|"Smart people ride the train." - Anonymous|
For a million or so Komuter, Monorail and LRT daily users, December brings a crappy end to a year that hasn't offered them much to be happy about in the first place. Reason: their fares have not only gone up, in some cases they've gone up by way too much. The monorail ride form Titiwangsa to Raja Chulan, for example is RM3.10 now, up from RM1.60 last week.
Is that acceptable? No, it isn't. If the people at the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) think it is OK, there's something wrong with them.
SPAD chairman Syed Hamid Albar said the increase was necessary because the fares had remained unchanged since 2002. While that's true (and Syed Hamid only took charge five years ago), that little piece of information is not going to make people feel better or lighten their extra load.
If the authorities had done their job and not wait 13 years to move their butts, the fare from Titiwangsa to Raja Chulan would have eased up by maybe 5 sen or 10 sen every year. That would be a lot less painful.
Prasarana's idea of consolation was no better [LRT, Monorail fares to be charged by distance from Dec 2, The Star, Nov 2]. What are they trying to say: that the folks in Keramat, Sentul, and Wangsa Maju should move to Puchong or Bangi to take advantage of the cheaper, longer rides?
We have been clamouring for better public transportation for decades. I think the Government is making great strides in providing that and meeting the people's expectations. Even Puchong is connected by LRT today something nobody thought was going to happen 10 years ago. And we are all looking forward to the MRT because it will change not just the way we move around within the city. it will improve our quality of life as well.
The fare rationalisation is needed, no doubt, but SPAD has to be mroe reasonable and seen to be making more sense. If the government is prepared to review the ERL's new fares (which will affect fewer people, actually, and benefit YTL more than anyone else, I'm quite sure), the more reason for this Administration to take another, closer look at the whole fare rationalisation and make adjustments to ensure that it is fair to all users. Don't forget the KTM Komuter, I think that's a real time-bomb.
Let's not turn our dream into a nightmare, Tan Sri Syed.