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Saturday, June 25, 2011

Last Mile Failure and Disconnect in Malaysia

The weakest link in a project or system often is overlooked until the inevitable happens. Failure.

The definition of last mile is the final last few metres or distance that connects an entity to a main bigger system, often the goals is to tap into the newly developed system or infrastructure, to be enabled by it. In Malaysia unfortunately, the weakest link is apparently this last mile portion that has often been overlooked and neglected until the point of failure.
Megacities: Urban Form, Governance, and Sustainability (cSUR-UT Series: Library for Sustainable Urban Regeneration)
Situations of Last Mile Failure and Disconnect:
1. KL Sentral the central transportation hub have just one single entrance and exit escalators leading to the main interchange from the ground floor where the feeder buses (RapidKL), tour buses, buses from Genting, and and passengers from the Monorail jostle to enter. A terrible bottleneck for the highest number of users.
2. Ticket counters for the LRT and Monorail are often just manned by one or two staff, selling tickets to a frustrated queue. The automated ticket machines never seem to operate, and alas, there are just 1 or 2 ticket machines.
3. The supposedly world class airport does not allow passengers to connect easily or at an affordable cost. Most shuttle buses goes to KL Sentral (yes that same location whereby you'll be lead into that funnel of a bottleneck above!). Passengers and tourists are often left with the single most obnoxious choice - the monopolised taxi. 300 RM to Melaka which is a 120 km ride.
4. Melaka Sentral - the central bus station of Melaka state, is located at a busy junction with 3 traffic light stops. To add insult to injury, buses must drive  in two circular routes encircling the bus station (wasting more fuel) to get to the bus bay. The supposedly well designed station has ample of sky light from above. But this is no Europe, the amount of sunlight directly burning into the terminal has created a green-house effect, making it warmer and thus a significant cost is being used by the air-conditioning system. Malacca Town Hotels Homestays Guesthouse Price List
5. Most LRT and Monorail stations are at a disconnected distance. Commuters have to walk up and down stairways and this is no Europe with a temperature that is conducive for walking. Sweaty sardines are the fish of the day. Everyday. Life. This final straw funnels commuters into dreaming of purchasing their own vehicle. Or was this a ploy to get the TIV (Total Industry Volume of Passenger Cars) to keep increasing, reflecting is a "healthy" car industry, and seemingly "higher" standards of living? Or not? Or to chase the rabbit down the hole, the doubly frustrated new car owner now has to combat a deluge of uncouth drivers and toll plazas, sweltering in the movable sauna, finally increasing the health cost to the country. High blood pressure cooking.
6. Roads are often in patches. Coordination is non-existent. The utility company never seems to stop digging right after a newly constructed black tar road has been made. Is this a conspiracy? To frustrate the commuter?

A well-planned city, country or township has to blend in the focus of the last mile users. Awarding contracts to dubious developers to help them, is purely hitting some nails on your toes. No thorough research and due diligence are performed.

Dear Mayor or Town Council Planners, try playing "Simcity" and you might just improve.

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