Tuesday, 22 February 2011

So SPAD which is which a MRT(Mass Rapid Transit) or BRT(Bus Rapid Transit)

The MRT plan is up for view folks, but there is another alternative proposed by a transport expert who says that buses are the way to go, read and compare:

Buses can replace MRT cheaply, says Transit
By Clara Chooi February 21, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 21 — The Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) should be shelved in favour of a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system, which can achieve the same target of reducing traffic congestion but at a fraction of the cost, says a transport advocacy group.

Association for the Improvement of Mass Transit (Transit) chairman Muhammad Zulkarnain Hamzah told The Malaysian Insider that the government's claim that every developed city needed an MRT system was an exaggeration as even in Singapore, statistics showed that passenger travels via the city-state's underground rail system paled in comparison to the usage of buses.

According to Singapore's figures from 2010, Zulkarnain noted that only 1.9 million of passenger trips were recorded in the city's MRT stations while three million trips were made by bus.

“So meanwhile, we want an MRT system that SPAD (Land Public Transport Commission) said in its public display and roadshow could ferry some 60,000 passengers per hour but have they thought of how the trips can be further dispersed by means of using the buses?” he said in an interview.

The traffic consultant explained that the BRT would entail minor development of the present main road arteries where dedicated bus lines would facilitate the increase of passenger flow from one point to another and at the same time decrease traffic congestion.

Zulkarnain said at the macro level, rapid transit lines could be allocated on roads leading towards the city and looping the Klang Valley region.

At the same time, he added, the system would be fully integrated to serve the local transit lines to facilitate passenger travels from their homes to suburban centres and to the present rail links like the LRT and from thereon to the city centre.

“Because if you look at the Government Transformation Plan (GTP), they plan for high-capacity transit lines for the city centre and within these nodes, they will hit the suburban city centres... but the feeder buses will only serve those travelling towards the city centre. So why don't we just fix that?

“The feeder buses, instead of merely functioning as feeder buses towards the MRT stations, they can also function as local rapid transit systems whereby people from the housing areas, who want to travel to the suburban centres and not just to Kuala Lumpur, can use these buses,” he said.

Zulkarnain added that the construction of a new rail system would also be significantly more costly than developing a BRT.

He estimated that the cost of construction for 1km of an underground MRT rail could reach up to RM1 billion while 1km of the BRT would only cost up to RM20 million.

He cited the example of the BRT in Bogota, Columbia, which records passenger travels of more than 20,000 people per direction per hour.

In comparison, if the lanes were purely dedicated for cars, especially single occupancy vehicles, a maximum of only 2,000 people per direction per hour can be reached, he said.

“So if you dedicate lanes for buses or even trams, you can achieve 10 times more of what you can achieve with the car. And meanwhile, you can build 1km of an underground MRT but with the BRT, you can build at least 50km.

“The BRT can achieve the standards that the MRT hopes to achieve but at a fraction of the cost,” he claimed.

Zulkarnain said that the BRT could be developed on high-speed traffic highways like the Federal Highway, Silk, or even the New Pantai Expressway.

Read more here.

Less than a day after the BRT comment, the EIA Consultant for the proposed MRT came up with this:

Buses cannot replace MRT, says EIA report
By Clara Chooi February 22, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — An alternate bus system cannot replace the proposed Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) as it is likely to fail the desired passenger ferrying rate, according to the MRT’s key report.

The advocated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is seen to struggle to reach 30,000 passengers per hour in any direction as analysed by the controversial project’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report.

ERE Consultancy Group said in its EIA report that the bus solution would require 90-passenger vehicles to run uninterrupted nearly every 10 seconds — to match the MRT’s 30,000 passengers per hour per direction (PPHPD).

“The BRT proposals are not however long term solutions which can realistically offer sufficient capacity and level of service to deliver the expected demand levels and meet modal shift target,” the firm reported in Section 4 of its detailed EIA.

The EIA was prepared for the government’s multibillion ringgit proposed MRT project, which is touted as the most expensive construction project ever undertaken in Malaysia with initial estimates totalling over RM36 billion.

In the new rail system, the government aims to achieve a transport mode ratio between public and private transport of 40:60 from 18:82 due to an estimated increase from the present eight million trips made each day in the Kuala Lumpur metropolitan area to 10 million trips by 2020.

With the 40:60 transport mode ratio, it is targeted that at least four million trips are made via public transport by 2020 while the remaining six million trips are through private vehicles.

The EIA also explained that the mode share for rail use in the Klang Valley was expected to increase five-fold by 2020 from 400,000 trips per day in 2009 to 2 million trips in 2020.

It added that the MRT’s first line, the Sungai Buloh – Kajang route, is estimated to have a daily ridership of 442,000 passengers in its opening year, expected to be in 2016.

The EIA report was released on February 14 and is presently up for public viewing at Department of Environment (DOE) offices nationwide and several public libraries until March 15.

The Malaysian Insider reported yesterday a suggestion by transport advocates Association for the Improvement of Mass Transit or “Transit” that the ambitious MRT project could be replaced by the BRT.

The group’s chairman Muhammad Zulkarnain Hamzah said that a well-developed BRT could achieve the same aim as the MRT but at a fraction of the cost.

As an example, he said that the cost to construct 1km of an underground MRT rail could amount to RM1 billion while 1km of a BRT line would only cost up to RM20 million.

But the EIA found that the BRT, as one of the project options considered as an alternative to the MRT, was only viable to serve as an “intermediate mode” to facilitate the MRT.

This, the report said, was to help provide the needed momentum change towards public transport in a relatively quick and low cost manner for the later implementation of higher capacity models.

The report noted that in the government’s National Key Results Areas (NKRA), there were plans proposed for the establishment of new prioritised radial bus corridors, including the implementation of the BRT.

“The BRT is appropriate for development of public transport usage in corridors which currently have low public transport share.

“In the Kuala Lumpur context, the BRT should be considered as ‘intermediate mode’,” the report said.

It explained that using the BRT in Malaysia was not realistic as in order to serve the 30,000 PPHPD target, “30m bi-articulated” BRT buses running at 30-second intervals would be needed, as well as two dedicated bus lanes in each direction and a central station lane.

This, it said, meant that highways would have to be as wide as five lanes, much like the BRT system used in Bogota, Columbia.

When suggesting the BRT, Zulkarnain had cited figures from Bogota’s BRT as an example.

He told The Malaysian Insider that Bogota’s BRT buses record passenger travels of more than 20,000 PPHPD but if the BRT lanes were dedicated merely to cars, especially single occupancy vehicles, a maximum of only 2,000 PPHPD can be reached.

“It is not feasible to allocate this level of at-grade capacity in the city areas which the radial service must directly connect to,” the EIA report said.

It also said that the average speed of the BRT was considerably lower than the MRT, meaning that over longer corridors, travel time would be significantly longer.

In its report, ERE estimated that BRT buses, with an average passenger load of 90 passengers per car, travelled at a speed between 20 and 30 kilometres per hour (kph) while a four-carriage MRT, with an average passenger load of 250 per car, averaged between 35 and 70kph.

The EIA added that the quality of service with the BRT was not as high as the use of trains and commuters were likelier to opt for the MRT instead of hopping on the bus.

“The scenario of using bus services tightly packed with passengers (standing room only) as would be required at this level of demand is not likely to attract affluent car users onto public transport, which is an essential element to impact modal shift,” said the report.

In the same section of the EIA, ERE also listed street trams, the monorail system and the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) systems as other project options to the MRT.

The report noted that street trams was likely an inappropriate option as passenger demand would far surpass the mode’s capacity and land in the city centre was too constrained to facilitate the construction of tram lines.

Similarly, the report found that the city’s present monorail system would not adequately operate on the corridors that the MRT aims to serve.

For the LRT, the report said that the present rail system would not be able to facilitate an eventual capacity of 40,000 PPHPD, which is targeted with the MRT.

There was no reason given.

Read the rest here.

What does TS Syed Hamid of SPAD has to say, shouldn't the public be given a chance to hear a discussion in a forum on the two systems? Shouldn't the views of a transport expert take precedence over a EIA expert?

 It look likely the the Government will proceed with the costlier MRT but as the population grows and construction cost escalates, I think it is likely that there will be a hybrid of the MRT and BST option in the near future.

1 comment:

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