Friday, February 25, 2011

Timeline of KVMRT

After so many posting on the drawbacks of the massive infrastructure project, KVMRT will put up part of the display materials.

This is timeline of Klang Valley MRT.

KVMRT will uncover the other MRT projects in the world, how it benefits to increase the modal share of public transport.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

MRT station spots not justified

MRT station spots not justified, claims research group

By Clara Chooi

February 23, 2011

A man inspects a map of the proposed MRT line displayed at the Bangsar LRT station. — Picture by Choo Choy May

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 23 — The sites of the 35 stations proposed for the MassRapid Transit (MRT) have been called into question by a local research group, which claims regulators had not conducted the necessary traffic studies to justify their locations along the 51km line.

Association of Water and Energy Research Malaysia (Awer) president S. Piarapakaran told The Malaysian Insider that when preparing the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) for the MRT, the project consultants had failed to conduct a traffic modelling study, which he claimed was crucial to ensure the optimality of the project.

This includes measuring the present traffic flow at areas surrounding the proposed stations, an estimate of the likely increase in commuters flocking to the area to use the MRT, and a cautious estimate of how much congestion the system was likely to reduce, he added.

“They need to study the reason why the project regulators had decided to place the stations in those locations. Impact studies must be done on those in the surrounding areas affected by the MRT stations. This was not done.

“With the traffic analysis or modelling, they also have to determine the number of cars in the area at present and estimate the number of people who would come from outside the area to gain access to the station,” the Awer chief said.

Piarapakaran cited the example of the proposed park-and-ride station at Sungai Buloh where it was stated in the EIA that the station would have an estimated ridership of 2,400 people.

“But what they missed out is that there will likely be others from outside the area, perhaps from Rawang, who would want to use the station and will therefore clog the roads and increase the ridership. So their 2,400 estimate is likely inaccurate,” he said.

At the proposed elevated station along Jalan Damansara at Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI), Piarapakaran predicted that without park-and-ride facilities, the station would likely increase congestion in the area.
“Sure, you may reduce the present traffic by taking people off the roads with the MRT but then they still need to get to the station.

“Also, you will attract more people to flock into the vicinity, even those who usually do not need to pass through the area. Then you have to take into consideration the feeder buses coming in. Already, the place is so badly jammed during peak hours,” he said.

He pointed out that even if commuters opt for the public bus feeder system to travel to the station, this would later result in the increased presence buses on the already choked Jalan Damansara during peak hours.
Piarapakaran then pointed out that in the LRT project, many stations became under-utilised due to poor planning and a lack of proper study on the purpose of the stations’ locations.

“Look at the Abdullah Hukum LRT station. From what I know, only TNB staff members use that station. Other than that, it is under-utilised,” he said.

In the first phase of its three-line proposal, the Klang Valley MRT will have 35 stations along its 51km line that stretches from Sungai Buloh to Kajang, with 13 proposed park-and-ride stations and four interchanges.

Eight of the stations will be underground as 9.5km of the line will be built under the capital city. Groundwork for the MRT is due to start this July 16 and will be completed in 2016.

Piarapakaran said that according to the declaration forms attached to the EIA report, a consultant registered in the area of traffic studies had been specifically tasked to carry out the traffic modelling but had not done so.

“I understand that the project proponent is now going to do the study but this does not make sense as the traffic modelling study must be included in the EIA in the first place,” he said.

Without the study, Piarapakaran said the EIA was merely a “literature review” of the MRT, an initiative touted as the most expensive construction project ever undertaken by the Malaysian government.

Estimated to cost over RM36 billion, the MRT is an entry point project identified for the Greater Kuala Lumpur/Klang Valley National Key Economic Area (NKEA) and aims to increase public transport usage from 18 per cent to 40 per cent by 2020.

The EIA is meant to look into all aspects of the project in order to determine its impact on the environment and the public.

Piarapakaran said that a traffic modelling study would also offer better accuracy to the EIA’s findings on the likely reduction of carbon emissions with the MRT through the reduced number of cars on the roads.

The EIA, he claimed, had only based its estimate on the reduction according to the number of vehicles the MRT system could remove from the roads.

“But again, without the traffic modelling study, the estimate may not even be accurate. They do not even know how many cars presently throng the streets in the areas, especially surrounding the stations, and how many more will use private vehicles to get to the stations.

“And if there is an increase in feeder buses to facilitate passenger movement, then this will add to the emissions,” he said.

The EIA report states that an estimated 132,860 MT/annum of carbon emissions would be avoided through the use of the MRT system following the shift of some 200,000 vehicle/trips from private transport to rail.

“But this is a conservative estimate as it was assumed that the average vehicle trip is only 10km,” the report said.

To calculate the net emissions avoided, the report factored in likely emissions that the MRT system itself would generate.

“The main source of emissions will be from power stations that generate electricity to be used by the trains and the stations.

“But it is not possible at this stage to estimate the amount of electricity that will be consumed at stations. This is also complicated by the fact that there will be other activities at the stations,” the report said.

The EIA estimated that a total of 98,459 MT/annum of carbon emissions would be generated due to electricity consumption at the MRT rail stations.
As such, the net emissions avoided according to the report were 34,400 MT/Annum.

Piarapakaran stressed that Awer was not against the MRT project as it viewed it as necessary to improve the country’s public transportation system and reduce energy usage through fuel.

Awer had conducted a financial modelling study on the project earlier and claimed that commuters would have to fork out an additional RM403.5 million in fuel cost in the first five years of the MRT’s operations.

Without having conducted the study, Piarapakaran predicted that the Department of Environment (DOE) was likely to approve the MRT project once public viewing on the document closes this March 15.

“Looking at things, it is likely that the DOE is going to approve the EIA for the MRT and the project will kick off in July,” he said.

The EIA report was prepared by ERE Consulting and involved 15 DOE-registered EIA consultants. It also included professional inputs from five other firms — Halcrow Consultants Sdn Bhd (traffic projections/MRT ridership), AECOM (alignment planning), Gamuda Engineering Sdn Bhd (geology and geotechnical), AJM Planning and Urban Design Group Sdn Bhd (land use) and Environmental Asia Sdn Bhd (erosion and sedimentation control plan).

“We are not against the MRT but what we are unhappy with is the way the project is being carried out without sufficient studies.

“For such an important, multibillion ringgit national project, the government needs to make sure that they take everything into consideration to make sure that it goes well and is cost-effective,” said Piarapakaran.

The proposed Klang Valley MRT alignment map is up for public viewing until May 14 at seven locations across the city.

They are Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Petaling Jaya City Council, Shah Alam City Council, Selayang Municipal Council, Kajang Municipal Council as well as the Bangsar LRT station and the SPAD office in Menara Dayabumi.

The public can provide their feedback on the project via email to or through the SPAD toll-free line at 1-800-82-6868.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Buses cannot replace MRT

Buses cannot replace MRT, says EIA report
By Clara Chooi

February 22, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 22 — An alternate bus system cannot replace the proposed Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) as it is likely to fail the desired passenger ferrying rate, according to the MRT’s key report.

The advocated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) is seen to struggle to reach 30,000 passengers per hour in any direction as analysed by the controversial project’s Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report.

ERE Consultancy Group said in its EIA report that the bus solution would require 90-passenger vehicles to run uninterrupted nearly every 10 seconds — to match the MRT’s 30,000 passengers per hour per direction (PPHPD).

“The BRT proposals are not however long term solutions which can realistically offer sufficient capacity and level of service to deliver the expected demand levels and meet modal shift target,” the firm reported in Section 4 of its detailed EIA.

The EIA was prepared for the government’s multibillion ringgit proposed MRT project, which is touted as the most expensive construction project ever undertaken in Malaysia with initial estimates totalling over RM36 billion.

In the new rail system, the government aims to achieve a transport mode ratio between public and private transport of 40:60 from 18:82 due to an estimated increase from the present eight million trips made each day in the Kuala Lumpur metropolitan area to 10 million trips by 2020.

With the 40:60 transport mode ratio, it is targeted that at least four million trips are made via public transport by 2020 while the remaining six million trips are through private vehicles.

The EIA also explained that the mode share for rail use in the Klang Valley was expected to increase five-fold by 2020 from 400,000 trips per day in 2009 to 2 million trips in 2020.

It added that the MRT’s first line, the Sungai Buloh – Kajang route, is estimated to have a daily ridership of 442,000 passengers in its opening year, expected to be in 2016.

The EIA report was released on February 14 and is presently up for public viewing at Department of Environment (DOE) offices nationwide and several public libraries until March 15.

The Malaysian Insider reported yesterday a suggestion by transport advocates Association for the Improvement of Mass Transit or “Transit” that the ambitious MRT project could be replaced by the BRT.

The group’s chairman Muhammad Zulkarnain Hamzah said that a well-developed BRT could achieve the same aim as the MRT but at a fraction of the cost.

As an example, he said that the cost to construct 1km of an underground MRT rail could amount to RM1 billion while 1km of a BRT line would only cost up to RM20 million.

But the EIA found that the BRT, as one of the project options considered as an alternative to the MRT, was only viable to serve as an “intermediate mode” to facilitate the MRT.

This, the report said, was to help provide the needed momentum change towards public transport in a relatively quick and low cost manner for the later implementation of higher capacity models.

The report noted that in the government’s National Key Results Areas (NKRA), there were plans proposed for the establishment of new prioritised radial bus corridors, including the implementation of the BRT.

“The BRT is appropriate for development of public transport usage in corridors which currently have low public transport share.

“In the Kuala Lumpur context, the BRT should be considered as ‘intermediate mode’,” the report said.

It explained that using the BRT in Malaysia was not realistic as in order to serve the 30,000 PPHPD target, “30m bi-articulated” BRT buses running at 30-second intervals would be needed, as well as two dedicated bus lanes in each direction and a central station lane.

This, it said, meant that highways would have to be as wide as five lanes, much like the BRT system used in Bogota, Columbia.

When suggesting the BRT, Zulkarnain had cited figures from Bogota’s BRT as an example.

He told The Malaysian Insider that Bogota’s BRT buses record passenger travels of more than 20,000 PPHPD but if the BRT lanes were dedicated merely to cars, especially single occupancy vehicles, a maximum of only 2,000 PPHPD can be reached.

“It is not feasible to allocate this level of at-grade capacity in the city areas which the radial service must directly connect to,” the EIA report said.

It also said that the average speed of the BRT was considerably lower than the MRT, meaning that over longer corridors, travel time would be significantly longer.

In its report, ERE estimated that BRT buses, with an average passenger load of 90 passengers per car, travelled at a speed between 20 and 30 kilometres per hour (kph) while a four-carriage MRT, with an average passenger load of 250 per car, averaged between 35 and 70kph.

The EIA added that the quality of service with the BRT was not as high as the use of trains and commuters were likelier to opt for the MRT instead of hopping on the bus.

“The scenario of using bus services tightly packed with passengers (standing room only) as would be required at this level of demand is not likely to attract affluent car users onto public transport, which is an essential element to impact modal shift,” said the report.

In the same section of the EIA, ERE also listed street trams, the monorail system and the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) systems as other project options to the MRT.

The report noted that street trams was likely an inappropriate option as passenger demand would far surpass the mode’s capacity and land in the city centre was too constrained to facilitate the construction of tram lines.

Similarly, the report found that the city’s present monorail system would not adequately operate on the corridors that the MRT aims to serve.

For the LRT, the report said that the present rail system would not be able to facilitate an eventual capacity of 40,000 PPHPD, which is targeted with the MRT.

There was no reason given.

The report said that the MRT system was one of “high-capacity and high quality service”, with major interchange stations located in high-demand areas in the city centre.

“High accessibility to the surrounding land developments is essential to enable a shift from the current high proportion of private car usage,” said the report.

It added that the MRT, set to kick off construction in July, would form the backbone of the country’s transport system.

“This is part of an integrated network with seamless connectivity between supporting modes to make it the preferred mode, design will emphasise on its convenience, reliability, pleasant usage, affordability, accessibility and efficiency.

“And as such, the MRT system was deemed the most appropriate system for Kuala Lumpur,” it concluded.

In the first phase of its three-line proposal, the Klang Valley MRT will have 35 stations along its 51km line that stretches from Sungai Buloh to Kajang, with 13 proposed park-and-ride stations and four interchanges.

Eight of the stations will be underground as 9.5km of the line will be built under the capital city. Groundwork for the MRT is due to start this July 16 and will be completed in 2016.

The proposed alignment map is up for public viewing until May 14 at seven locations across the city.

They are Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Petaling Jaya City Council, Shah Alam City Council, Selayang Municipal Council, Kajang Municipal Council as well as the Bangsar LRT station and the SPAD office in Menara Dayabumi.

The public can provide their feedback on the project via email to or through the SPAD toll-free line at 1-800-82-6868.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Waiting for the fast train

Waiting for the fast train (The Star)

Sunday February 20, 2011

By Hariati Azizan

Dare Malaysians imagine a speedy train journey and a comfortable bus service during peak hours?

ADVERTISING executive Raymond Kang cannot wait for the day when he can take the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) down to Kuala Lumpur’s Golden Triangle.

“I have not been down to Bukit Bintang for more than five years; it’s just too much of a hassle to drive all the way,” says the Sri Damansara resident.

Kang is one of many residents who are impatiently awaiting the MRT service to connect them to downtown.

However, like most, he is worried about the actual connectivity of the MRT.

Far from perfect: Although the LRT ridership has seen an increase of 2.21 million passengers, passengers complain about the poor connectivity and congestion during peak hours.

“Now, we can already take the Putra LRT (light rapid transit) and Monorail if we want to go shopping in Bukit Bintang. It’s getting to the Putra station from my house that is the problem. And if you make the effort, there is no guarantee that you can get parking, even on a Sunday,” he griped, adding that changing trains is another hassle.

The bane of Malaysia’s city dwellers, the local public transport system is fraught with unreliable services, frequent delays and service cancellations. Even the previous upgrades – the development of the LRT and Monorail – have failed to meet users’ needs with its congestion, poor accessibility and even poorer connectivity.

Coupled with the growth in private car ownership, the public transport system has declined further – from a share of 34% in public transport modal in 1985 to between 10% and 12% in 2008.

Performance Management and Delivery Unit (Pemandu) chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala admits that changing the mindset of car owners to give up their cars and use public transport is one of the biggest challenges the Government faces.

“First of all, we have to continue making sure that the journey time (for commuters) is reduced. We have introduced BET (Bus Express Transit), which uses expressways to reduce the journey time by almost half.

“If it takes 65 minutes to commute from Shah Alam to Pasar Seni, you’ll be persuaded to (use public transport) if it takes less than 30 minutes,” he explains.

Other measures include improving the capacity of the LRT and accessibility to the public transport services.

Idris feels that the improvements in the urban public transport system have proved effective in boosting the volume of passengers on the LRT and BET express buses, which use the faster routes – the LRT ridership has seen an increase of 2.21 million passengers while BET usage has spiked by 127%. Another reason for the hike in the number of LRT passengers, he adds, is the introduction of 20 new LRT trains, each of which comprise four sets of carriages.

Still, Idris concedes, maintaining the service level and ensuring its reliability are crucial to keep commuters on public transport.

The Government Transformation Programme (GTP) had aimed to raise the public transport modal share from 12% in 2008 to 17% last year with its Urban Public Transport (UPT) National Key Results Area (NKRA).

In boosting the public transport system, a few key aims have been identified. These include improving reliability and cutting journey times, enhancing comfort and convenience, and improving accessibility and connectivity to the services available.

The rollout has shown some improvement – there have been positive changes in high peak period congestion, reduced frequent delays and cancellations as well as improved connectivity between modes in certain areas.

Idris is optimistic that the programmes implemented will contribute towards a further boost in the system, particularly in achieving the 2012 target of having 25% of people use public transport.

He cites the slight increase in the use of public transport last year – approximately 10,000 more people are taking public transport in the morning peak hours daily, an increase of 4.4% when compared to 2009.
Bandar Utama resident Jeff Lowe, however, laments the traffic jams that still clog up Kuala Lumpur’s main roads.

“It is important to remember that you must get a massive number of workers to work on time but look at the traffic jam at peak hours. If the public transport is not efficient, people will just get a car – as we have seen in the last 20 years,” he adds.

“You can’t expect people to stop buying cars because they offer freedom of mobility. Even in countries where the public transport system is excellent like Britain and Singapore, they cannot stop people from buying cars.”

Idris says we still have some way to go to get more people to use public transport – only 11% of people used urban public transport here compared to London (90%) and Singapore (60%) in 2009.

The numbers look good though, he assures.

“We moved from 11% (urban public transport ridership) to 13% last December.”

He nonetheless agrees that it will be tough to get people to give up their cars. Hence, under the GTP, the plan is to get car users to reduce their car usage.

One initiative is the development of Park and Ride facilities for LRT and KTM stations, which would be completed with more than 6,000 additional parking bays by next year.

For Lowe, however, the UPT is 30 years too late.

“Now, we don’t even have reserve lines or bus lanes. In the early 1980s, we were told by expert urban planners that if we don’t plan for our public transport, we will have a traffic problem. They said their studies projected how rural-urban migration would affect the traffic.”

His other grouse is the lack of public feedback from the Government before embarking on projects.

“All they need to do is to conduct a simple survey. Now, after the project has been approved with a timeline for completion, what good is feedback from the people? How much can be taken into account?” he argues.

Encouraged by the focus given to connectivity in the UPT plans, Lowe hopes that the Government has taken into consideration the whole of Klang Valley.
“You must consider the whole area so that people can travel to any part of KL for work or other reasons from where they live. For one, the interconnection between buses must be well-planned.”

A regular bus user, Thelvi, says she tries to take the bus more often but comfort and congestion is still an issue.

Torturous ride
“I have noticed that the service is more frequent and there are more buses but they are still crowded. It is really bad during the peak hours, when everyone is rushing to get to work or get home from work.

“You are stuck in a packed bus and the bus is not moving at all on the highway. That is torture,” says the salesgirl at one of the major departmental stores in Damansara.

Several agencies including the Transport Ministry are working hard to improve the bus service in the country. The ministry for one has been studying the Bus Rapid Transit system in the Klang Valley to improve its services.

Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha says some of the initiatives include 306 new bus stops at locations where there are currently no shelters.

Commuters in and around the Klang Valley will also get about 470 new RapidKL buses by the end of the year to improve current services, especially feeder services to/from rail stations.

For the KTM Komuter service, 38 new sets of six-car trains will be delivered by the end of the year while existing stations will also undergo upgrades and improvements.

Integration and pedestrian facilities at key stations will also be upgraded to provide more comfort and convenience for commuters.

The current buzz is of course the MRT, which when introduced in 2016, is expected to push the number of public transport users to 50% by 2020.

One future public transport “convert”, a Bandar Tun Hussein Onn resident who only wants to be known as Yusuf, says he cannot wait for the MRT to be completed.

“I am very happy. The public transport that we have now from Cheras to KL city centre is bad. The Cheras-Kajang road is always jammed, and there is no other alternative,” says the GLC manager who commutes to the city centre by car daily.
“The MRT will reduce travelling time for everyone. Hopefully, many people will take the MRT, which will reduce the number of cars on the road. But if the Government wants the people to use the train, they need to make sure that the feederbus service is efficient –frequent and on time.

“There will still be a traffic problem if everyone drives to the MRT station, and that will defeat its purpose in improving the environment.”
Another concern is the ticket price.

“We hope the cost will not be transferred to the passengers. They will have to study the related fares too, such as car park and feederbus fare and factor them in as the total cost incurred on a passenger.

“Like any public transport development and improvement, the cost should not be transferred to the users. The UPT should not burden the public,” he adds

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Eyebrows raised over MRT integration, locations

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 18 — The lack of an interchange between the KL Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) and the city’s main rail hub as well as the placement of stops near congested road junctions have raised questions over the optimality of the MRT stations’ locations.

The proposed plans appear to show that the MRT will not have an interchange with KL Sentral — the city’s main transport hub — despite having a station with the same name. Instead, it will have its train stop separated from the Sentral station by a substantial gap, reminiscent of the much criticised monorail station which also stops short of the KL Sentral hub.

The proposals also show that the new KL MRT has proposed stations near busy junctions, such as that of Jalan Maarof and the Sprint Highway and near a frequently congested traffic light area outside the popular 1Utama mall in Bandar Utama, Petaling Jaya but at the same time bypassing major commercial centres such as Damansara Uptown, Tropicana Mall and the upcoming Glomac Damansara.

Malaysian Resources Corporation Berhad (MRCB), the developer of KL Sentral said given that the station already integrates the KTM, KTM Komuter, ERL and Kelana Jaya LRT train lines, it would be mutually beneficial for the transport hub and the MRT line to be directly linked.

“It is only natural that any future suburban rail connectivity, such as the MRT system, should be linked directly with Stesen Sentral KL, allowing it to progress further as envisioned as the main rail transport artery for Kuala Lumpur,” said MRCB in response to questions from The Malaysian Insider regarding the apparent lack of an interchange between the MRT and the KL Sentral hub.

“Furthermore, the connectivity of Stesen Sentral Kuala Lumpur will add appeal of the MRT as a public transportation option.”

Residents and business owners in the Damansara region have also questioned the location of the stations in the area, saying these would worsen traffic congestion and miss out on major commercial areas that would optimise ridership, and called for the MRT to either go underground and or be rerouted to more optimal ridership catchment areas.

Teo Chiang Kok, director of See Hoy Chan Holdings which developed the popular 1Utama mall in Bandar Utama, expressed concern that the proposed elevated MRT elevated track would bypass high density commercial and residential areas.

“There are no MRT reserves and buffers allocated and the trains will run very close to homes and offices,” Teo told The Malaysian Insider.

“The routing of the elevated track is confined to the routing of Persiaran Surian and the LDP and the stations are not ideally located to cater for highest ridership and misses the high density commercial and residential areas.”

Taman Tun Dr Ismail (TTDI) residents’ association president Mohd Hatim Abdullah objected to the proposed stations both TTDI and Bandar Utama saying that it would exacerbate congestion and that there were better-suited alternatives.

He said that the open spaces of the Bandar Utama driving range between the Curve and 1Utama mall was “perfect” as a mega MRT station could be built underground there, which could link the shopping malls in the vicinity.

“It can serve all the shopping complexes, (like) Ikano, The Curve, 1 Utama and Cineleisure,” he said.

Teo was also favourable to an underground station between The Curve and 1 Utama and said that it could be built together with an underground retail mall which could help offset the cost of construction.

Joe Tan, a spokeman for See Hoy Chan Sdn Bhd which develops the high density Damansara Uptown commercial centre, said that the previous alignment of a Kota Damansara-Kajang LRT line had included Uptown as a stop but it was dropped from the new MRT alignment.

“The whole proposal changed,” he said, adding that See Hoy Chan has previously expressed willingness to sponsor the Uptown train station.

The Uptown area is also set to become more dense, as Tan said that See Hoy Chan is planning to build a boutique retail mall together with an office tower and some residential units in the current car park at the centre of the development.

Hatim also suggested that the TTDI station be relocated to Damansara Uptown as it was a major commercial area.

“It can serve Taman Tun, Tropicana shopping centre, Uptown, DJ (Damansara Jaya), DU (Damansara Utama), (and) Damansara Kim. That area’s perfect,” said Hatim.

Ben Loh, who lives near Damansara Heights, said that while he supports the MRT system and wishes it was built years ago, he was concerned about the location of the stations in the area.

“The station locations seem sub-optimal,” he said after examining the MRT schematics at a public viewing that showed the station called Pusat Bandar Damansara (Damansara Town Centre) being located outside the town centre itself and closer to the junction where Bangsar’s Jalan Maarof and the Spring Highway meet.

The KL MRT system is touted as the most expensive construction project ever undertaken in the country and initial estimates have put the cost at about RM36 billion although officials from the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) have said that it is too early to disclose the actual cost.

The proposed alignment map is up for public viewing until May 14 at seven locations across the city.

They are Kuala Lumpur City Hall, Petaling Jaya City Council, Shah Alam City Council, Selayang Municipal Council, Kajang Municipal Council as well as the Bangsar LRT station and the SPAD office in Menara Dayabumi.

The public can provide their feedback on the project via email to or through the SPAD toll free line at 1-800-82-6868.

The detailed environmental assessment impact report has been uploaded for public viewing at the Department of Environment’s website.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Commuters say welcome MRT

KUALA LUMPUR, Feb 17 — The planned integration of Klang Valley’s public transport systems will ease travel and boost development, said commuters who spoke to The Malaysian Insider yesterday.

They said the Klang Valley Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project, estimated to cost RM36.6 billion once fully completed, will slash their travel time considerably.

The first line, to be built from July 16 this year until 2016, will connect Sungai Buloh and Kajang via a 51km line which will pass through Kuala Lumpur’s city centre.

For students Kavitha Yankinaidu, 21; Sarranyah Subramaniam, 21; Rubaasheiniy Morganathasan, 22; and Mageshini Arumugam, 23, the MRT will make their daily commute to college easier.

The group of friends currently take the RapidKL bus to HELP University College in Pusat Bandar Damansara — but said they would rather not.
“The bus is very congested, especially in the early morning and evenings after 4pm. We get packed like sardines,” Kavitha said.

“Plus, when we miss the bus, it takes at least another half an hour for the next one to arrive,” Rubaasheiniy said.

Real estate manager Ivan Kee agreed the MRT would make commuting easier. The 41-year-old also anticipated that the project would also boost home prices in the Kajang area where he lived.

“Hopefully it will boost the value of property in Kajang,” he said.
Another commuter, Dr Julie Wong, also welcomed the project.

“I totally support it. Malaysia need to progress and develop,” said the 39-year-old medical practitioner, who described the current state of public transportation system here as inconvenient.

“Our train carriages are so small and crowded. This is different to the trains in Singapore and Hong Kong!”

But she cautioned that the MRT would also need to provide well-equipped parking lots.

“Parking is the biggest problem at each light rail transit (LRT) station that I go to. Perhaps they can provide automated carparks,” she said.

The Political Studies for Change (KPRU) executive director Ong Ooi Heng has said that as only one in three MRT stations will provide parking space, parking rates may increase in the Klang Valley.