Sunday, June 22, 2008

Fewer motorists entering KL

Sunday June 22, 2008 THESTAR


KUALA LUMPUR: Fewer motorists have been driving into the city since fuel prices shot up early this month.

Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) recorded a 2% drop, according to statistics recorded by its Integrated Transport Information System.

Its Urban Transportation Department director Dr Leong Siew Mun noted an average 561,000 cars entering the city on a normal day in May, whereas its latest figures showed a 2% decrease.

“However, it is still too early to evaluate the impact of the fuel price hike on this aspect as the people are still adjusting to the new price,” he said.

Jam-free: Usually Jalan Imbi, in the Bukit Bintang area of Kuala Lumpur, is jammed, especially during rush hour. This picture, taken at 5.30pm after a spell of rain on Thursday, shows nearly empty roads in front of Times Square, perhaps indicating that motorists are driving out less following the increase in fuel prices.

On the other hand, RapidKL’s communications general manager Ebi Azly Abdullah said the company had observed an increase in the number of passengers on its bus and train networks following the fuel price increase.

He added that the company was conducting a proper study to find out the exact percentage of increase.

“The company would like to advise members of the public to take public transport to save cost. They can park their cars at the LRT stations, take a taxi or even cycle there,” he said.

Retiree K. H. Tham from Subang said that he and four of his friends had turned to the bus whenever they made trips into the city.

“We choose off-peak hours so there is not much inconvenience. The trip costs us RM4 each and we are applying for the senior citizen cards that give us a 50% discount.

“We usually need to wait 15 to 20 minutes for the bus to come. Whether or not this is acceptable is secondary, as I don’t think there’s a better option,” he said.

Bank executive Lim Mei Leng, who drives from Subang to Dang Wangi to work, said she and her colleagues were considering switching to public transport.

PLUS Expressways Bhd expects traffic volume to drop following the 41% hike in petrol prices but believes this is only temporary.

Traffic volume on the expressways recorded a strong growth of 7.7% last year and, according to PLUS chairman Tan Sri Mohd Sheriff Mohd Kassim, growth for the first four months of this year was still high.

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