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KK sentral parking under-used: DAP
Published on: Friday, January 12, 2018

Kota Kinabalu: Various unimplemented plans to improve the public transportation system may be the reason the Kota Kinabalu (KK) Sentral parking lots are under-utilised, said DAP Sabah Publicity Secretary Phoong Jin Zhe.

He said the parking lots, which can accommodate up to 391 vehicles is meant for the people to park and then take a service to the town centre, which at the same time will ease congestion in the city.

However, only less than ten per cent of its supposed total capacity has been put to use.

"I visited the parking lots for three consecutive days and found less than 30 cars parked in each of those days, even though KK Sentral began operations more than six months ago.

"This might be due to various unimplemented plans, especially regarding the Greater KK Plan.

"I was informed by a City Hall officer recently that only one bus line from the KK Sentral terminal to Hospital Queen Elizabeth (HQE) 1 is functioning, when the terminal can accommodate up to 40 bus services," he said during a visit to the terminal with DAP Sabah Assistant Secretary Tan Lee Fatt, Thursday.

According to Phoong, under the Greater KK Plan, four integrated bus terminals – Northern terminal in Inanam, KK Sentral terminal, Southern terminal in Kepayan and Penampang terminal – were supposed to be completed by the end of 2014.

However, only the KK Sentral and Inanam terminals have been completed while work on the other have not even started.

For the Southern terminal, he believed one of the reasons is because of a land dispute between Department of Civil Aviation of Malaysia (DCA) and City Hall.

He said DCA did not approve of City Hall's plan to relocate the Southern terminal, causing City Hall to search for another site for the terminal's construction.

In addition, he said the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project – which is also part of the Greater KK Plan – is not in place even though it was supposed to have been completed by the end of 2016.

The BRT project aimed to increase public transport delivery and efficiency through various methods such as linking KK Sentral terminal, Inanam terminal and Kepayan terminal, constructing bus stops along designated bus lane as well as replacing old buses with shuttle buses.

He said the Greater KK Plan also had a Transport Information Management System (TIMS) planned but not implemented.

TIMS aimed to optimise transportation efficiency by utilising the geographic information systems (GIS).

"I strongly believe that in the next five years, the building will be under-used because the BRT and Southern terminal are not ready.

"I urge the government to start the construction of BRT and other terminals immediately as the plan is already late by eight to nine years. Do not delay any more so the KK Sentral terminal can be fully utilised," he said.

On a related note, he said according to the World Bank Economic Monitor Report 2015, bus ridership in KK had dropped drastically from 34 per cent in 1996 to three to four per cent in 2012.

He attributed it to the worsening bus system and service which he claimed to have seen no progress in the past 20 years.

Phoong said he had recently waited for a bus at Wisma Merdeka shopping mall for half an hour, commenting that he would have reached his destination by walking in the same amount of time instead of waiting for the bus.

There are some bus drivers who will wait for the bus to be full before moving, when the act is not allowed.

He said in modern bus services, the bus drivers have to move according to schedule and not only when the bus is full.

"Kota Kinabalu's public transportation system has seen no progress in the past 20 years and it is quite sad to see the worsening traffic congestion issue.

"Our Mayor said they will do something about the matter but until now we have not seen any progress.

"My suggestion is for the bus service interval to be cut down from half an hour to at least five to seven minutes, following the standard in other countries.

"I believe that with a modern, clean and punctual bus system, people will go back to using buses again," he said.

Meanwhile, DAP Sabah Assistant Secretary said he had queried City Hall regarding the terminals and they have confirmed that there were supposed to be four of them – KK Sentral terminal, Inanam terminal, Kepayan terminal and Penampang terminal.

He also asked the conditions for operating a bus and was told that there are three which are a bus depot, ticketing and a schedule.

However, he said currently the three conditions are not being met and the system could be improved.

"In the 90s, KK had a bus terminal on a similar standing to Pudu. We had a bus station, a terminal, bus parking lots, many counters and everything was in order.

"I am confused as to why our bus system has deteriorated in the span of 30 to 40 years when it was supposed to have been improved during the years.

"I hope City Hall can quickly solve the issue of congestion and the public transportation system, a suggestion of mine being for the three conditions to be enforced so the public transportation system is more effective," he said. - Jegathisan Sivanesan

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