Making a Subang Airport-KTM link work (Update #1)

Updated with response from Subang Skypark Sdn. Bhd! Scroll to the bottom of this posting to see the response.

TRANSIT took note of articles this weekend discussing improved public transport links between the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah (SSAAS) Airport at Subang and the existing public transport system of the Klang Valley.

Now, TRANSIT is probably among the first to call for a KTM Komuter link between Subang Jaya and the Subang Airport, using the old KTM Sri Subang spur line. But as you can see from our comments below, we are just not sure that it can be done in 15-18 months as promised.

The first article is from the Streets Section of the NST

Shuttle bus services to ply Skypark (Streets-NST)

SUBANG JAYA: Access to the Skypark Terminal will be made even easier following plans to introduce shuttle bus services before [the] middle of the year.

Subang Skypark Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Janardhanan Gopala Krishnan said the shuttle bus services would ferry passengers to and from the Kelana Jaya LRT station and KL Sentral to Skypark Terminal.

“Currently, transportation into Skypark Terminal is limited to private vehicles and taxis. With the shuttle bus services, the connectivity of the public into this area will be eased,” he said.

[TRANSIT: There is also RapidKL bus U81 and Metrobus #99]

Janardhanan said Skypark Terminal will also propose to the Transport Ministry for the KTM commuter service line to be extended into Commercial Nexus, a mixed development project under the company that will be constructed opposite the terminal.

“We want the line to be extended from Subang Jaya and the trains will go directly into the Commercial Nexus building, thus, providing our passengers a seamless mode of transportation into Skypark Terminal.

“Subject to approval, we hope to have the KTM service up and running in the next 15 to 18 months. We also hope the extension could be done up to Sungai Buloh too,” he said.

[TRANSIT: Frankly, if the proposal has not been done by now, there is no way that the project will be complete in 15-18 months!]

Janardhanan added they are holding continuous talks with Rapid KL on the possibility of providing bus services in the area.

[TRANSIT: As we said, RapidKL already provides bus services using U81.]

The other article was from the Star Metro:

Subang airport-KTM Komuter link in the pipeline (Star Metro)
By TEH ENG HOCK

enghock@thestar.com.my

Subang airport’s connectivity will be boosted with plans to link the terminal with the KTM Komuter service and shuttle buses.

KTM Komuter trains could start servicing Sultan Abdul Aziz Shah Airport by next year, said Janardhanan Gopala Krishnan, chief operating officer of terminal operator Subang Skypark Sdn Bhd.

[TRANSIT: And we say it is not going to happen by next year.]

He added that the train stop would be located at Commercial Nexus, a proposed shopping mall across the road from the terminal, which is now an open-air car park.

Artist's conception of the proposed commercial nexus. Image courtesy of Subang Skypark.

For a larger image, please click here.

“We have proposed to extend the KTM Komuter line (to the airport).

“There is already a spur line to the roundabout (on the way to the airport).

This image of the Subang area shows the Sri Subang railway subdivision (in red) that links the Pelabuhan Klang line (in blue) to the airport. The Kelana Jaya LRT line (purple) is at to the top right while the Subang Airport Road (yellow) cuts through the middle.
Image showing the proposed Skypark project with the existing KTM subdivision which would be upgraded.

“Subject to approval, it should be ready in 15 to 18 months,” he told reporters recently.

Janardhanan said Skypark wanted to provide seamless transfer for passengers by improving connectivity to the airport.

He said shuttle buses connecting the terminal to the Kelana Jaya LRT station and KL Sentral should begin operating by the middle of the year.

“We are in talks with private operators. We are still speaking with RapidKL on (public) buses plying this area,” he said.

On the status of the RM150mil Commercial Nexus, he said they were finalising the concept design, and construction work was expected to start in the second half of this year.

He said the mall, with about 600,000 sq ft of retail space, would not only serve passengers but also the community in nearby areas such as Ara Damansara.

“We want to get away from the mindset that if you go to an airport, you are just sending or picking someone up,” he said.

TRANSIT Says:

As we have said above, TRANSIT was the first to recommend that the Subang Airport be connected to the existing rapid transit system. The existing Sri Subang spur is already present at the roundabout south of the airport and it would be relatively easy to extend the line.

Or would it?

If you take a close look at the google earth image of the Skypark Development or the google earth image provided by TRANSIT,  you can see that the project would not be as easy as it first looks.

For one thing, the railway itself is located on the west side of Subang Airport Road and is actually some distance from the roundabout. However, the proposed Commercial Nexus is located on the east side of Subang Airport Road (on the site of the old fish restaurants).

In between the roundabout and the site of the Commercial Nexus is the actual flight apron, the concrete areas, buildings, Maintenance, Refit & Overhaul (MRO) facilities and parking lots that surround any airport.

We do not see how the line can get across the Subang Airport Road unless there are some major works done to the flight apron & surrounding buildings.

Can all this be done in 15-18 months? The straight answer is no, it is not possible.

But that does not mean that the proposal is impossible. Actually, we like the proposal for a rail link between Subang Jaya KTM and the Subang Airport. But we have a realistic approach to making it work.

Basically, we would propose that the railway be extended along the concrete flight apron past the site of the old Terminal building, then a flyover would be built to cross the Subang Airport Road  & link the KTM line with the Airport Complex.

The Subang Airport Rail Service (yeah, we call it SARS) could be operated by a private company paying KTMB, or by KTMB itself.

The big questions are:

  • Is KTMB is ready to invest in rebuilding the Sri Subang spur line?
  • Does KTMB intend to double-track & electrify the Sri Subang spur line?
  • Does KTMB intend to extend the Sri Subang line past the airport to Suria Subang, or alternatively to Sg. Buloh?
  • Does Subang Skypark Sdn. Bhd. want to have a separate Subang Airport Rail Service or do they prefer to have the airport as a station on KTMB’s Sri Subang line?
  • How much is Subang Skypark Sdn. Bhd. and / or Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad willing to contribute to the proposal?
  • What does RapidKL think of the extension?

As you can see, there are more questions than there are answers – so that is why we have invited the people at Skypark to give us more details about their public transport proposals, and this is their recent response:

Dear En. Moaz,

Firstly, thank you very much for your e-mail and your interest in our upcoming development in the LTSAAS area. I am writing to you on behalf of my COO, Mr. Janardhanan, who is currently away on business and who apologizes for not being able to reply to you in person.

For your information, we are still finalizing our plans for the SkyPark Commercial Nexus, which includes the development of the rail link. As these plans are still being developed, it is somewhat premature at this stage to share the same until it becomes more concrete. However, we aim to finalize the overall Nexus development plans within the next few months. We are
targeting a period of 15 to 18 months for the railway construction link to be ready from the commencement date of the commercial Nexus construction. Unfortunately, at this point of time we are still uncertain of the commencement date.

To get this plan off the ground, at this moment in time, the rough idea is to have the existing KTM spur line from Subang Jaya to the Sri Subang halt to be electrified and signalized, and to then extend this to the Nexus initially. Concurrently, we are studying parameters such as whether the existing line would be single track (as current) or double track, whether the extension line would be single or double track and the alignment of the
said extension.

Whichever the final outcome, we feel this link would enhance connectivity for the residents in the areas surrounding LTSAAS to KL Sentral, from where commuters have a number of other transport choices – KTM, LRT, ERL as well as buses and taxis. We are working to see the most effective way for this new development to best serve the community within the surrounding area.

As for our plans with Rapid KL, I am sure that you are aware that a stage bus service is already available from Kelana Jaya to the Subang area. However, our discussions with Rapid KL as well as private operators centre around ways to enhance what is currently available by way of a direct service to and from Kelana Jaya and Skypark Terminal. This, we feel, would assist the connectivity needs of the residential population as well as the current working community and those using our facilities at SkyPark Terminal and the surrounding areas.

These initiatives are our effort towards addressing the concerns on transportation (or lack thereof) to and from as well as within the area that have been highlighted to us by our partners and the patrons of SkyPark Terminal.

We hope the above answers your queries. In the meantime, we would be glad to update you should there be any further development in our efforts.

Thank you.

Regards,

Natasha Musa
Vice President, Communications

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