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PHASE 1 of the MRT 2 (Sungai Buloh–Serdang–Putrajaya/SSP Line) is now complete and has started operations yesterday, whereas Phase 2 (Kampung Batu-Putrajaya) is expected start operations in January 2023.

MRT 3 has yet to commence works.

There would be an “outer” ring rail link or “loop” line for Kuala Lumpur by next year, which intersects with the Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line (MRT 1) and MRT 2. This provides greater connectivity to commuters and travellers in the capital city and Greater Kuala Lumpur.

But emphasis on public transport infrastructure should move from rail to bus.

Improved connectivity all around Malaysia – not just Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley – should be the main focus of upcoming public transport projects.

Buses do not have limitations. It is us who place limitations on the bus network.

Rail has intrinsic constraints, such as its inability to access remote destinations and service every populated area. This is due to the grid system that prevents/pre-empts network density and accessibility on a cost-effective basis.

Closely related to this is agility and flexibility in terms of pick-up and drop-off points, which makes the bus network superior to rail, especially when it comes to first-mile, last-mile connectivity.

We need a paradigm shift; one in which the rail and bus networks are differentiated only by the type of operation – i.e. road and track, respectively – and availability.

We need to elevate and upgrade the image of the bus network to be on a par with rail. We need to go further than just integrating the journey routes of the bus network with rail via feeder buses.

We also need to rethink a bus rapid transit (BRT) system, in which buses deployed along “primary routes” could integrate with those along “secondary routes” for first-mile, last-mile connectivity. Primary route buses would serve as feeder buses and seamless “integrators” for secondary route buses.

In an Emir Research article titled An efficient bus network – critical in breaking the traffic gridlock (June 10, 2022), it is suggested that the previously cancelled Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley Bus Transformation Plan (BTP) be revitalised and revamped according to recent public transport developments.

Based on the BTP model, it is envisaged and envisioned that there should be a “central spine” – the Federal Highway – for intercity commuting. There should also be dedicated bus lanes on both sides.

There is also a need for dedicated lanes for the secondary routes (though not possible for all roads).

Emir Research would like to recommend policy measures to improve the bus network in Malaysia.

Upgrade bus stops, construct more terminals, etc.

Firstly, there is a need to upgrade the bus network to be on a par with rail.

We need to ensure all bus stops in city centres nationwide are upgraded into mini-terminals, which are accessible via automatic sliding doors and glass-covered to provide comfort and protection. These mini-terminals must also have their own hotspots for Wi-Fi connectivity.