Feedback submission on Melaka Aerorail

Today is the 2nd last day for the submission of feedback and comments regarding the public display for the Melaka Aerorail.

TRANSIT has issued the following submission

The Association for the Improvement of Mass Transit (TRANSIT) wishes to express its concerns about the Melaka Aerorail project, an intermediate capacity transit system consisting of two phases of construction, which has been proposed to link the town of Melaka with the town of Ayer Keroh, as well as a number of sites along the way.

TRANSIT is concerned about a number of factors related to the Aerorail project. First, we are concerned that the Aerorail project is not being designed as part of a comprehensive public transport plan for the town of Melaka and the Melaka Tengah district. Second, we are concerned about the method of public consultation which does not include critical information such as why the Aerorail technology was chosen, why station locations were chosen, etc. Third, we are concerned about the reasons behind the selection of the Aerorail technology for the line. Fourth, we are concerned about the projected capacity of the line, at 4500 ppdph, which is extremely low for an elevated form of rapid transit. Fifth, we are concerned about the routing of the Aerorail which does not serve the major areas of Plaza Mahkota and Melaka Raya. Sixth we are concerned about the proposed fare, which is higher than the Kelana Jaya LRT line in Kuala Lumpur.

1. Aerorail is not part of a comprehensive public transport network

TRANSIT is concerned that the Aerorail project is not being designed as part of a comprehensive public transport plan for the town of Melaka and the Melaka Tengah district. While we recognize the need for a rapid transit that links the town of Melaka with Ayer Keroh, we are concerned that this single link will not meet the needs of the vast majority of public transport users in the towns of Melaka, Batu Berendam, Cheng, Ayer Keroh and other parts of the Melaka Tengah district.

TRANSIT believes that a single rapid-transit line can only be effective if it is joined to a comprehensive network of rapid-transit lines and feeder buses. For this reason, we cannot support the proposed Aerorail because it is incomplete as a public transport solution.

TRANSIT proposes that additional rapid-transit routes in the form of “Bus-Rapid Transit” be introduced on the following major north-south roads – Jalan Tun Abdul Razak – Lebuh AMJ; Jalan Hang Tuah; Jalan Syed Abdul Aziz – to provide effective links on the north-south corridors. In addition, a network of feeder / shuttle buses must be put in place to serve each station on the Aerorail and each halt on the “Bus Rapid Transit” routes.

2. Method of Public Consultation

TRANSIT is also concerned about the method of public consultation which does not include critical information such as why the Aerorail technology was chosen, why station locations were chosen, etc. We are happy with the amount of technical information provided, including route map, pylon drawings, station locations, station model, as well as service capacity and Aerorail engineering & technical information.

However, we believe that more effort should be made to provide critical information about WHY the Aerorail technology was chosen, WHY particular station locations were chosen, HOW many people the line is expected to serve, anticipated levels of demand, and finally, HOW was the process for selection designed.

TRANSIT proposes that this critical information should be made public because it is vital to help the public understand the reasons behind the choice of Aerorail technology, station locations, etc. etc.

3. Selection of Aerorail Technology

TRANSIT is concerned about the selection of Aerorail technology for the rapid transit line, especially because the reasons behind the selection of the Aerorail technology for the line have not been made public. TRANSIT believes that Pyramid Express Sdn. Bhd. should make public the technology selection process so that the public can be aware of why the Aerorail technology was chosen over more recognized technologies like LRT, Monorail or Bus Rapid Transit or Rapid Tram. The public needs to see the analysis of the costs and benefits of each mode so that they can understand why the Aerorail was chosen.

Frankly like many others, TRANSIT is skeptical of Aerorail as being the most cost effective solution for a rapid transit link since we observe that Aerorail is a relatively untried proprietary technology – thus leading to concerns about the future operations and maintenance of the line as well as the related costs.

TRANSIT proposes that the documents pertaining to the cost-benefit analysis & comparison of the Aerorail technology to other rapid-transit technologies be made public.

4. Projected Capacity

TRANSIT is concerned about the projected capacity of the line, at 4500 ppdph, which is extremely low for an elevated form of rapid transit. We believe that a capacity of 4500 ppdph is well-within the reach of “Bus Rapid Transit” technology and tram services – both of which are lower in capital and operating costs than Aerorail and would likely have more room for service expansion.

For this reason, a clear explanation of the reasons behind the selection of Aerorail technology is necessary and in the public interest.

TRANSIT is also concerned that the Aerorail technology is limited in capacity as demonstrated by your own report, which suggests that the maximum capacity will be 4500 ppdph. There appears to be no information given about options for increasing the size of the trains or increasing their frequency beyond the purchase of 14 additional trainsets for Phase 2.

TRANSIT proposes that the reasons for the selection of the Aerorail technology be made public. Also, the projected capacity and passenger demand levels be made public.

5. Routing of the Aerorail

TRANSIT is very concerned about the routing of the Aerorail which does not serve the major areas of Plaza Mahkota and Melaka Raya. We observe that Pyramid Express Sdn. Bhd. has revised the route of the Aerorail so that it does not enter the Heritage Buffer Zone and Heritage core zone. However, the termination of the line at Jalan Tun Ali leaves a significant gap between the central institutional & commercial zone along Jalan Hang Tuah and the major commercial zones of Plaza Mahkota and Melaka Raya.

TRANSIT proposes that an extension of the Aerorail via the Tanquera (Tengkera) neighbourhood be included with the Aerorail proposal. We believe that this extension (which could also be designed as a spur line or loop line) would run along the newly reclaimed coastal areas to the north of the Melaka River, serving future developments along this route. In addition, the line would pass the entertainment areas at the Melaka river mouth including the Eye on Malaysia, Jeti, and Pulau Melaka. Further on the route can pass by the Portuguese Settlement before following a routing that would return to the Melaka Sentral bus terminal.

A feeder bus link between the Melaka river mouth and the Makhota and Melaka Raya commercial areas will have to be provided in addition to the Aerorail service.

6. Fare for Aerorail

TRANSIT is concerned about the proposed fare, which is higher per km than the Kelana Jaya LRT line in Kuala Lumpur, which has significantly higher capital and operations costs and uses a more robust infrastructure. The starting fare for the Kelana Jaya line is only RM0.90 compared to the RM1.20 proposed for the Aerorail. We observe that the fare table shows a remarkable similarity to the fare table for the KL Monorail and believe that such a fare table is inappropriate given the lower anticipated capital and operating costs of the Aerorail.

TRANSIT believes that the proposed fares will place the Aerorail line at a price that is not affordable for a majority of residents and visitors to Melaka and may only be affordable to foreign tourists. We do not believe that it is appropriate to design a public transport system that is not affordable to the majority of local residents and believe that this should be reconsidered.

For this reason, TRANSIT proposes that the reasons for the design of the fare table be made public, and that the fares be revised and brought in line with the fare table for the Kelana Jaya LRT line.

Conclusion

TRANSIT believes that Melaka does need a better rapid transit service – but it also needs a more effective and comprehensive public transport network rather than a single line using a relatively untried proprietary technology. We believe that the public need to be made aware of a significant number of factors and reasons behind the decisions made related to the selection of the Aerorail technology, the route alignment and the locations of proposed stations.

In addition, we believe that the Aerorail will not be an effective public transport solution unless it reaches more of the commercial areas around the mouth of the Melaka river and unless it is priced at a rate that will allow more people to make use of the service.

Please do not hesitate to contact TRANSIT for further discussion of these observations and feedback points. We can be reached at klangvalley.transit@gmail.com, 012-248-3330, or through our website http://transitmy.org

Yours Sincerely

Moaz Yusuf Ahmad
Adviser & Coordinator
TRANSIT – the Association for the Improvement of Mass-Transit

TRANSIT Says:

21 September:
There is still time to give feedback. Make your submission at http://www.aerorail.net. Please send copies of your submission to TRANSIT, directly to Pyramid Express (use the “Contact Us” option on the Aerorail.net site) as well as to the Department of Railways (general@dor.gov.my) and the Minister of Transport (menteri@mot.gov.my).

30 September:
We note from the articles below that only 290 submissions were received for the Melaka Aerorail public display – 200 through the website, 60 through the MBMB office and 30 through the DOR office at Menara Dayabumi.  Frankly, this is quite disappointing!

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4 thoughts on “Feedback submission on Melaka Aerorail”

  1. the aerorail technology is complete bull. Spnb which conducted the penang monorail tender exercise previously is keeping silent.the experts there should know.

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