Govt should beef up first-and-last-mile transportation woes

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Recently, Transport Minister Anthony Loke announced that RM50 million will be allocated this year to purchase vans to address first-and-last-mile connectivity issues.


This is indeed a right move, albeit too little too late. As we know, Malaysia has spent billions to build infrastructure like the MRT, LRT and KTM Komuter services, especially in the Klang Valley.

But unfortunately, many still shun public transportation due to first-and-last-mile connectivity. Put in simple terms, many commuters have problems reaching the main arteries of public transport, such as MRT stations, or reaching their final destinations after they disembark from the trains.

This could be due to poor feeder bus services, which can be irregular, especially during peak hours. Besides, feeder bus services serve only limited areas.

This is why some property developers go out of their way to link up their projects with the main arteries of the public transportation system. Some erect connecting bridges to train stations from the apartments they build. Others provide feeder bus services to train stations only to those who live in their projects.

Another example is how a property developer recently tied up with an e-hailing bus/van provider, Kumpool, to ease the travel between its project and the surrounding train networks and vice versa.

The project, “edumetro”, in Subang is a mixed development project involving residential, commercial as well as a popular college. The convenience afforded by the tie-up allows for speedy and affordable commutes, compared with Grab, which is more costly.

This is an innovative solution for those who frequent the area, such as students and workers, besides those who live there.

Be that as it may, innovative developers can only do so much as services like Kumpool operate only in selected areas now. The RM50 mil allocated to address the first-and-last-mile transportation woes is only a tiny drop in the ocean to overcome this problem.

The government needs to urgently spend more on this project and expand the coverage to as many places as possible. Only then, will Malaysians, especially those living in the Klang Valley turn to public transportation as a viable option.

The views expressed here are strictly those of James Chai from Subang Jaya.