RM2.8 billion for better public transport…lets see…
SPAD – Super transport service
KUALA LUMPUR: The newly-launched Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is determined to live up to high public expectations of improved public transport in the country.
“SPAD has been entrusted to change the way public transport is planned, regulated and enforced. More importantly, we aim to regain public confidence in our transport system,” said SPAD chief operating officer Shahril Mokhtar (pic).
In an exclusive interview with The Malay Mail, Shahril said the core functions of SPAD are the drawing-up, under one roof, of policies, planning, regulating and enforcement laws and regulations on land public transport.
SPAD was officially established on June 3, with powers derived from the Land Public Transport Act 2010 which was passed concurrently with the Land Public Transport Commission Act 2010 by Parliament.
The Malay Mail understands that in the first two years of the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP), RM2.8 billion had been allocated to build and improve the public transport ridership in Greater Kuala Lumpur, Johor Baru and Penang.
“It is a massive figure and we are studying the systems of other countries known for their efficiency, like Singapore, Hong Kong, Shanghai and London. We will adopt the best practices which suit local needs,” said Shahril.
“We are to realise the ambitions as outlined in the National Key Result Areas (NKRAs) for public transportation and we will report to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak from time to time on public transport matters. It shows that the government wants to boost the quality of public transport.”
SPAD management is responsible for delivering five initiatives that do not come under any agency, specifically, buses’ right-of-way, bus stops, performance management, network restructuring and ticketing integration.
With the formation of SPAD, the Commercial Vehicles Licensing Board (CVLB) for Peninsular Malaysia and the Department of Railways will be absorbed into the Commission latest by September this year.
“SPAD’s scope will be extended to Sarawak, Sabah and Labuan at a later stage because the land public transportation in East Malaysia is different,” said Shahril, adding that it will also take over the role of the Tourism Commissioner in issuing licences to tour buses.
“We also have enforcement powers, with SPAD’s officers on the ground. We will soon implement key performance indicators (KPI) for public transport operators which include on-time performance, equipment condition and reliability with minimum standards linked to a reward and penalty system.”
Stating that SPAD will change the public transport industry landscape in the Peninsular, Shahril said: “Bus, rail and taxi operators will be subject to SPAD’s stringent monitoring conformity. Our responsibilities include the integration of various public transportation, transit bus system, enhancing effectiveness and promptness, and better enforcement.
“We are also looking at the implementation of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system and single cashless ticketing system across all operations.”
Among the key steps SPAD have already identified is the weaknesses in responding to public enquiries and complaints.
“In the run-up to the setting up of SPAD, we already identified a lot of grey areas by talking to various stakeholders, including community leaders, academicians and public transport experts,” said Shahril.
Realising that enforcement is always an issue when it comes to public grouses on public transport, he said: “It’s a big challenge but we are determined to pay close attention to the public.”
He also said a ‘SPAD feedback centre’ will also be set-up for the public.
Improving Klang Valley’s public movement
THE construction of several Integrated Transport Terminal (ITT) around the outskirts of Kuala Lumpur is expected to facilitate the Klang Valley’s public transport masterplan which will spearhead the development of a fully integrated public transport system.
“We have, at the moment, started construction of an ITT at Tasik Selatan for south-bound traffic. Our Gombak ITT, currently at the land-clearing stage, will be for the east coast. A proposal for an ITT at Sungai Buloh for the north-bound traffic, in the near future, is now on the cards,” said SPAD chief operating officer Shahril Mokhtar.
He said SPAD would also be responsible for building and improving of over 1,000 bus stops and reorganisation of the bus network in the Klang Valley.
“We will ensure all universal designs, for the disabled and less fortunate, are available at all these public transport facilities.
“City folk can look forward to improvements on bus journey time with Bus Express Transit services and establishment of dedicated bus lanes, as well as integrated smart ticketing system.”
Shahril is confident they are achievable because SPAD is the only body with the power and means to develop the country’s land public transport masterplan.
“This masterplan will take into consideration all aspects of public transport, including connectivity and accessibility, ensuring the development of a more integrated public transport system.”
Shahril said the masterplan would cover aspects of land public transport. Once tabled at the National Physical Plan Council, it would be used to guide local authorities in planning their development.
The urban mass transit sheriff
WITH the announcement of a new Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) in the 10th Malaysia Plan (10MP), the public would get to enjoy a MRT system, 156km long and covering a 20km radius around the Kuala Lumpur city centre, carrying two million passenger trips per day when completed.
The 10MP does not, however, state the deadline for constructing the MRT system to overcome traffic congestion and transform the “Livability of Greater Kuala Lumpur” into a global city.
The Malay Mail (MM) sought the views of the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) on the proposed MRT system and its involvement for the project.
MM: What is SPAD’s role in the development of the MRT proposed under the 10MP?
SPAD: Our core functions are the drawing up of policies, planning, regulation and enforcementof rules and regulations concerning land public transport.
In the context of the MRT project and other 10MP projects related to land public transport, SPAD oversees their development in terms of ensuring they fulfill the needs of the rakyat. SPAD’s involvement with the projects become operational after they have been completed and we will play the role of regulator of such services.
As far as the MRT proposal is concerned, we will, among others, ensure that:
• the rakyat will get optimal benefits of the money spent;
• the lines run through the correct areas;
• the station locations are rooted at the correct places;
• the new lines integrate with existing LRT and train services;
• there will be feeder bus services serving the new stations;
• the fares are reasonable;
• the system is viable and sustainable from a financial point of view; and
• after completion, it will be operated efficiently, reliably and safely.
MM: Will SPAD own or build the project?
SPAD: The Land Public Transport Commission Act 2010 and Land Public Transport Act 2010 do not empower SPAD to be the owner or developer of any project. SPAD can only play the role of planner and regulator of such projects.
MM: What about the funding of projects?
SPAD: We do not fund any projects. Depending on the project, funding can come directly from the government and also in partnership with the private sector.
MM: What other initiatives will SPAD come up with to improve public transport?
SPAD: We will look at all types of initiatives to improve public transport, such as bus lanes, bus express transit and bus rapid transit (which are bus lanes physically separated from other traffic) and many others.
These initiatives have to be integrated with the existing systems both physically and in terms of the use of a single ticketing system. SPAD also has to ensure a good standard of service by the operators by setting service standards for them. In the longer term SPAD will draw up masterplans for the national and regional levels as well as each of the sectors.