Motorists in the Klang Valley are estimated to spend at least 44 hours a month in their vehicles being stuck in traffic jams, according to Universiti Teknologi MARA (UiTM) senior lecturer Ismaniza Ismail. Speaking to Harian Metro, she said most employees are forced to spend at least one or two hours in their vehicles during their daily commute to and from work.
“Imagine how much time is wasted every day due to traffic jams. Imagine, every morning, an employee gets up early to go to work and comes home early to avoid traffic jams. Even though [he or she] works the full eight hours daily, there is still an hour or two that is ‘lost’ due to the journey,” he said,” said Ismaniza.
She added that this can affect the cost of productivity. “If the average hourly wage is RM7, multiply that by two hours and 22 working days, the productivity loss is estimated at RM308 a month which is ‘wasted’ on the road,” she explained. The stress arising from being stuck in a traffic jam can also influence the physical, emotional and mental well-being of individuals, which could affect the work environment, she noted.
The issue of worsening traffic congestion has been a hot topic as of late, with many calling on the government to tackle the matter. Ismaniza suggests flexible working hours as an effective initiative worth considering to counter congestion and encourage work productivity.
“Flexible work weeks that provide the option of working days as practiced in many developed countries or working from home are also alternatives that can increase work productivity as there is less risk of getting stuck in congestion,” she said. “However, this cannot be applied to certain occupations such as teachers, who have no option to go out to work and also road users who send their children to school,” she added.
Upgrading the quality of existing public transport services with a more extensive network of routes is another effort that should be implemented, and these services must be efficient in their operation, Ismaniza said.
For now, she said motorists will have to be wise to deal with the issue according to their own capabilities while awaiting action from the government. “If you must travel [by driving] as there are no other options, you’ll have make a sacrifice (time, cost) but I think that is still acceptable.