Mixed reactions to tuk-tuk idea

13 Jan 2015 / 22:29 H.

PETALING JAYA: Motorised tricycles, or popularly known as "tuk tuk", making a presence on our roads is possible as the public voiced their support to the vehicle's introduction as a cheaper alternative to taxis. However, transport, consumer and road safety bodies today shot down the idea by Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) to introduce the vehicles as a new form of feeder service in the suburbs.
Those interviewed by theSun said they looked forward to adapt if such a form of transportation is implemented by Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD).
"I feel the motorised tricycle will definitely work because I feel it will save time instead of taking a cab and ending up in heavy traffic," said a teenager, who wished to identify himself as Mohd Solehin.
A final-year university student who wished to be known as Vignesswaran, 24, said the move would be a dream come true for fellow college students out there as travelling by tricycle will save on expenses.
"I am glad as many students like me would finally get our chance to travel around at a cheaper fare. If it's implemented, it is going to be efficient for students as we don't have to walk a far distance to the bus station or Komuter Terminal from our home."
Meanwhile, a guard at a premises here, Mohd Haniff, 55, said motorised tricycles will always be a help for him.
"I have been a guard for the past 15 years here in Petaling Jaya and it was never easy for me to get a cab and reach home on time. In fact, a tricycle would be helpful for a family to travel short distances," he added.
A local factory worker, Sia Seng Eng, 26, said using motorised or electric tricycles would be flexible and also convenient for workers who reside near their factory.
"Travelling by a tricycle would be comfortable and safe if a designated route for it is introduced," he said referring to safety aspects regarding these vehicles.
In KUALA LUMPUR, Association for the Improvement of Mass Transit (TRANSIT) advisor Moaz Ahmad pointed out that SPAD should ensure that existing public transport services run effectively before introducing a new type of service.
"Transit is against the tuk-tuk' idea as it won't offer comfort, convenience or safety advantages over taxis and buses. Adding a new type of public transport is not the solution to the current problems," he said.
Commenting on the touted rationale that tuk tuk's may provide higher frequency of service, Moaz said: "It doesn't hold water. A tuk-tuk would still be stuck in the traffic as other vehicles since it is wider than a motorcycle."
SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar had mooted the idea to introduce the tuk-tuk – commonly known as Autorick, Baby Taxi, Bajaj, Coco, Mototaxi, Pedicab or Tempo in other parts of the world – here as a cheaper alternative to taxis in the suburbs.
SPAD is mulling the introduction of tuk tuk's as an urban feeder service for townships and housing estates to ferry passengers from LRT, KTM and future MRT stations as well as public transit hubs.
"The tuk tuk fits the requirements for higher frequency of service, (it is) cost effective, easy to operate and can offer affordable fares for the masses especially for workers, college students and school children," Syed Hamid had said.
Commenting on the suggestion, National Consumer Complaints Centre (NCCC) board of trustees member Muhammad Sha'ani Abdullah opined that introducing motorised tricycles as a form of public transport here would be "a step backward".
"I am afraid it will turn out like the 'Mini Bus' situation in the 80's and 90's. Would SPAD makes it mandatory for the motorised tricycle riders to undergo training, be disciplined at all times and ensure the tuk-tuk operators can steer clear of the 'pajak' (leasing) practice?" he asked.
"Even with the current problems with Klang Valley taxis, SPAD already has its hands full and is still struggling to improve the taxi industry and weed out the problematic cabbies. What more with new addition of transport on the road," Sha'ani added.
Meanwhile, Malaysian Institute of Road Safety Research (Miros) director-general Prof Dr Wong Shaw Voon expressed concern as to the plausible frailty of motorised tricycle as public transport vehicles.
"I am surprised to hear this suggestion as tuk-tuk's lack safety features and doesn't offer much protection to passengers and the rider. It may look practical in housing estates and universities when the tricycle is travelling at low speed but I fear the likelihood of danger when a tuk tuk shares the space with other vehicles especially on the main roads. There has got to be a better idea for a new type of road transport," added Wong.


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