By Raveen Jeyakumar
The government should improve the quality of the public bus system throughout Malaysia so that more people will use buses as their primary mode of transport.
Malaysians prefer to use their own cars rather than public buses due to the below-par quality of public bus services.
As a result, too many cars clog our roads, and that creates problems such as severe traffic congestion (especially in cities), a higher risk of road accidents, air pollution, global warming due to higher greenhouse gas emissions, and driver stress.
If the public bus system is expanded and made more efficient and effective, then the public will be encouraged to use buses as their main mode of transport instead of private motor vehicles.
The government should take several measures to encourage more people to use the buses:
- Construct and provide more public buses and expand public bus services throughout Malaysia to increase the frequency of bus services so that passengers do not have to wait long at bus stops or depots
- Ensure that bus operators and drivers always follow the set travel schedule and are never late when starting their journey
- Upgrade and clean the buses and old and dirty bus stations and terminals throughout Malaysia so that the public will feel safer and more comfortable when using buses
- Use buses powered by electricity or hydrogen gas so that public bus services become environmentally friendlier
- Charge cheaper bus fares at the start of this initiative. When more people use the buses more often, parking fees for cars in cities and towns can be gradually raised. Raise the import taxes of foreign cars. Such measures will encourage the public to use public buses rather than their own cars
- Give priority to public bus services as the main mode of public transport in Malaysia, instead of elevated light rail or mass rapid transit systems. Improving the public buses systems will be more than enough for the needs of our cities and towns, compared to elevated light rail or mass rapid transit services, which are unnecessary and much more expensive to build and run
As the population of Malaysia increases, the number of cars on the road will rise, further worsening the above problems.
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So the government should implement proactive measures to improve the quality of the public bus system throughout Malaysia so that more people will use buses as their primary mode of transport.
Raveen Jeyakumar, a 29-year-old in Ipoh with an interest in environmental issues, is an Aliran volunteer