univer­siti Ke­bangsaan Malaysia Trans­porta­tion En­gi­neer­ing (Traf­fic En­gi­neer­ing) Prof Dr Amiruddin Is­mail said ur­ban ar­eas such as Serem­ban, Ipoh, Alor Star, Langkawi, Kuala Terengganu, Kota Baru, Kota Kin­a­balu and Kuch­ing were also in need of a pub­lic trans­port up­grade.

“Maybe these cities need to im­prove their bus ser­vices. How­ever, other modes of trans­port such as trams could also be con­sid­ered.

“Some ru­ral ar­eas should also be con­sid­ered as can­di­dates for good and re­li­able pub­lic trans­port, es­pe­cially when such ar­eas have be­come im­por­tant tran­sit points for peo­ple and their daily ac­tiv­i­ties.”

He said towns such as Kuala Pi­lah, Tampin, Alor Ga­jah and Karak also needed im­proved pub­lic trans­porta­tion.

Trans­port plan­ning ex­pert Goh Bok Yen said the gov­ern­ment should look at im­ple­ment­ing a three-tier pub­lic trans­port sys­tem in ru­ral ar­eas.

He said the bus was the best mode of trans­port, in terms of eco­nomic flex­i­bil­ity, for small pop­u­la­tions,

“The three-tier trans­port sys­tem in­cludes a com­mu­nity bus (van or multi-pur­pose ve­hi­cle), bet­ter known as a shared bus, which trans­ports those liv­ing in re­mote ar­eas to bus sta­tions.

“From there, they can take feeder buses to trans­fer points where they then jour­ney on a stage or tran­sit bus ser­vice,” he said, adding that mak­ing com­mu­nity bus ser­vices avail­able would cre­ate job op­por­tu­ni­ties for re­tirees in vil­lages.

Fund al­lo­ca­tions in the 2017 Bud­get for ru­ral pub­lic trans­port in­cluded the ramp­ing up of the con­struc­tion of the PanBor­neo High­way.

Other projects in­cluded the RM55 bil­lion, 600km East Coast Rail Link, from Port Klang to Gom­bak, Ben­tong, Men­takab, Kuantan, Kemaman, Kerteh, Kuala Terengganu and Kota Baru and fi­nally to Tumpat.

RM100 mil­lion was al­lo­cated for the re­pair of the Gua Mu­sang Tumpat train line, 19 new train sets for the ETS train ser­vice, in stages un­til 2019, and RM114 mil­lion for the build­ing of ru­ral roads in Sarawak.

FILE PIC

A sec­tion of the Pan Borneo High­way un­der con­struc­tion.

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