Expert moots tram system as public transport

This is to empower and develop the local rail industry, as well as to improve the effectiveness of the transport system in cities and towns


THE public transport system in Malaysia was at one time heavily dependent on buses for the daily mobility of the people and it is still evolving with current developments.

The country’s urban transport system, according to Prof Datuk Dr Mohd Idrus Mohd Masirin, began with the bus service in the early 60s before private transport became widespread among Malaysians in the 70s and 80s until today.

The Universiti Tun Hussein Onn Malaysia Civil Engineering and Environment Faculty lecturer said simultaneously, the public transport system expanded to accommodate the growing number of people, especially in major towns and cities with rail and transit transport systems.

Taking the example of Kuala Lumpur (KL), he said the rail transport system began with Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTM), the light rail transit (LRT) and KL Monorail before the introduction of the mass rapid transit (MRT) to facilitate the movement of people from sub-urban areas to the city centre more efficiently.

“The LRT system and (KL) Monorail are internal city systems, while the MRT and KTM, as well as the electric train service connect the cities with sub-urban centres,” he told Bernama in Seremban yesterday.

Mohd Idrus — who is also the Malaysian Academic Association Congress president — said to empower and develop the local rail industry, as well as to improve the effectiveness of the transport system in cities and towns, the time has come for the government to introduce a tram system.

He said it is also to complement the existing public transport in the country, as well as to improve the mobility of city residents.

“The tram system proposed should have a signalling system and operation centre control using the latest digital technology.

“Even though, at a glance it looks like the LRT, but its size and suitability using existing road systems made trams to be seen as a substitute for the bus system. The tram system can also be integrated with all other public transport,” he said.

On March 6, the Land Public Transport Agency was quoted as saying that the tram system would be introduced in Putrajaya, Cyberjaya, Kajang and Bangi, Selangor.

The sustainability of a city, said Mohd Idrus, depends on strategic planning and implementation to create an effective and sustainable public transport system.

“There are several major factors in setting up a sustainable rail transport system which depends on the affordability of consumers, safety of passengers, effectiveness of the system, and the cost ratio on benefits of the system in the short and long term,” he said.

Apart from that, the usage of new technologies is in line with the development of the Industry 4.0 to establish an efficient and competitive tram system.

“The more important matter is that the players in the transport industry, especially the rail, should be more proactive in improving delivery services for the people,” he said.