Media Statement by Johor DAP Policy Director and Senai State Assemblyperson Wong Shu Qi on 25th June 2015 (Thursday):
A pathetic improvement on KTM service between Johor Bahru and Singapore does not encourage more people to use public transportation
In the last six months, commuters have been waiting patiently for the shuttle train service between Johor Bahru and Singapore Woodlands. Yet, the latest announcement on the service can hardly be good news for commuters.
Although the shuttle train increased from 10 to 14 trips a day, yet, it is far from satisfactory if we examine the new train schedule.
The peak hours on the causeway are between 5:30am to 9:30am and 6pm to 10pm.
On the other hand, currently, KTM runs from JB Sentral to Woodlands at 5:30am, 6:20am, 11:40am, 2pm, and 9pm. There are also five trains coming back to JB Sentral from Woodlands everyday, at 8:30am, 4pm, 6:30pm, 8pm and 11:30pm.
The latest change is pathetic
From July 1 onwards, the morning and evening peak hours shuttle will increase from two to three services. Passengers can take the shuttle train at 5:30am, 7am and 8:30am to Woodlands and at 5:30pm, 7pm and 10pm to return to JB Sentral.
There is still at least 90 minutes of waiting time between one shuttle service and the other, while the longest waiting time during the peak hours would be the last train at a three-hour intermission from the previous train.
Is this already the maximum capacity of KTM serving a high traffic route?
Can the Ministry of Transport improve the service further?
200,000 Malaysians cross the Causeway daily, more than ⅔ are potential KTM commuters
This is a very important issue which affects 200,000 Malaysians who commute across the Causeway daily.
According to Singapore ICA statistic in 2013, there are more than 72,000 motorcycles entering Singapore everyday. Thus, there are approximately 100,000 riders and pillions on the road. In addition, there are about 18,000 private cars crossing Causeway daily from August 2014 till March 2015. That works out to about 20,000 – 40,000 car passengers daily, while estimating a low car occupancy rate of 1-2 persons per car.
We are then looking at about 120,000 – 140,000 potential commuters if our train service is run well.
Lesser cars, lesser traffic, lesser cost: A public transport user may save up to RM1,000 a month
Imagine the relief on our environment and our road traffic especially at the two links if we can get most of the private vehicle passengers to take public transport.
For the commuters, it will mean less stress, more efficiency and less cost on traveling. It is estimated that by taking public transport, a commuter saves up to RM1,000 a month on traveling cost.
KTM and the government must act now and act fast
But all this can only happen if KTM and the government get their act together. Before the new changes take place in July, I urge KTM and the government to do the following:
- maintain the ticket price at RM3 and SGD3 to make it attractive to commuters,
- improve waiting time to 20 minutes during peak hours, with three shuttle services per hour. With this improvement, KTM will be able to cater for up to 4,000 passengers during the morning peak hour which is merely 2% of the total daily commuters,
- ensure clean, efficient and reliable service with minimal downtime and late arrivals.
Finally, beside the short-term plan, the authority should plan ahead for the double track project. It makes sense to start building the double track from Johor Bahru up to Gemas without delay.
The KPI for Minister of Transport should be to shift private vehicles to public transport
Minister of Transport Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai must not just standby and let his Ministry run on autopilot mode. His absenteeism in proactive policy making to improve public transport in our country is most regrettable. His KPI should not be building more roads and or even more tracks, but how many private vehicles have shifted to public transport. That should be the right KPI for a Minister of Transport in regards to road traffic. Liow should resign now if he is not up to the challenge.
Wong Shu Qi