It was during my time in London that the authorities introduced Congestion Charges. It was successful, but its recent extension has caused some controversies. In fact, the paradox was that it was so successful that the revenues obtained from congestion charges fell short of its initial projection.
I don’t think anyone opposes any move to reduce traffic jams in KL. But I don’t think it should start next year, as proposed by DBKL. Malaysian motorists already have to bear with high car prices, a recent increase in petrol prices and tolls on many roads. At the same time, our public transportation still falls short: Putra LRT is quite efficient – but it’s already facing overcapacity. KTM Komuter is inefficient. Integration between the different systems is still far from satisfactory. Other cities that have some form of road pricing or another such as London and Singapore has a more extensive public transport than Malaysia.
There is no denying that there has been some improvements. RapidKL has led to better integration between Putra, Star and the bus system. RapidKL has also improved the bus services. Furthermore, the government is planning an extension on the current system, to be completed in 2010.
I would suggest that any congestion charges to be introduced following 2010 with better integration and a more efficient KTM Komuter to boot. Otherwise Malaysian motorists would suffer yet again. Hopefully, the congestion charges should be administered by RapidKL (and not another private concessionaire!) to be channeled towards more investment in the public transportation system.