Sharing a Ride to Sustainability
Kuala Lumpur loses an estimated RM5.5billion ($1.3billion) in productivity every year due to traffic. In fact, every one of Malaysia’s major cities has a nasty traffic problem, and together they create a big, ugly obstacle to sustainable development. With bus lines backed up, public transportation expansions years away from completion and expensive highway projects not doing much to help, the quickest fix would be simply to reduce the amount of vehicles on the road.
To this end, the idea of ride sharing sounds particularly appealing. Many Malaysians would agree, as evidenced by the growth of ride sharing and carpooling apps like tripda. Tripda allows commuters with empty seats in their cars to connect with passengers heading the same direction, and is catching on fast in Malaysia. With ride sharing programs like Tripda, travel costs are shared, the number of cars on the road shrinks, and petrol consumption and emissions are reduced. All these factors go towards alleviating Malaysia’s traffic woes – which take a serious toll on the environment, social welfare and overall economic development.
Not only do the fumes that cars and diesel-powered trucks and scooters pump into the air contribute to global warming, they are extremely hazardous to one’s health. A recent study revealed that long-term exposure to traffic pollution is associated with a 13 percent increase in the risk of heart attacks and angina. Traffic is also costing Malaysia billions by hobbling productivity, and sky-high car prices (Malaysia is the world’s second most expensive place in the world to buy a car) are putting families and individuals into debt (51% of all household debt in Malaysia is tied up in car loans).
Taking all this into consideration, ride sharing is a good deal for individual users and their entire nation. For the workers sitting in traffic, the sufferers of pollution-induced respiratory diseases, and the environment bearing the brunt of climate change, the fact that Tripda intends to make carpooling the number one means of transport in the country is welcome news.