Public welcomes BRT system for Iskandar Malaysia

Public engagements and detailed study being conducted before finalisation of design.

17 January, ISKANDAR MALAYSIA – In preparation for commencement of construction of Iskandar Malaysia Bus Rapid Transit (IMBRT) in 2019, IMBRT have started with a series of engagements to keep the public informed of the project and its development. Community Outreach has begun post launch, targeted at community leaders, local authorities and agencies as well as the public, and will be ongoing well into construction phase. IMBRT was launched by Prime Minister, YAB Dato’ Sri Mohd Najib Tun Abdul Razak on 7 October 2017 at the Johor Berkemajuan Expo.

To complement this, Public Display at various venues will roll out by the end of Q1 2018. Slated to be positioned at key locations with high traffic, this Public Display is intended to also attain input and feedback from the public on the IMBRT project.

In addition to this, in November 2017, the first round of Focus Group Discussions, open to the public, were conducted. Attendees were made up of a wide spectrum of those living in Iskandar Malaysia and included current bus riders, commuters who work in Singapore, government officials, academicians, entrepreneurs and social activists. These sessions resulted in various concerns and ideas being raised, which will form valuable input to the IMBRT team moving forward. Snapshots of their feedback include:

Tunku Amirrul Tengku Asmara – PHD student at UTM, Bus user, town planner

“BRT is a comprehensive bus system, something new, high-technology. For example, in Korea they differentiate the designated lanes by painting those lanes a distinct colour from the rest of the road. What is important to me is time, the function, coverage – elements of culture need to added in. If you can achieve that I think people won’t need to buy cars.”

Nik Mohd Azuan Ahmad Rostam – Ministry of Youth and Sports

“Realistically, my journey to work daily should take one hour, with the cost of fuel increasing we do need a new public transport system. However, for it to work all agencies involved need to play their role.”

Pu Wah Jian – Lives in Larkin, works in Kulai

“I didn’t take bus because the system is not convenient. Many school children in Singapore took public transport because it’s safe and convenient. Education, educate them how to use it. Create awareness. We need to have an emergency plan if the bus broke down.”

Siti Nurhazwani Mohd Zaini – Consultant

“BRT will ease mobility of the public especially youth. With the available apps, the public will know when buses will run and where they need to be. If facilities like baby seats can be incorporated alongside stroller areas, this would alleviate the burden of mothers travelling with children and encourage more of them to take the bus.”

Hoon Ching Ping – Regular bus rider

” Increase frequency of buses in JB area with real time information on buses and easy parking at the stations.”

Chandrima Kukhopadhyay – PhD Candidate, MIT

“Iskandar BRT will be the first large-scale, modernised public transport project in Iskandar region. Besides improving the efficiency of public transport, BRT will have the flexibility of bus service to meet the first mile-last mile connectivity, which is important for low-density sprawled development in Johor. BRT is more than a mere public transport mode, and contributes towards urban transformation. In the long run, the project will contribute towards the goal of Low Carbon Society Blueprint of Iskandar region, which includes low carbon living.”

Mohd Ridzwan – Commuter

“I use the public transport to commute back and forth to Singapore for work. I rely on the Causeway Link, at 5:15am I take their bus and am in the office by 6:30 latest. I leave work by 6:00 pm and usually reach home by 8:00. The cost daily is RM 19. If BRT can do better and convert the 10k bikers (daily commuters) to take the bus by offering extensive operating hours, a safe environment equipped with CCTVs, reliable service as well as ease of payment method, and covered walkways leading up to the stations as far as 400 m, that would be a welcome change.”

Prof Dr Mohd Idrus Hj Mohd Masirin– UTHM

“Parking facilities provided and affordability of fares is very important. Passenger friendly – taking into consideration Persons with Disabilities, elderly, kids. If you want to make the passenger numbers grow, show that your terminal and services and landscape and transportation is passenger friendly.”

As the input of end users are valued and vital to the success of the project, more Focus Group Discussions are planned for 2018, commencing Q1.

Rudyanto Azhar, Head of Iskandar Malaysia Bus Rapid Transit (IMBRT) said that BRT is slated for operations by 2021, promises a safe, efficient, reliable and cost-effective mode of public transportation, accessible to 90% of the Iskandar Malaysia population.

“What sets the BRT apart from bus services presently available is the introduction of the dedicated lane for the buses as well as the utilisation of greener, environmentally cleaner high capacity buses.

“Other features include the pre-boarding fare system to expedite transit time, as well as platform level boarding to ease mobility, especially for strollers, wheelchairs and the physically challenged. All of which contribute to a more efficient travel experience,” he added.

The BRT system is unique as it is flexible, easily adaptable and upgradeable – some stretches can incorporate dedicated lanes, whilst others can include mixed traffic, at grade or even elevated based on requirements or constraints. To ensure smooth flow of traffic, lane replacement or road widening will be conducted in earmarked areas. However, the public can be assured that disruption will be kept at a minimal where possible as construction progresses in stages. For this, a simulation of traffic flow will be performed on major stretches of the trunk routes.

Next steps include conducting detailed design studies, where all factors are to be considered and deliberated, to ascertain the BRT service objective for the Rakyat can still be achieved – especially reduced travel time into the city by an average of 15-20 mins.

The Chief Executive of IRDA, YBhg Datuk Ismail Ibrahim emphasises the significance of IMBRT to Iskandar Malaysia, “The BRT project is built with the Rakyat in mind – it will alleviate congestion by reducing vehicles on the roads, thus improving connectivity, as well as providing access to better jobs and opportunities not limited to education and healthcare. This in turn will improve quality of life, addressing high living costs and move towards our aspirations of being a Low Carbon Society.”

He adds,” Since its inception in 1990, 165 cities across the globe have implemented BRT, with 121 more cities in construction and planning stages. This includes Iskandar Malaysia. It is part of our plan towards becoming a strong and sustainable Metropolis of International standing. To be a frontrunner, we need a reliable, modern, systematic and green mode of public transport to support our growth. BRT is the way of the future.”

Aside from an effective and reliable mode of public transport, IMBRT will also bring with it career opportunities. The Rakyat can look forward to up to 2,000 job opportunities with IMBRT – from bus drivers to administration and station staff.

IMBRT will announce the dates of the ongoing focus group discussions nearer the time. In the interim, for queries or requests for knowledge sharing, reach out to us at imbrt@irda.com.my.

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