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New monorail trains to roll soon

POSTED BY Yamin Vong ON 12 September 2018

Monorail riders take heart … new and unused trains set to roll soon if commonsense and the people’s needs are prioritised by the new government.

A few afternoons ago, a friend from the Ministry of Health called to complain about Kuala Lumper’s monorail.

“It’s so crowded. We’re squeezing into two-car train sets when there’s a new four-car train set which is not being used. What’s happening,” he asked in an irritated tone.

And that’s the truth. The monorail is way past its installed capacity. Six new train sets that will increase the capacity by four times are idling until Prasarana, the owner, and Scomi, the train builder, have settled their differences in court.

Until then, the public are suffering. Friday and Saturday nights at Bukit Bintang are among the worst times to use the monorail.

Many LRT and MRT riders who used to regularly ride the monorail to get into inner Kuala Lumpur have stopped because of the squeezing and uncomfortable conditions both in the old train sets and the grimy and humid stations.

But there’s light at the end of the … monorail.

According to sources, the government has stepped in to move this matter forward for public needs.

This pragmatic approach to solve the deadlock goes over and above SPAD (Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat or Land Public Transport Commission) which probably hasn’t the clout nor the political will to  prioritise public interest above corporate score-settling.

The new government announced in June that it will abolish SPAD which was established under the SPAD Act 2010 and in its stead, set up an Agensi Pengangkutan Awam Darat (APAD)) under the purview of the Road Transport Department, Ministry of Transport (MOT).

The amendments should prioritised in Parliament because transport and logistics is a key enabler of an efficient economy.

The overhaul of the land transport system is a good thing too because Malaysia needs fresh initiatives to improve the transport system, especially highway traffic safety.

Express buses are crashing with a grim repetition of fatalities.

APAD must do something different from primitive regulations such as a driver change every four hours.

On another note, we hope that the new APAD will promote electric vehicles and autonomous vehicles for public transport.

The commuter buses that Prasarana operates are 40 seater buses on feeder routes where the ridership was recently quoted at 25 per cent. It’s obvious that ridership will be low when the 44-seater shuttle buses are scheduled on 30 minutes and hourly frequencies. Ridership would probably have been higher with 14-seater shuttle vans doing 10 -18 minute frequencies.

The Sunway Subang Jaya area already has a pure electric bus services operating on a dedicated overhead road serving the Sunway Pyramid shopping complex, the Sunway University and the Sunway hospital.

APAD can build on this and start pilot trails of EV’s for commercial service.

Some probable areas include taxi services from airports, pilot trails of autonomous electric vans for shuttle service in Cyberjaya and Putra Jaya for instance.