To: The Principal, Methodist Boys’ Secondary School
Date: 8th August 2018
Title: Reasons for the lack of interest in the use of public transportation
A survey was conducted among 200 students of Methodist Boys’ Secondary School to determine the reason why not many students were keen nor interested in using the public transportation services provided in Malaysia. Based on the findings of the survey, there are 3 main reasons as to why these students lack interest in doing so.
The first reason given is the punctuality of the public transportation. Services such as the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and the bus network, provided by the government-owned company Prasarana Group under the brand of RapidKL, frequently arrive behind schedule. This is caused by the company’s inability to deploy the services according to the stipulated schedule and its failure to adjust it based on demand. This has caused many problems among the users of public transport, especially students. If the public transportation is late, students who count on public transport to send them to school every day are punished for being late to school, despite it being not their fault. Because of this, students are forced to rely on their parents to send them to school before the bell rings. This reliance however, in turn, troubles the parents because they are forced to wake up earlier than usual to send their child to school to prevent him from being punished again. Quite simply, one problem leads to another.
The next reason given by the students is the expensive fares. Students complained that the fares charged to use services such as buses and the Kuala Lumpur Monorail are much too expensive, especially those who do not come from wealthy families. These fares are downright ridiculous and have become a burden to them as the pocket money they receive from their parents are barely enough to cover the cost of transport, and yet students are forced to use these services on an almost daily basis. As a result, some students are forced to starve just to make sure they have enough money to go home after school. A prime example of the outrageous fares charged by concession companies is the fare to take the monorail from Imbi station to Hang Tuah station. This journey alone costs more than RM1 one way, despite the fact that the stations are barely 600 meters apart.
The third reason given is the condition of the cars and trains. The vehicles used for the purpose of public transportation are in terrible condition and are in dire need of servicing. The respondents pointed out that some common sights in these decade-old machines are damaged and torn seats, broken or downright missing safety belts, windows with holes, rusted beams and torn straps. Despite all this, the companies in charge of these services seem to be in no hurry to replace them. The condition of these vehicles not only affects the reputation of the company but also pose a safety risk to its passengers. For example, missing safety belts could cause serious injuries and even death in a case where the vehicle is involved in a collision.
Some suggestions should be pitched forward to encourage more students to use public transportation. Firstly, the existing scheduling system for public transportation like buses and trains must be revamped to be more flexible when adjustments need to be made. This will greatly improve the timeliness and efficiency of the existing system and prevent delays from happening. Secondly, operational costs must be reduced. The government can offer subsidies for the purchase of petrol or locally made spare parts for vehicles. The savings earned from these subsidies can then be passed on to the consumer, this leads to a much more affordable fare, much to the relief of students that come from poor families. In fact, the concept of passing on savings has been adopted worldwide by numerous companies as a way to reduce operational costs and increase customer satisfaction. A good example of a company that has done so IKEA, a Swedish furniture company.
Relevant authorities must also take action on the vehicles mentioned above that are in desperate need of repair. The government should utilise the national budget to fix or replace the ageing vehicles currently in use to carry passengers. The safety of the passenger must always be the number one priority, continuing to use these vehicles in their current condition would put the lives of the passengers at risk. By fixing or replacing these vehicles, the passenger would be saved from potential danger.
It is hoped that the above suggestions will be able to convince students to use the public transportation in Malaysia more frequently.
(Gordon Tai, School Captain)
The current government is working towards the improvement of the existing transportation system. Initiatives to replace the existing buses with the new Enviro500 have been in progress since 2015, and have been picked up by the new government smoothly. Meanwhile, we have also saw the reintroduction of the monthly fare pass, priced at RM100. Indeed, it is hoped that this momentum will continue on for years to come.Gordon