Transportation In Malaysian Context Tourism Essay


Unlike most other Asian cities, driving is the main mode of commuting in Kuala Lumpur. Hence, every part of the city is well connected by highways. As the capital of Malaysia, Kuala Lumpur has a comprehensive road network that leads to the rest of Peninsular Malaysia.

Public transport in Kuala Lumpur and the rest of the Klang Valley covers a variety of transport modes such as bus, rail and taxi. Based on the article “Prasarana to buy trains worth RM1.2bil” by The Star in 2006, despite efforts to promote usage of public transportation, utilisation rates are low as only 16 percent of the population used public transportation. Rail transport in Kuala

Lumpur encompasses light rail, rapid transit, monorail and commuter rail.

Kuala Lumpur is served by three separate rail systems which meet in the city and extend towards other parts of the Klang Valley, namely RapidKL Light Rail Transit, KL Monorail, and KTM Komuter. These lines have underground, elevated or at-grade stations around the city. The main rapid transit hub is KL Sentral which facilitates as an interchange station for the rail systems. RapidKL is the operator of two light rail lines in Kuala Lumpur and the Klang Valley, namely Ampang Line and Kelana Jaya Line which connect Kuala Lumpur to its satellite city, Petaling Jaya.

The issue of what transport system in Kuala Lumpur City Centre and Petaling Jaya has today is, people are too lazy. They are lazy to walk so they decided to park their car as close as they can to their destination. They are lazy to find car parks so they park at road shoulders, causing congestion to the drivers and also an obstacle for pedestrians and cyclists. They are lazy to walk a few miles to the nearest LRT station to go to city centre and opt to go there by car instead, despite the massive traffic especially during early morning and late evening. But they are okay with it. Because no matter how they said they hate the traffic, they would still go out using their cars, and put up hours on the road, wasting precious times.

So why would these people, simply put up with the traffic that they hate so much and deceiving the fact that they have the multi-million Ringgit worth of PUTRA LRT, which is one of the most advanced rapid transit systems in the world, and at the time of construction was the world’s longest driverless metro. Because if they travel with LRT, it may not stop approximately at their destination. There’s this term, faced by the LRT users, which are called first mile and last mile. And Malaysian hates this. So they prefer to sit in their little air-conditioned steel boxes which move slower than a bike during peak hours. Because of people’s love for their cars, finding a solution to the question of access to these buildings, to avoid being surrounded by a sea of parked cars, is therefore an important part of the problem.

According to Brian Richards in his book Future Transport in the cities (1960), he summed up the approaches that being used towards dealing with traffic problems in the cities by the authorities. These approaches are:

There is a serious and effective grass roots opposition in most countries to more urban road-building on the basis that more roads mean more traffic.

Within residential areas there has been the development of traffic calming and town yards.

Controls on parking within city centres has effectively reduced and controlled the amount of traffic entering cities.

Planning laws are banning more out of town shopping centres or random car-oriented developments.

Public transport has been maintained and improved, without which any of the other measures would be effective.

Although these measures were introduced, there are problems with the continuing growth of cars, the political strength of car lobby and the desire for people to own and use their own cars. In this selfish world, people love their cars. It gives them a retreat from the real world which partly accounts for their popularity. It provides them with a degree of comfort and privacy for the user, which public transportation did not have. It allows the user to go straight to their destination without having the hassle to change stations or switch mediums like public transportations do. As a result, these cars caused the most problems to city life. It is now that alternative ways must be sought to provide transportation systems that are good enough for people to opt out for it and leave their cars for major trips like going back to their kampung and road trips.

Another reason that makes people opt for cars is the lack connectivity of LRT in Petaling Jaya area. Realising the problem, the Government of Malaysia is now working on a Malaysia Rapid Transit project. The proposal was announced in June 2010 and was approved by the government of Malaysia in December 2010. The newly-launched Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) will oversee and coordinate the entire MRT development in terms of cost and viability, alignment and integration, and will play the role of regulator once the project is completed. National infrastructure company, Syarikat Prasarana Negara would ultimately own and operate the MRT. A First Class Land Public Transport System Contributes to Social and Economic Development

Historical data in Malaysia and around the world indicates a correlation between GDP and mobility growth – increased population, employment and economic activity always translate into higher mobility requirements. In this context, a first class land public transport system is especially important given our immediate aims as outlined in the ETP: 6 per cent annual growth and 3.3 million new jobs by 2020. Travel vehicle demand grew from 13 million trips per day in 1991 to 40 million in 2010. Projections point towards this trend continuing in Malaysia, with the figure expected to reach a staggering 133 million in 2030.With urbanization expected to reach 70 per cent by 2020, there is a need to enable an efficient and smooth flow of people, which in turn also enables the growth of new urban areas through increased connectivity.

Beyond satisfying a growing demand, land public transport plays a catalytic role in accelerating and shaping economic growth. Provision of effective public transport services has the potential of opening up new growth clusters, enhancing the attractiveness of existing clusters, and driving urban revitalization. And there are other positive spill-over effects of increased economic activity built upon an advanced land public transport network – it yields employment and business opportunities in local economies by having synergies with other industries like advertisement, retail and property development.

Malaysia has seen a surge in ownership of cars and motorcycles across the country, which is an indication of our country’s increased prosperity, but although private vehicles contribute to the mobility solution, sustainable and inclusive social and economic development cannot be overly dependent on private vehicles. As a general rule, public transportation is more affordable and mitigate traffic congestion as well as the attendant pollution problems caused by private vehicles on the road. All this puts tremendous pressure on the land public transport system to meet the mobility and connectivity requirements closely linked to the social and economic development agenda.

Public Transport Masterplan which was being proposed recently.

MY Rapid Transit (MRT) is a proposed three-line Mass Rapid Transit system in the Klang Valley. The MRT will be integrated with the LRT, Monorail, KTM Komuter and intra/ intercity buses and will help alleviate traffic congestion by increasing the number of people using public transport in the city centre. When operational, the system targets to carry 400,000 commuters daily. In 2020, it is estimated that the population in the Klang Valley will grow from the current 6 million to 10 million. This means that if every single trip is on private transport, the roads in the Klang Valley will be in gridlock. An effective public transport system is the only solution to this as it can move people in masses and it has an optimal usage of space to carry the same number of people.

Rail-based public transport, such as the MRT, LRT or commuter train, always forms the backbone of a city’s public transport system as it can carry large numbers of people and can move people quickly because it is not hindered by road traffic. Klang Valley currently has a shortage of rail-based public transport coverage compared with most public transport-oriented cities. It has less than 20km per million population. Public transport-oriented cities such as

Singapore, Hong Kong and London have more than 40km of rail per million population. With the MRT, it will boost the rail-based public transport coverage in Klang Valley significantly.

The first line of this project is the Sungai Buloh – Kajang Line (SBK Line), which stretches 51km and have 31 stations. The line will pass through the city centre and will serve densely populated suburban areas including Kota Damansara, Mutiara Damansara, Bandar Utama, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Bukit Damansara, Cheras, Bandar Tun Hussein Onn and Balakong, with a total catchment population of 1.2 million people. Out of the 31 stations, 16 stations will be equipped with Park and Ride facilities:

Sungai Buloh


Pusat Bandar Damansara

Kota Damansara

Taman Bukit Mewah

Bandar Tun Hussein Onn

Taman Industri Sungai Buloh

Plaza Phoenix

Taman Koperasi

Taman Tun Dr Ismail

Taman Suntex

Saujana Impian

Seksyen 16

Taman Cuepacs


Works on the MRT SBK line has begun in July 2011 and is expected to be completed by 2017.

The Klang Valley MRT will not only significantly increase the current inadequate rail network but will also serve to integrate the existing rail networks and expectantly alleviate the severe traffic congestion in the Greater KL metropolitan area. The new MRT system is to radically improve and transform Kuala Lumpur’s poor and sorely inadequate public transportation coverage and to propel the Greater Kuala Lumpur metropolitan area to be on par with that of a developed city. The new lines will increase Greater Kuala Lumpur’s rapid rail network from 15 km per million people in 2010 to 40 km per million people once completed. The proposal also envisages a fivefold increase in rail ridership, in line with the government’s target for public transport usage in the Klang Valley of 40% by 2020 from 18% in 2009. The Red Line will go from Damansara in the northwest to Serdang in the southeast of Kuala Lumpur, While the Green Line will be from Kepong in the northeast to Cheras in the southwest. Both lines will pass through the city of Kuala Lumpur and converge at the Dataran Perdana (Kuala Lumpur International Financial District) near Jalan Tun Razak.

The underground MRT Line 2 looping around the city of Kuala Lumpur will serve an important role to tie-up and integrate the currently disjointed LRT and monorail lines. Under the Greater KL/ Klang Valley Land Public Transport Master Plan draft, MRT 2 would cater for orbital movements around Kuala Lumpur, provide linkages to existing areas such as the Mid Valley, Mont Kiara, Sentul Timur and Ampang, as well as proposed major developments identified in the DBKL City Plan such as Matrade. The master plan draft says the circle line would be developed in at least two phases – The first, comprising 29km with 22 stations – would be the western and southern sections linking Ampang with Mid Valley, Matrade and Sentul. The second phase (12km with 8 stations) would link Ampang with Sentul Timur, completing the northeastern sector of the circle line. The master plan also says MRT 3 or the north-south

(NS) line would cater for a north-west corridor of the Greater Klang Valley, linking developing areas such as Sungai Buloh, Kepong and Selayang with the eastern half of the city centre (including Kampung Baru and Kuala Lumpur International Financial District), which was forecast to be overloaded in the future.

Sustainably Enhancing Connectivity

Public transport has an important role to play in Malaysia’s aspirations to develop holistically and sustainably. As populations in urban centres get denser, the problems of congestion and pollution will rise. Proper planning of public transport and land-use are essential to mitigate the ill-effects of population growth in urban areas and to make city-life a pleasant, healthy and environmentally sustainable one.

Under the Final Draft of Malaysia’s National Land Public Transport Masterplan, chapter 3.7 ABOUT BETTER QUALITY OF LIFE states that policy 3.7.1 is to promote healthy living.

One of the indirect benefits of using land public transport systems is that they indirectly promote healthier lifestyles. This is because when the public transportation hubs are well connected, the first and last miles’ of a public transport user’s journey are typically travelled by foot, rather than in a car or on a motorcycle.

The stretch between the public transport station and the users’ origin or destination is crucial to reduce the barrier of using public transport in the first place.

• Pedestrian facilities improvement to bus stops and railway stations will be encouraged as part of the local authority development plans. Walking structures should be defined around transit stops to increase the convenience of those locations. To enhance the accessibility of KL‟s public transport network, a target has been set of having 75 per cent of the population live within 400 meters of a public transport stop.

In addition to ensuring ease of access to the major transport nodes for pedestrians, fitting in cyclist-friendly infrastructure such as bicycle parking facilities and bicycle lanes will make it easier and more attractive for people to ride to the stations or interchanges. It will also increase the catchment area of these bus interchanges or rail stations as people living further away would not be put off by having to walk a distance to take public transport.”

– policy 3.7.1 : Final Draft of Malaysia‟s National Land Public Transport Masterplan

First, let’s take Singapore as a reference in terms of public transportation usage and connectivity. It is easy to take Singapore as a reference to this study because of its climate is the same as Malaysia and taking Kuala Lumpur City Centre and Petaling Jaya as a place of study, it is almost similar to Singapore in terms of urbanization. Then again, how did Singapore able to encourage their people to use their public transportation? Although the approach of Singaporean government is not through cycling, however, it is still beneficial to review their integrated transport system and compare with our own transportation system.

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In terms of connectivity, public transportation in Singapore is highly connected all over its main town to its suburbs. Since Singapore is a small town with a high density of population, it is possible to do so. Furthermore, because of its size, it is possible to enforce restrictions on private car ownership this, curbing congestion and pollution. To own a car, one must pay duty one and a half times the market value and bid for a Singapore Certificate of Entitlement which comes in very limited numbers. Therefore, according to Singapore’s department of statistics, only 1 very 10 people own a car. Within the absence of private cars, Singaporeans seems to live normally and manage their time effectively, to catch up with the public transportation’s schedule.

Singaporeans usually travels either by bus, taxis, trains, or maybe a combination and some of them might cycle. Although according to Tan Mike Tze in a chapter of the book THE JOURNEY: Singapore’s Land Transportation Story (2005), he says Singaporeans does not like the idea of pedal-powered bicycle as it is too hot and humid, the traffic is dangerous to the cyclist and so on. Also, generally bicycles are used by construction workers, say some. In the book, Tan Mike Tze has this thought where he wants people to imagine a world where everybody goes to work by bicycles or walking or public transportation and their companies are encouraging it by providing showers and changing room facilities allow people to freshen up before starting their work. A world with dedicated lanes and protected side road reserves for the bicycles. A world where the roads are dominated by cyclists and pedestrians and cars have to give way to them. Imagine the health benefits, environmental friendliness and sheer graciousness in such a world.

In Petaling Jaya, there are already bicycle paths and bicycle parkings at bus stops, being integrated as part of a residential area’s streetscape in Damansara Jaya. Although not many people have come to know about these facilities, it is actually a part of Petaling Jaya’s Green City big plan, where they are trying to decrease the carbon footprints produced and reduce the use of private motorised vehicles on the road. The bicycle path in Damansara Jaya is the pioneer project which tries to communicates urban parks within the Petaling Jaya area. Even though it was meant for recreation, it indirectly helps the cyclist to safely commute within that area. Children can now cycle to school without having their parents to worry about their safety on the road, thus, reducing the number of cars on the road during 7.00 am to 7.30 am and 2.00pm to 3.30pm. It is a very good example set up by the Petaling Jaya Municipalities on how to manage traffic in urban areas.

Singapore’s transport planners have occasionally toyed with this idea. The Registry of Vehicles stopped registering bicycles in 1981, but a 1955 estimate reckoned Singaporean owned about 240 bicycles per 1000 population. This puts Singapore sixth in a table with other developed countries, a table inevitably topped by the developing world’s most devoted cyclist, in Holland, with its 550 bicycles per 1000 people. But ownership does not equate with usage, of course. Most bicycles use in Singapore is recreational, and often the bikes belong to a child or teenagers but not working adults. There already is a good network of recreational bike paths in parkland areas. But only 1% of Singaporean trips were made on bicycles in 1995, way below the most other countries. In many admittedly cooler European countries, up to 50% of rail travellers and perhaps 20% of bus travellers may arrive at the station or terminus on a bicycle.

There certainly are valid safety concerns, given the current configuration of Singapore’s roads; while only 1% trips were made by bicycle, the percentage of road accident casualties for cyclists is disproportionately large, at about 4%. But these conditions could be changed. The cyclist could be protected via dedicated lanes or paths among other strategies. Road planners, of course, panic that they are already short enough of land for road-building, without sacrificing any more for â€-frills’ such as bicycle lanes. For engineers, all the glamour lies in rail. To some extent, this mindset can be seen in the 1996 White Paper A World Class Land Transport System. In this report, bicycles are relegated to a brief paragraph at the back, under the general heading “Supporting Measures”. The provision of more facilities for bicycles would encourage short trips of about 3km within housing estates, and possibly to the nearest MRT stations as well. It is the strength of this lobby to create future demand that ultimately will determine whether the planners really embrace the bicycle. The Land Transport Authority, had provided some 869 bicycles at 38

MRT stations by 1997, but it seems significant that bicycles did not feature in the LTA annual report after that, and that a search of the current LTA website under bicycle- does not yield any information.

” How much friendlier and nicer our roads and public spaces would it be if more of us paddled around on bicycles instead of sitting high and aloof in our four-wheeled steel boxes. It will require a national cycling strategy integrated into the national transport, health and environmental policy. The such master plan will provide for necessary infrastructure such as traffic signs and bicycle parkings, redesign roads and „traffic calming‟ measures in built up areas and school zones to slow down motor traffic. It will require some changes to the law, most importantly, it will require safety education and training for all road users.”

– Chin Yih Ling, Singapore‟s Today Newspaper, 17 January 2005

According to existing cyclists, cycling in early in the morning and late afternoon hours could be much more comfortable than walking as they can feel the breeze during riding the bike and the temperature of the surrounding is quite cool. It would extend the catchment of the LRT stations of more than 45% walking, thus making cycling a better option than walking. In Malaysia, people are allowed to take motorcycle license as early at the age of 16 and car license at the age of 18. Malaysia has cheap petrols, subsidized by the government, lots of highways and wide roads to occupy the needs of urban transportation. Therefore, people here can’t seem to find a reason to not own a car or ride one. Thus, the existence of bicycle is forgotten. Even kids are demanding to be sent and invited back home by cars. Bicycles in Kuala Lumpur city centre and Petaling Jaya are now merely for recreations, where people brought their bicycle by cars, to the urban parks, and ride it there for the sake of health benefits they claim. There are even peoples, who strived the congested roads every day after work, for the sake of riding a stationary bicycle at the gym, also, for the health benefits.

Figure 2.1.3 Copenhagen, Denmark, Mao showing 300km of cycle paths provided beside all existing regional roads and distributor streets, used by 30% of commuters daily. New cycle routes are being built, aimed at increasing the length of average cycle trips from 5 to 15km.

For those who aren’t cycling, the idea of having a dedicated bike path would make them think as if it was a waste of space and resources. But looking things at a bigger picture, having dedicated bicycle paths would encourage more people to cycle as it ensures the cyclist’s safety on the road. When more people cycles, the dependency on private cars lessens thus, reducing the number of cars on the road, and releasing the traffic’s pressure, especially during peak hour.

With just a few millions spent on providing bicycle-oriented facilities such as painting the paths and providing bicycle parking, and give 1.5 metre minimum from the existing roads to these bike paths – instead of spending billions on building more highways and flyovers – the government could save billions more and able to spend it to increase the performance of existing public transportations such as increasing the number of coaches to the train to allow more people to enjoy the ride, increasing the number of trains and platforms to allow more frequent trips and better connectivity to places throughout the city.

2.2 Kuala Lumpur

Kuala Lumpur is the federal capital of Malaysia. The city covers an area of 243KM² and has an estimated population of 1.6 million as of 2012. At 1999, the administrative centre of Malaysia was shifted to Putrajaya as an approach to release the population pressure of Kuala Lumpur. Started as a tin mining town, Kuala Lumpur evolves rapidly as among the fastest growing metropolitan regions in the country, in terms of population and economy Malaysia.

After the big flood swept through the town following a fire that had engulfed it earlier in 1881, Kapitan Yap Ah Loy restructured the building layout of the city into new brick buildings with clay tiles inspired by shophouses in southern China, characterised by “five foot ways” as well as skilled Chinese carpentry work. This resulted in a distinct eclectic shop house architecture typical of this region. A railway line increased accessibility into the growing town. As the development intensified in the 1890s, Kapitan Yap Ah Loy spent a sum of $20,000 to expand road access in the city significantly, linking up tin mines with the city, these roads include the main arterial roads of Ampang Road, Pudu Road and Petaling Street.

Climate and weather

Protected by the Titiwangsa Mountains in the east and Indonesia’s Sumatra Island in the west, Kuala Lumpur and Petaling Jaya has a tropical rainforest climate which is hot and humid all year round. Average temperatures tend to remain constant between 31 and 33 °C and typically receives minimum 2,600 mm of rain annually. Flooding is a frequent occurrence in both cities whenever there is a heavy downpour, especially in the city centre and downstream areas. Dust particles from forest fires from nearby Sumatra sometimes cast a haze over the region. It is a major source of pollution in the city together with open burning, emission from motor vehicles and construction works.

2.3 Petaling Jaya

Petaling Jaya is a city in Selangor originally developed as a satellite township for Kuala Lumpur, comprising mostly residential and some industrial areas. It is located in the Petaling district with

First developed by the British on the former 486 hectares Effingham Estate,as an answer to the problem of overpopulation in Kuala Lumpur in 1952 and has since witnessed a dramatic growth in terms of population size and geographical importance. The migration from Kuala Lumpur to the Petaling area had indeed started before the town was officially named in 1953 as Petaling Jaya. The satellite town began to take shape in 1952 when 800 houses were built and another 200 under construction.

By the end of 1957, there were well over 3,200 houses in Petaling Jaya, along with more than 100 shops and 28 operating factories. The year also saw the opening of the first phase of the Federal Highway (Lebuhraya Persekutuan) which divided Petaling Jaya into two. Linking Kuala Lumpur, Petaling Jaya and Port Klang, it enhanced PJ’s reputation as a strategically located town, particularly in the eyes of industrialists and the affluent searching for prime residential land.

Transportation facilities and infrastructure are well developed in Petaling Jaya. Bus services were initially provided by Sri Jaya between the early 1950s until the early 1990s. The mid-eighties saw the introduction of minibuses. The introduction of the IntraKota bus system by DRB-Hicom saw the replacement of Sri Jaya and the minibus by the early 1990s. At the same time, some of the Petaling Jaya-Kuala Lumpur bus routes were also serviced by Metrobus.

The introduction of the Putra LRT service in 1998 saw the addition of the Putraline feeder bus services. The combination of Putraline and Putra LRT brought a relief to many Petaling Jaya residents especially those who had had to rely on public transportation. In 2006 RapidKL took over the operations of IntraKota as well as both Star and Putra LRT. Today, public transportation is provided by RapidKL in the form of buses as well as the KL Light Rail Transit System – Kelana Jaya Line, which extends slightly into Petaling Jaya. There are five Kelana Jaya Line stations in Petaling Jaya.Petaling Jaya has three access points to the national highway system North-South Expressway via Kota Damansara, Damansara, and Subang. Internally, highways such as the Damansara-Puchong Expressway, Sprint Expressway and the Federal Highway also exist.

There are plans for extensions to the existing Klang Valley light rail transit network with a new 30 km line from Kota Damansara in the northern part of Petaling Jaya to Cheras (southern Kuala Lumpur) with stops in Mutiara Damansara and Taman Tun Dr Ismail, to name a few. The extension line which would connect to Subang Jaya, the Kelana Jaya Line, will start operation on April 2011 and expected to be completed in 2013.

2.4 Cycling In The City

Before the economy of Malaysia blooms and the first national car, Proton Saga, was launched in July 1985 by Malaysia’s then Prime Minister, Mahathir bin Mohamad, cars is a luxury to many, and cycle is the most common medium of transportation. People’s daily travel distances were shorter and the city is more friendly towards people, rather than machines. People in those days treated cycling as part of their utility, rather than a hobby.

Utility or transportational cycling generally involves travelling short and medium distances, which involves a few kilometres and not more, often in an urban environment. It includes commuting to work, school or university, going shopping and running errands, as well as heading out to see friends and family or for other social activities.

It also includes economic activity such as the delivering of goods or services. In big cities, the bicycle courier has been often a familiar feature, and freight bicycles are capable of competing with trucks and vans particularly where many small deliveries are required, especially in congested areas. In Yokohama, Japan, bicycle also being used as a medium of public transportation through services called “Velotaxi”. Similar to the old days rickshaw, Velotaxi provides environmental friendly transport to its user and is actually one of the main tourist attractions in the city.

Utility cycling is believed to have several social and economic benefits. According to a report by the Dutch Ministry of Transport, Public Works and Water Management, ―Cycling in Netherlandsâ€-, policies that encourage utility cycling have been proposed and implemented for reasons including:

Improved public health

Individual health and employers’ profits

A reduction in traffic congestion and air pollution

Improvements in road traffic safety

Improved quality of life

Improved mobility and social inclusiveness

Benefits to child development

In the Chinese city of Beijing alone, there are an estimated four million bicycles in use based on article ―China ends ‘bicycle kingdom’ as embracing cars, China Daily on 11th November 2004, which stated it has been estimated that in the early-1980s there were approximately 500 million cyclists in China). While in ―A Study on Measures to Promote Bicycle Usage in Japan

Department of Civil Engineering, Utsunomiya University, as of the year 2000, there were an estimated 80 million bicycles in Japan, accounting for 17% of commuter trips, and also, in ―Cycling in Netherlandsâ€- report, stated in the Netherlands, 27% of all trips are made by bicycle.

Figure 2.4.3 A common type bicycle in Japan where it comes with front and rear-mounted child seats. Source: Author’s own

Factors That Influence Levels of Utility Cycling

According to a book by Grégory Vandenbulcke-Plasschaert, ―Spatial Analysis of Bicycle Use and Accident Risks for Cyclistsâ€-, many different factors combine to influence levels of utility cycling.In developing economies, a large amount of utility cycling may be seen simply because the bicycle is the most affordable form of vehicular transport available to many people. In richer countries, where people can have the choice of a mixture of transport types, a complex interplay of other factors influences the level of bicycle usage. Factors affecting cycling levels may include:

Quality of infrastructure, such as the availability of bike path, safe parkings,etc.

Retail policy

Marketing the public image of cycling

Integration with other transport modes



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