It looks like city slickers will soon have to forking out a bit more moolah to access city roads!
According to a The Edge Markets report dated 5th October 2016 (Wednesday), the Kuala Lumpur City Hall (otherwise known as DBKL) is working on implementing a congestion charging system in the city centre after the mass rapid transit (MRT) Line 1 commences operations.
This is coming after DBKL introduced new parking rates in July this year for DBKL-owned parking bays within the central business district (CBD) in Kuala Lumpur, which saw parking charges increase by 150%.
For the uninitiated, other major cities in the world that have introduced similar systems include London and Singapore. The idea is to charge most motor vehicles entering/operating within a congestion zone.
In Singapore, the system (which was first implemented in 1975) has led to a reduction in traffic, a decline in vehicle crashes, an increase in commuters using public transport, and a significant reduction in air pollution. Currently, Singapore uses the Electronic Road Pricing (ERP) system, which is completely automatic and allows passing the control gantries at normal speeds. The charge for passing through a gantry depends on the location and time, the peak hour being the most expensive.
According to DBKL’s Urban Planning Department senior deputy director Nik Mastura Diyana Nik Mohamad, the pricing for each vehicle has yet to be finalised. The Edge Financial Daily quoted her as saying, “We will implement (road pricing). That will be the last initiative to reduce congestion in the city We are still looking into the details. We have done a few engagements with the people not only on pricing, but more on how to transform our public transportation in Kuala Lumpur.”
Nik Mastura Diyana added that the road pricing plan has been included in the Kuala Lumpur Structure Plan 2020, but she didn’t confirm if there would be an exemption for carpools, taxis, or buses.
The MRT line between Sungai Buloh and the Semantan station in Damansara Heights is scheduled to begin operations in December, while the line between the Semantan Station and Kajang will be operations in July 2017.
Nik Mastura Diyana said that the authorities have been mulling over implementing a policy to restrain traffic in the city centre since the 1980s, to discourage people from using private cars in the city centre to reduce traffic congestion. “We can’t implement it now as there is no alternative for the people,” she explained.
What do you guys think of the plan to introduce a congestion charging system? Is it a “necessary evil” for a positive change in the long run? Let us know your thoughts. Leave a comment below!
Source: The Edge Markets.