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The government should work towards improving the infrastructure and facilities in the public transport system. -NSTP/File pic

KUALA LUMPUR: The government’s announcement that there will be no toll increase at Projek Lebuhraya Utara-Selatan (PLUS) expressways for the next 38 years has been warmly received by highway users.

The motorists said the reduction of toll rates by 18 per cent was a reasonable move.

Private sector worker Fatin Ainaa Ahmad Faudzi, 32, who uses NKVE daily to commute between her Setia Alam home and her workplace in Sentul, said she was happy with the announcement.

“I spend RM8.80 daily just for the toll and with the toll reduction, I can save some money.”

Government servant Nur Hafizah Md Hussein, 36, said the people would look forward to the toll reduction to be implemented as soon as possible.

“I believe many PLUS highway users are happy with this announcement as it will cut their travelling expenses. Nonetheless, I hope the highway maintenance will not be compromised.”

Hafizah said she had to fork out RM7.80 daily to travel to work from Shah Alam to Cyberjaya.

However, Malaysian Public Transport Users Association president Ajit Johl said the move did not favour policies to encourage the use of public transport.

“The government has spent billions of taxpayers’ money to improve public transport in the country, so the move did not seem justified.”

The reduction of toll rates, he added, would only encourage people to use private vehicles.

“In a way, this harks back to the 1980s mentality, where a person’s status is judged by vehicle ownership.”

Ajit Johl

He also questioned the lack of policies to encourage the people to make public transport a preferred choice.

“As we head towards a developed nation, it is sad that the progressive thinking to encourage the use of public transport is hardly visible.

“We believe the government should reconsider its decision to reduce toll rates, and increase the rates instead so that the revenue could be channelled towards improving the public transport system.”

He said the government should work towards improving the infrastructure and facilities in the public transport system, including increasing safety by lighting up bus stops, maintaining covered walkways and providing better last-mile connectivity.

Logistics analyst Dr Marco Tieman said there was no need to reduce toll rates as funds were needed to improve conditions of the roads, among other things.

PLUS Malaysia Bhd operates the 772km North-South Expressway (NSE) from Bukit Kayu Hitam, Kedah, to Johor Baru, Johor; the 35km New Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) between Kuala Lumpur (Jalan Duta) to Bukit Raja (Klang); the 23km Seremban-Port Dickson Highway connecting Mambau in Seremban to Port Dickson, and the 63km North-South Expressway Central Link (NSECL), or the Elite Highway that connects the NKVE (in Shah Alam) to NSE at the Nilai North Interchange.

It also operates the 17km Butterworth-Kulim Expressway that connects Butterworth and Kulim; the Malaysia-Singapore Second Link (Linkedua) and Penang Bridge.

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