Image courtesy of BetterCities.
Image courtesy of BetterCities.

Drivers in London, Singapore and Seoul must pay a price for using their private cars in the city centre. Soon, KL drivers may be joining them, as KL’s mayor Datuk Mhd Amin Nordin Abdul Aziz announced that the city council is looking to introduce a congestion charge.

At the 7th World Class Sustainable Cities Conference over the weekend, KL’s mayor and Deputy Federal Territories Minister Datuk Dr Logan Balan Mohan spoke about possible congestion charges in KL’s business district as a measure to limit the number of private cars in the city.

“The government will also impose plans to make it difficult for private vehicles to enter the city. This includes higher development costs for developers or building owners to build car parks which will contribute to high parking charges,” said Dr Logan, as reported by The Sun.

These ideas are being mooted to follow the completion of the MRT, which means that congestion charges – and higher parking costs – could arrive as early as 2017.

The announcements fall in line with the government’s plan for increased public usage of public transport. The 11th Malaysia Plan announced this year included a target for 40% of Klang Valley travelers to be using public transport by 2020. This year also saw the opening of KL’s first official cycle route.

If the congestion charge is realised in KL, this will indicate a significant shift in perspective for a country where 93% of households own a car. For KL, it may also open the possibility for more car-free days in the city, which have already increased from once per month to twice a month.

What do you think? Will a congestion charge help to curb our chronic use of cars, or will people simply pay more money to go into the city?

Ling Low

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