Toll-free Highways Not Possible?

  1. Tun Dr. Mahathir has said that it is not possible to have toll-free roads under current government revenue and spending pattern.
  2. If we must commit to Pakatan’s manifesto, then it means the government’s revenue must be increased.
  3. The Prime Minister also said that they did not expect to win the election when they crafted the manifesto.
  4. There are people who believed that the new government can abolish the tolls for expressways. Hence, they voted for the new government.
  5. The new government then realized many of the populist moves spelt out in their manifeso is not feasible and this is not just because of the huge debt left by the previous government. The revenue stream simply cannot sustain their planned spending pattern.
  6. The new government has less than 5 years from now to prove their capability. Otherwise, people may vote them out in the next upcoming General Election.
  7. Many of the expressway development in Malaysia is being undertaken by private entities. This is because of the huge cost involved in building these expressways.
  8. The limited amount of budget allocated for road maintenance can be channelled towards maintaining other Federal or State roads.
  9. Therefore, while having tolls is not a popular move, it helps to improvise the living condition of the urban population by reducing their travel time within the city or between major cities in Malaysia.

The Inevitable Change in Taxi Industry

March 2018 is seen as a month of victory for our Malaysian-born Grab has it has managed to secure a comfortable portion of electronic hailing (e-hailing) market share in Southeast Asia. A deal was struck between Grab and US-born Uber for the latter to cease operating in the Southeast Asia effective 9 April 2018. In return, Uber gets 27.5% stake in Grab. According to Grab’s official website, almost 4 million rides are done on the platform daily. Being a Malaysian-born company, Grab started its operation in Malaysia as MyTeksi in 2012, moved its headquarters to Singapore in 2014 and now it has expanded to more than 142 cities in Southeast Asia.

KL Tower
KL Tower

During its initial days of operation as a car sharing service, many taxi drivers oppose it. We have had numerous protests in the heart of Kuala Lumpur to oppose the e-hailing services. The government and its affiliated agencies were pressured to intervene in order to safeguard the interest of taxi drivers and companies. The situation became worse as the taxi drivers tend to take matters into their own hands. On 28 June 2016, a 35-year old Grab driver was attacked by irate taxi drivers as he was about to pick up a passenger outside the MidValley Megamall. Meanwhile, on 20 June 2016, an Uber driver was attacked at KL Sentral station and one of his passengers was injured as an angry taxi driver dragged them out of the car.

Let us face the reality. In the past, the Malaysian government and private sectors within their respective capacities have tried to improve the system. Exclusive access and waiting areas were assigned to numerous shopping malls, airports and other points of attraction. Besides, NGV, a cheaper vehicle fuel alternative was also introduced to key areas in Malaysia, especially in the Klang Valley area. The government has also demonstrated its commitment to assisting taxi drivers by making NGV more affordable for them. According to Malaysia: Natural Gas Industry Annual Review 2012 report published by Malaysian Gas Association, the Malaysian government has spent almost RM 28 billion in the form of various subsidies for natural gas, NGV included.

Despite the numerous improvement methods, many taxi drivers suffer from an attitude problem. It is common to hear tourists complain about being overcharged and violent driving behaviour of the drivers. On 17 December 2016, Malaysians got a shock of their life when two French tourists were charged RM 800 for a short ride from KLCC to National Mosque. While stern actions have been taken by the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) on the said taxi operator, over the years, the overcharging and bad driving practice have shown no signs of abating.

To combat the negative attitudes of the taxi drivers, many solutions were proposed. Fares are regulated, and meter usage was made compulsory for all Klang Valley taxi drivers. Anybody still remembers the mandatory “no haggling” signage on our taxis? Unfortunately, our tourists are able to read that sign and still being overcharged by the taxi drivers. The blatant disregard of the law and guidelines have frequently drive tourists and authorities to the wall but not enough has been done to solve the problem. One The Star reporter had even gone undercover to find how deep the problem is. In one article published on 7 Oct 2012 on the news portal, one shocking finding was revealed: only 1 out of 11 taxi drivers in KL followed the regulated fare.

Years of bad service and the advent of smartphones with GPS technology seems to provide a right recipe for e-hailing. As the smartphones get more advanced and affordable, it has opened up a slew of new possibilities, which includes e-hailing. In the early days of e-hailing, many of the drivers were existing taxi drivers. As the years passed by, more people signed up to drive for e-hailing services, citing money-making opportunities and flexible work arrangements as their primary factors in doing so. Besides, the booking and driver review system have improved the service availability and reliability, thus making it more appealing to the users.

After several years of using Grab, the service is no longer a stranger to us. More people do no longer consider purchasing new cars, especially in the heavily-congested areas. Considering how difficult it was to use a taxi service before, there is no point in going back to the old trend. It is now the time for us to move on and think about possible transport advancements in the future.

Another Debris of MH370 Found?

MOZAMBIQUE, March 2nd 2016: A piece of wreckage, believed from Boeing 777 is found washed ashore on the cost of Mozambique, according to a CNN news report. Since there is no reported crash (other than Flight MH 17) involving Boeing 777 of that nature, it is strongly believed that the missing piece is from Flight MH 370, the one that disappeared during nighttime on March 8th 2014.

The unnamed source from United States further elaborated that the piece of wreckage is on its way to Malaysia for further examination. A quick look on Malaysian news sites has yet to reveal anything but we are expecting wide news coverage in tomorrow’s newspaper.

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 went missing while on its way from Kuala Lumpur International Airport – KLIA (KUL) to Beijing (PEK). It is being investigated as a crime by Malaysian police as they found it was being deliberately changed course from its intended path. Search so far has been proved futile with no credible lead found.

 

New Bus Network for Greater Kuala Lumpur

Effective December 1st 2015, RapidKL has revamped its bus network, dividing the bus network into eight corridors, namely

  1. Ampang Corridor
  2. Sg Besi Corridor
  3. Lebuhraya Persekutuan Corridor
  4. Jalan Ipoh Corridor
  5. Cheras Corridor
  6. Klang Lama Corridor
  7. Damansara Corridor
  8. Jalan Pahang Corridor
RapidKL New Bus Network Announcement
RapidKL New Bus Network Announcement

The announcement came in quite late, considering the number of commuters using the service daily.

More information is available on RapidKL website, which is accessible at www.myrapid.com.my.

Receipt at Touch ‘N Go Lanes

  
If you need to retrieve receipts at toll plazas, then it might be cumbersome for you if you use Touch ‘N Go or Smart Tag regularly.

It is because if you need receipt, you are left with the following options:

  1. Take receipts at cash lanes
  2. Take receipts at Touch ‘N Go reload lanes

Both of these lanes are also used by 1) Customers paying by cash and 2) Customers reloading their Touch ‘N Go cards.

Therefore, presence of automated receipt dispensing machine is really appreciated. As shown in the picture above, there is a machine to dispense receipts at Touch ‘N Go lanes. This one is seen at westbound Batu Tiga toll plaza. No similar lane can be seen at eastbound one though.

We hope highway concessionnaires can come up with at least one of these lanes at major highways soon. It can surely eliminate congestion at cash and reload lanes.

Electronic Toll Collection at SMART Tunnel beginning 1 Sep 2015

Beginning 1 September 2015, SMART Tunnel will practice electronic toll collection only. By abolishing cash toll collection, the move is to help alleviate traffic problems commonly faced at the tunnel.

  
Similar move can also be seen by AKLEH, which also will abolish cash toll collection at some of its toll plaza.

ETS to Padang Besar: Waiting for SPAD Approval

Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) is just waiting for confirmation from Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat (SPAD) regarding the new intercity train service linking Ipoh to Padang Besar. The new service, also dubbed as Electric Train Service (ETS), will enable travelers to experience speed of up to 140 km/h during travel between Ipoh and Padang Besar.

The new ETS service will stop and prominent stations such as Butterworth, Alor Setar, Arau and Padang Besar. The fast journey is made possible by the recent completion of electrified double tracking (EDTP) project, which upgraded the rail infrastructure between Ipoh to Padang Besar from single rail to double rail. The upgrade enables fast train travel on both northbound and southbound direction, reducing delays greatly.

As of press time, KTMB has yet to release any pricing information regarding the ETS service.

We will update this site as soon as we get more information about the service.

Update: Click here for ETS Schedule for KL Sentral <-> Padang Besar Route

Source: Astro Awani