Ampang-Kuala Lumpur Elevated Highway (AKLEH)

The Kuala Lumpur City Hall’s (DBKL) plan to exact a congestion charge on private vehicles from 2017 onwards hasn’t exactly garnered a positive reaction, particularly from city planners. According to The Sun, the Malaysian Institute of Planners (MIP) has said that such a move should only be done as a “last resort,” and that other measures should be put in place first to tackle traffic congestion.

President Md Nazri Mohd Noordin told the English language daily that the authorities must prioritise multi-prong strategies before moving onto urban road pricing. “For a start, the authorities [have] to do it incrementally and not jump into it because it won’t work in such a way,” he said.

He added that although many cities such as London, Singapore, Seoul and Barcelona have successfully implemented congestion charges, “good public transport infrastructure, services and pedestrian-friendly facilities must be in place before introducing such measure.”

Additionally, Nazri also listed adequate Park n’ Ride facilities in suburban areas, along with the introduction of a tram network on the city’s roads, as some of the more suitable ways to reduce congestion.

PJ Traffic Jam

“I think trams are a feasible option and a good addition to what we already have in KL for internal circulation. When you have trams, it would take up space on the road and this in turn will reduce cars,” said Nazri, adding the decrease in cars on the road will also cut down on pollution.

Nazri said that he hoped the city hall can take more than a few pointers from Singapore, which provides adequate facilities for pedestrians despite a similarly hot climate.

In response, Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) CEO Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah said that the government is indeed not pursuing the implementation of a congestion charge as a top priority at this time.

“We need to work closely with the city hall as we need to put in ample infrastructures first before implementing a congestion charge in KL. We also need to further improve the bus and taxi services in the inner circle of the city,” he said.