Iskandar: Let’s quickly have a BRT working shall we?

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First of all, I still think more links would be useful FIRST if Iskandar is to be the choice for more middle income Singaporeans or Malaysians with Singapore PRs. Not many would be crazy enough to use 4 hours daily just to travel to work and back. Moving one step further though, for Iskandar to be a working place, then the public transportation has to be improved. Else, we will face jams worst than Kuala Lumpur. There seems to be a solution in sight. It may potentially have a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system. Total cost is likely to be lower than RM3bil according to  Iskandar Regional Development Authority (Irda) chief executive Datuk Ismail Ibrahim.

The lower than RM3 billion INVESTMENT for Iskandar covers infrastructure cost for building the line, operation cost including buses and several other application costs. It covers the shortfall during initial few years as well. Anyway first few years is definitely a loss anyway. In fact most of all public transportation are being run at a loss anyway as it is for the PUBLIC. The BRT will cover around 90 percent of Iskandar and will be developed over three phases. First phase should be operational by 2020. The funding would most probably come from public-private resources while it is hoped that the federal government will finance the infrastructure part. For the operations part, it will be funded by private sector’s participation. Ismail hopes that priority is given to the existing private companies in Iskandar Malaysia, especially bus operators with good track record.

I still think 2020 needs to be fast-tracked as this is just Phase One. Then again, perhaps it’s best that the High Speed Rail and the Rail Transit System gets more visibility FIRST. After all, BRT is a great complementary system but it may not be the catalyst for more movements into Iskandar first. Come on, even for iskandar to be extremely successful as a new regional educational hub, we cannot hope that all the students would be driving. It will only create more jams compared to currently. I am not sure how many international students would love to drive and get jammed for hours everyday. Happy following.

written on 23 June 2016

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