Despite weak consumer sentiment, disruption in e-commerce and the opening of more new malls in Klang Valley, Sunway Pyramid registered a growth of 5 per cent year-on-year (Y-O-Y) in car count, its highest traffic arrival in its 20 years of operation in 2017.
The mall has approximately 10,000 parking bays integrated with Sunway Resort Hotel and Spa, Sunway Pinnacle and other Sunway business units nearby.
Sunway Malls chief operating officer Kevin Tan attributed this positive increase in traffic to various structural initiatives invested by Sunway Group over the last few years which was now yielding results.
“Our Chairman, Tan Sri Dr. Jeffrey Cheah’s foresight to take pro-active steps to ease vehicular traffic congestions within Sunway City and Subang Jaya had successfully facilitated seamless connectivity in and out of Sunway City. No matter how attractive you market the mall, it means nothing if visitors can’t access with ease.
“The Sunway Group had invested RM200 millions on road connectivity by constructing a dedicated new interchange from KESAS highway as well as undertaken road widening project along the NPE highway leading to the Kewajipan roundabout. These projects reduced congestion and allowed quicker access into Sunway City,” he said.
The interchange and road expansion which were fully funded by Sunway was part of the Sunway City’s on-going development master plan and community service to elevate the iconic resort city’s attraction.
This was not the first time Sunway had undertaken structural initiatives. Through a private public partnership, it had also invested RM123 million with the government to develop Malaysia’s first Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system which now served a population of 500,000 in Subang and Sunway City.
Plans are in the pipeline to ease the congestion due to inter-weaving traffic in front of the gateway entrance to the mall.
Despite registering a new record, the mall believed there was still room to grow as it broaden its vehicular volume approach by focusing on family parking and ride hailing segments.
As consumers’ lifestyle changed largely driven by demand for out-of-home dining, leisure and entertainment; the mall’s car parking facility also evolved to better meet these changes in particular the underserved family parking segment.
Its general manager of operations Jason Chin said based on analysis, the demand for bigger family parking bays located conveniently alongside dedicated security was growing and currently underserved.
“Based on figures released by Malaysia Automotive Association, 2017 saw MPVs & SUVs sub-segments grew by 11.4 per cent collectively in relation to 2016. In comparison, passenger cars contracted by 3.2 per cent.
“We see the demand for larger parking bays will come on stream quickly especially in malls.
“We had seen the growth in family crowd too among our customers profile and hence we increased our preferred parking facility by 80% from 180 bays to 330 bays. Among these bays, there are designated family parking bays which are bigger just for that purpose,” he added.
The preferred parking facility is the mall’s dedicated premium parking zone.
The popularity and growth of ride hailing was another important development following the move by the government to legalise e-hailing in July last year.
“We see ride hailing as another key driver that positively contributed to the increase in footfall of the mall. It is estimated that arrival from ride hailing from Grab and Uber services can go up as high as 20% of the mall’s car arrival,” said Kevin.
Apart from last mile connectivity and convenience, ride hailing also served to lessen congestion and demand of car park bays during peak hours. This in turn allowed better optimisation and yield higher turnover of bays.
In 2017, the mall has partnered with Grab to unveil its first-ever Grab Lounge in South East Asia as part of the effort to grow ride hailing services.