PRASARANA TAKES PUBLIC TRANSPORT TO NEW HEIGHTS
Armed with his Go Forward Plan (GFP) blue-print, Dato’ Shahril Mokhtar is the man with the plan.
And, the mission is to take Klang Valley’s public transportation services to new heights, to become world class transport providers – an unenviable task, no doubt.
“Easily put, we need a transformation. And, that’s where the GFP comes into place,” says the 39-year old Shahril, who grew up in Petaling Jaya in the era of the mini buses were Kings of The Road, and who does not need any reminders on how poor Klang Valley’s public transport services have been.
As the Group Managing Director of the country’s biggest public transport service operator - Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad (Prasarana), Shahril effectively holds the steering wheel in driving changes into the industry that had for so long beset by cries of frustration and unhappiness amongst the commuters.
“Undoubtedly, we have improved … we’re better by a long way now as compared to before. But, naturally, we need to do much, much more if we want to stay on-track in realizing Vision 2020 of making Malaysia a developed country,” added Shahril, who came to Prasarana in 2010 after helping in the establishment of the Land Public Transportation Commission, or SPAD.
That transformation plan is mapped out by the GFP, which entails a comprehensive framework on strategies and directions of Prasarana, a special purpose company set up by the Government to facilitate, undertake, expedite and operate public infrastructure projects approved by the Government.
Through various exercises of take-overs, Prasarana and its group of companies are asset-owners and operators of Klang Valley’s key public transport providers, namely the Ampang and Kelana Jaya LRT Lines (formerly STAR and PUTRA LRT), KL Monorail and RapidKL bus services, which was established after the take-over of Intrakota and Park May buses and assets.
Apart from Klang Valley’s three core public transport services networks – the LRT, monorail and a total of 166 bus routes, Prasarana also operates the bus services in Penang and a cable car service in Langkawi through its subsidiaries RapidPenang and Panorama Langkawi respectively.
“As you can see, the services of RapidKL, being the operating arm of Prasarana, services practically determine the standard of public transport services for the entire Klang Valley and key areas of Selangor. Hence, we need to set RapidKL on the desired track first and the staff of RapidKL will steer this mission of transforming Klang Valley’s public transport system.
“For that, we introduced the GFP, which is a two-year plan to initiate transformation within the Group. Basically, the GFP is what the GTP (Government Transformation Plan) to the Government … a blueprint for moving forward; a strategic direction to ensure every stakeholder – internal and external – understand our aspirations and ideals,” said Shahril.
Launched on January 24 last year, the GFP carries a vision for Prasarana to be a provider of world class mass public transportation system. It also sets out a mission to increase public transportation usage through Reliable, Affordable, Proficient, Integrated and Dynamic services.
Take out the first letter from each of the five elements, one gets the word RAPID, making the mission synonymous to the brand of ‘RapidKL’ – a trademark which is now owned by Prasarana.
In pursuing that vision and mission, Shahril said that the Group would be guided by a set of five thrusts, which would ensure that the Group would always identify strategies and initiatives in a comprehensive manner and that every facet of the organization would be working towards a single direction.
“The five thrusts are providing service to win customers’ trust, striving for development and operational excellence; striving for financial sustainability; developing strategic synergies for shareholders and having a holistic people development. This, in turn, will be carried out through another set of five guiding principles in the execution of their responsibilities - Integrity and Honesty; Resourcefulness; Openness; Freedom through Responsibility; and Mutual respect.
“As I have repeatedly emphasized to my team and the staff, in keeping up to targets set by the Government under the GTP, we need to improve our level of services and project delivery performance. If we want to have different results, we must change the way we do things within Prasarana.
“Business must not be as usual,” said Shahril, adding that Prasarana staff had responded well to the changes and new standards set by the GFP, which is entering its second and final half in 2012.
Under the GTP, the target set by the Government was for public transport modal share to be increased from 13 percent in 2010 and to 25 percent to 2012 during the morning peak hours.
“In achieving those figures, the formula is simple: we need to make public transport as the preferred mode of transport, which is definitely not the case at the moment. But, Malaysians are changing and more people are taking the public transport …we just need to expand part of the pie.
“We are constantly making improvements and efforts to uplift the standard. We’re working to expand the current rail network through extension of the LRT lines. We are upgrading the stations …stations on the Ampang Line have been upgraded to have universal access facilities.
“We have embarked on massive plans for our monorail service. We will be investing some RM494 million to purchase 12 four-car trains, extending the platforms of the monorail stations and on building a monorail depot.
“We have embarked on fleet expansion to improve service frequencies and bigger capacity; and this fleet expansion programme does not only apply on the monorail trains; but also purchase of new buses and to purchase 20 new sets of trains from our Ampang LRT Line.
“We are building more cars parks to encourage people to park and ride and provide more convenience for the LRT commuters. We are building covered walkways for the comfort of our commuters to move around. We are enhancing our bicycle racks facilities at our LRT stations and accommodating commuters to cycle to work and doing their daily routine.
“We are improving our ticketing system and in fact, allowing integration and seamless travel for the LRT and monorail commuters. This will be later extended to our bus services by the middle of the year,”Shahril said, adding that Prasarana had also embarked on major projects in upgrading the standard of its bus services.
Apart from purchases of new buses, Prasarana had also embarked on its Fleet Tracking System project, which will allow the operators to check the movement of its buses while providing advice to commuters on the ground through its Public Information Service (PIS) panels.
In ensuring quality service, Shahril said the organisation works on strict KPIs (Key Performance Index) with all its rail and bus operators encouraged to secure ISO certification.
“We believe that we are the only land public transport company in the country that does Customer Satisfaction Survey. We had one in August last year and conducted a recent in February and it showed improvement in our deliveries,”Shahril said, adding that from a percentage 67.9 percent, it grew to 69.3 percent.
“I regard this as very significant as we are closing on the world class standard, which traditionally stands at 80 percent,”added Shahril.
PRASARANA’S KEY LIST OF INITATIVES IN BRINGING TRANSPORT CONVENIENCE FOR THE PEOPLE
1. Introduction of Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) integrated ticketing system to ensure seamless travel within all transportation network under Prasarana. The two LRT lines were integrated since November last year and extended to KL Monorail last month.
2. Introduction of Bus Express Transit –operates six of eight RapidBET routes, introduced in stages since January 2010.
3. Introduction of Lady Bus –15 routes introduced in January 2011.
4. Building multi-storey car parks to facilitate people using the LRT. Currently, under construction are at Gombak and Ampang. Gombak project started in June 2010 and expected to be completed in the first quarter of 2012.
5. Building covered walkways for the comfort and convenience of commuters to walk about. The projects are at LRT and Monorail stations i.e. Bandaraya, Pasar Seni, Hang Tuah, PWTC, Plaza Rakyat and Sultan Ismail.
6. Expansion of bus fleet for RapidKL. This allows wider coverage of services. 470 new buses with Universal Access facilities now in operations.
7. Purchase of new four-car trains for Kelana Jaya LRT in 2010 which increase frequency and cut waiting time for passengers up to less than 2.5 minutes during peak hours.
8. Introduction of the Fleet Tracking System to provide better service and more convenience for bus users in planning their journey. Scheduled to be in full operations in May.
9. Upgrading of Ampang LRT stations to provide universal access facilities.
10. Fleet expansion of KL Monorail with the purchase of new trains, scheduled for delivery in November 2012.
11. Expansion of KL Monorail stations to facilitate four-car trains.
12. LRT Line Extension Project which included purchase of 20 sets of new trains for Ampang Line.