By Viktor Chong firstname.lastname@example.org
For those who work in the city, traffic jam is part and parcel of everyday life. If dragging yourself up from your bed in the morning isn’t tough enough, now try passing through a one hour or thirty minutes traffic jam to get to your office.
The same applies during peak hours where everyone is rushing home from work. Imagine spending an average of two hours in a traffic jam every working day.
Already, the Malaysian government has attempted to address this issue through the creation of expensive public transport infrastructures such as LRT and MRT stations. Roads have also been added to reduce or redirect traffic flow from certain areas. Despite such measures, traffic jam is still a problem in Malaysia.
To keep it simple, traffic jams could be solved through other cheaper means. The creation of railways for LRT or MRT is expensive, and we, the taxpayers pay these expenses. Traffic jams could easily be remedied just by reducing the number of cars on the road.
Why does everyone need to start their work from 8.30am to 9.00am in the morning? Why don’t the Malaysian government stagger the working hours for the different sectors?
Take note that the table above apportions the working hours for Malaysians into seven different schedules, effectively diminishing the frequency of vehicles on the road. From a property market perspective, this staggered working schedule can have a very positive impact. Here are a few benefits to be considered:
1/ Commercial developments can break the customer limit.
A good business concept alone is not enough. If your customers cannot find a parking spot nearby to your shop, then they won’t bother to come in the first place (unless you can convince them that your services are so good that it is justified for them to walk the distance).
If everyone’s working hour is staggered, then there will be more parking space available, allowing customers easy access to the shops.
2/ Food and beverages industry enjoy space saving and break the customer limit.
As people come out at different times to have their breakfast, lunch and dinner, restaurants will not experience a spike in customers during a specific time. Usually, a restaurant needs to provide adequate tables and sitting space for all their customers. This added space translates to higher cost.
If a restaurant is full during a certain period, it has already reached a customer limit (unable to service other customers) and hence will need to turn down other customers that come. With a staggered working hour, all customers can be entertained, and this revenue source can be captured.
3/ General improvement for densely populated residential developments.
High-density developments are prone to traffic jams, resulting in lower market value, tenant availability and rental yield. Staggering everyone’s working hours should clear up most of the traffic, remedying the situation.
4/ Macro view: General space saving from the reduced parking spot.
If there are less parking spaces for commercial developments to prepare, then there will be more available sq ft for the project to develop. This translates to a lower price per sq ft, effectively dropping the prices and rental for commercial properties.
5/ Fewer roads need to be built.
Since traffic peak hours has been effectively staggered, there is less need to develop roads to facilitate the traffic volume. Less road equals less cost of maintenance, which effectively saves the rakyat’s tax money. Further on, the reduction in roads also saves space, freeing up more area for residential development to be created. The surplus of sq ft will reduce the cost of houses, increasing homebuyer’s affordability.
6/ Less public transports need to build.
Constructing LRT and MRT stations isn’t cheap, not considering the cost of creating the necessary tracks to a specific location. With less traffic jam, there is less need to utilise the taxpayer’s money to create more LRT and MRT stations.
1/ Less wait time and improved quality for services rendered.
With less customer capacity per restaurant, customers experience less waiting time during their respective lunch hours. Since chefs, food preparers and waiters are not pressured by excessive demand during a particular time, food and service quality can be improved. Restaurants also have more time to wash and clean their cooking utensils, cutleries and plates, increasing hygiene standards.
2/ Spending less time on the road.
Stress level and fatigue can be reduced, which indirectly improves employee productivity, reduce the cost associated with sick leaves and more. People also have more time to spend with their children and family.
3/ Improved consumption
Easier access to shopping malls increases consumption, benefiting the GDP of the country as a whole. Increased revenues from economic entities convert to higher taxable profits, providing more revenue to the country.
4/ Petrol saving and less mechanical wear and tear.
Less traffic jam translates to lower travel time, reducing the people’s usage of petrol. Further on, prolonged traffic jams will increase the spoilage of cars due to the intermittent movement and constant braking (the car service industry is not going to like this).
The idea of staggering our working hours can be a huge benefit to the property industry, not considering other advantages as discussed. Perhaps, our new government could find a way to synchronise our working hours in such a manner. Think about it. Traffic jams will be a thing of the past. It is a radical idea, and understandably, some proponents will disagree with the move. However, we could agree with certainty that long hours in a traffic jam benefits nobody.