Saturday, September 16, 2006

Let's get it right this time

Public transport, too

Let's not forget the less spectacular cases. Back in 1997, the bus companies of Kuala Lumpur were forcibly merged so that "public transport could become more efficient". On paper it sounded great. Under one consortium, busier routes could cross-subsidise the less profitable ones thereby improving services. Moreover, since we are a Maju Jaya country, we need buses that look new and shiny.

However, the reality was painful. On the first few days of the takeover, thousands of commuters turned up one or two hours late for work because Intrakota wanted to "optimise" (read: minimise) the number of buses that it had to provide. To add insult to injury, the ticket price was increased from 60 sen to 90 sen.

Three years later, commuters still have to stand and wait for Intrakota buses longer compared to the old mini-buses. And on top of it, the crony-controlled company is still whining about making losses (just like Parkmay, another crony-controlled forced consolidation of bus companies). How is it that mini-buses could provide a faster, more frequent and cheaper service and still make profits? What the hell is wrong with Intrakota?

The answer is self-evident. There is a parasite somewhere in the system sucking out money. There was also a conflict of interest, because Diversified Resources Berhad, the company which owns Intrakota, also wanted to sell more Proton cars. And since selling cars is more profitable than selling bus tickets...well what more needs to be said?

Khau See Kit, Malaysiakini, May 2000

Please don't screw it up another time.


Anonymous Luke the Office Angel said...

I was in Shenzen, China recently. Their public transport can rival Singapore and San Francisco. They have big bus lanes running right through the city. I don't know what happened to the bus lanes in KL. Add more and you choke the city streets. You don't add more and you paralyse the bus schedules. Its a tough call.

2:01 PM  

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