New trains expected to cut waiting time at KTM Komuter lines (The Star)
KUALA LUMPUR: When the newly-acquired trains from CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive from China are put into service for the KTM Komuter lines by the end of this year, train commuters can look forward to shorter waiting times during peak hours.
Commuters on the Rawang-Sungai Gadut, Batu Caves-Port Klang, Sentul-Port Klang and Batu Caves-Rawang routes will benefit from the additional capacity from the trains, technically known as electric multiple units or EMUs.
The first of the 38 EMUs will arrive next month and will be tested before they are put into service.
About 100,000 commuters jam KTM Komuter trains daily during weekdays to travel in about 20 sets of EMUs of three cars each available to them.
From a schedule of 15-minute intervals at one time, which theoretically required at least 36 EMUs to be provided each day by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB), this has since slowed down to 20-minute intervals or, which theoretically means 25 EMUs.
But KTMB does not even have the luxury of 25 EMUs.
Since September 2009, their availability has been down to around 21 EMUs daily because of broken down trains that have not been repaired from 62 EMUs at one time.
On bad and unfortunate days, this can sink to a precariously low of 15 to 18 EMUs per day.
Hence, delays of 40 minutes or more on certain sectors are not uncommon with KTM Komuter trains always packed like sardines during weekdays.
This also amplifies the fact that there is no shortage of passengers for KTM Komuter trains in view of its relatively cheap cost as it only costs RM6 from KL Sentral to Seremban.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha told Bernama that the government had decided to improve the situation through a number of initiatives under the National Key Result Areas (NKRA) for public transport.
The NKRA initiatives were launched in July 2009 by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak as part of the Government Transformation Programme (GTP) towards achieving Vision 2020 and improving the government's service delivery to the people.
Besides improving capacity, Kong said the measures were also to raise the daily ridership to 600,000 public transport commuters in the Klang Valley by the end of 2012.
This target, he said, was 2.5 times more than the current ridership.
"It's a tall order for us but we are working hard to achieve our target," Kong said.
The current daily ridership is about 240,000 for public transport in the Klang Valley, estimated to represent 10 to 12 per cent of the total population in the country's busiest urban centre.
Kong explained that the Klang Valley's public transport services had already been filled to the brim, particularly for rail services (KTM Komuter, RapidKL, LRT and Monorail).
Such a pressing situation demanded the creation of an additional capacity for 360,000 more people to migrate to public transport from private vehicles, he said.
Of the potential increase, 58 percent or 207,000 will be for rail and 42 percent or 153,000 will be for buses.
Rail will be the biggest contributor, with KTM Komuter contributing around 95,000 passengers, the Kelana Jaya LRT line 62,000 and the Ampang LRT line 33,000.
The first step towards improving capacity took place at the end of 2010 when new four-car train sets were introduced on the Kelana Jaya LRT line, the most congested rail line in the Klang Valley, from the previous two-car train sets.
The initiative was to secure "quick wins" for the people's benefit under the NKRA for urban public transport. - Bernama
Letters: No end of problems with KTM Komuter