Making Public Transportation More Affordable

The change in government at the Federal level means that this term is opportune for the Selangor State Government to work together with the Federal Government on matters under Federal authority.

A feature unique to Subang Jaya is the BRT. It is an intra-city line with 5 out of 7 stops stretching across the constituency, namely PJS 7, 9, 11 and a small part of USJ. The BRT presents itself with opportunities. However one main challenge that stunted the maximisation of these opportunities was – its price. Residents might recall how the BRT was labeled as one of the most expensive transport options when the prices first kicked in.

I decided to try my luck – on 13.7.2018 I wrote a letter to Minister YB Anthony Loke to lobby the reduction of the BRT price, arguing that ridership will increase if prices were reduced. I highlighted data from the first two months of the BRT’s operation in June and July 2016 where daily ridership was 11,295 and 12,372 respectively. However, when the prices kicked in, the August 2016 ridership dropped to 4,616. The BRT has a capacity of 43,200 per day. We should work towards those numbers, starting with a price reduction.

After sending that letter, I also paid a courtesy visit to the new Prasarana CEO, Dato’ Mohamed Hazlan after he was appointed in September 2018. At that meeting, I again requested for Prasarana to look into the math and consider a reduction.

Meetings with the Sunway Group also followed. I urged them to also pull their weight as corporates, given that an increase in ridership will benefit businesses and improve the quality of life of residents in that district.

In November 2018, I received a call from the Ministry of Transport to inform that they will be announcing the reduction in BRT prices by 20% for cash fares and further reduction for cashless (Touch n Go) fare. I am informed that Prasarana reached this figure having assessed its financial health and found this to be a suitable reduction that will ensure the viability of the line. So what was RM1.60 for one stop has been reduced to RM1.30 on cash price and RM1.10 on cashless fare. Concession of 50% on the cash price for students, senior citizens and persons living with disability are also available.

Feedback from residents living in PJS 7, 9, 11 have been positive. Some commented that taking the BRT is now cheaper than driving and is now an attractive option.

With the reduction, Prasarana has also achieved its target of a 20% increase in ridership. Prior to the new fares, ridership was hovering at the higher end of 11,000 per day. It has now touched the 14,000s.

Given the growth in population that our towns will be expecting, I believe that public transport is the way to go. But a lot remains to be done for the township to transition from one that is heavily reliant on cars to one premised on public transport.