ACCORDING to statistics by the Transport Ministry, the number of new vehicle registrations in 2021 increased 2%, from 1,169,320 in 2020 to 1,192,592. This shows that most Malaysians prefer to use private transport rather than rely on the public transport system to commute to work and for travel. The major reason for this being systemic flaws in public transportation.
A fine example is the massive breakdown of the Kelana Jaya Light Rail Transit line recently, which resulted in an unprecedented week-long service shutdown. Malaysians working in the Klang Valley were enraged and frustrated, had to pay extra for e-hailing services, and were delayed reaching their destinations.
Other problems include inefficient services, and the companies running them are mismanaged. To address some of the issues like high density of passengers and poor frequency, more carriages should be added and frequency increased, especially during peak hours. Also, focus should be on maintenance, particularly escalators and ticket machines.
The Transport Ministry can also play a pivotal role to ensure public transport services are improved.
Furthermore, public transport routes should be expanded to connect urban and less urban cities. Ensure frequency and punctuality of services to promote usage of public transport.
In addition, offering wider options of payment via e-wallet or Touch ‘n Go would provide commuters the convenience and flexibility to travel.
All these will reduce the number of private vehicles on roads, hence, reducing traffic jams and pollution.
Tan Yee Qiun
Faculty of Business and Communication
University Malaysia Perlis