TRANSIT took note of two interesting articles with information about the Kuala Lumpur railway station.
12 May 2010
KUALA LUMPUR: The KL railway station at Jalan Sultan Hishamuddin will be given a new lease of life soon.
Come July, the historic 100-year-old building will once again function as a train station, the first time after nine years, since KL Sentral replaced it as a train hub in 2001.
Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) president Dr Aminuddin Adnan said the station will serve as one of the stops along the Seremban-Ipoh Electric-Train-Set (ETS) route.
“The KL railway station will accommodate an office and customer service centre for ETS passengers,” Aminuddin told The Malay Mail yesterday.
The ETS management will be based in the station, KTMB expects to open up more office lots and business kiosks in an effort to make it a bustling station once again.
“We have already upgraded the platforms in the station to cater to this purpose,” he said.
The station’s railway museum will also be given a face-lift to appeal to the masses.
“Many things are being done to get tourists and visitors to appreciate its architectural and historical values.”
Aminuddin said reviving the station exemplified the mutual co-existence between history and modern technology.
However, the date of the official launch of the spruced-up KL railway station has yet to be determined.
Meanwhile, Aminuddin said KTMB had received complaints of rowdy male passengers, pickpockets and foreigners taking advantage of female passengers in its ladies-only coaches, which was launched on its Komuter trains on April 28.
[TRANSIT: This was exactly our concern – that the launching of the carriages must be complemented with an improved security system.]
“We are concerned with these matters and we want our passengers to feel safe and privileged while using our service. A few people have raised concerns on whether this move is to separate the sexes, but we have the normal coaches to serve both sexes.”
He pointed out that the practice of having coaches specifically for ladies was implemented in developed countries like Japan years ago and it took some time for the people to fully understand the reason for having such coaches.
He said over the past two weeks, new female passengers have been using the ladies-only coach.
“On Saturday, we will introduce the ladies-only coach on the Seremban-Rawang route.”
The article above is an interesting one. TRANSIT strongly supports the enhanced use of Kuala Lumpur station and we were very pleased when Komuter services ‘returned’ to the station after so many years.
We expect that KTMB will have no choice but to make sure that the enhancement of the Kuala Lumpur station will meet heritage guidelines and customer expectations as well. They know they are being watched!
Unfortunately, we have not heard anything from KTM about plans to improve security on trains and platforms and around stations – this is their responsibility and they cannot forsake it.
Overhaul for KTMB: Rail operator unwraps services enhancement plans (Malay Mail)
13 May 2010
KUALA LUMPUR: KTM Bhd (KTMB) has given itself two years to give commuters the best service possible at its optimum capacity level in line with the National Key Result Area (NKRA) target for urban public transport to improve the network.
Aware of the common grouses faced by the KTM Komuter train users, KTMB president Dr Aminuddin Adnan told The Malay Mail that they are taking several measures to improve the capacity and reliability of train services.
“Reliability is still among the issues we need to solve. We are already working on completely overhauling the trains as well as the wiring systems and other services to improve current services.”
KTM will award contracts this month to refurbish 15 old electric multiple unit (EMU) trains, which it aims to put back into service in stages by March next year. Once completed, the number of trains available will be increased from 28 trains to 43 by next year.
“We have also ordered 38 six car-trains at a cost of RM2 billion, which are expected to arrive in mid-2012. The purchase means we are doubling the capacity of our train services compared with the current three-car trains in use,” said Aminuddin.
He said reliability problems faced by KTMB are attributable to the old EMU trains and their poor design.
On top of this the two companies that supplied the trains had ceased to exist, making it harder to find spare-parts for the existing 15 year old trains since the Komuter line was launched in 1995.
With the increase in number of trains available, KTMB hopes to accomplish a passenger waiting time of between 10 and 20 minutes.
“All these plans are already in the works. Of course, it will take time to be implemented. Just because there are no immediate results, it does not mean we are not doing anything,” Aminuddin said.
He also anticipates that the soon-to-be-formed Public Transport Commission (SPAD) will set a new standard for public transport providers to adhere to and KTMB will strive to meet these standards and requirements.
Although it has yet to conclude what requirements will be incorporated, Aminuddin said: “As the biggest public transportation provider, it is our responsibility to serve the public best.”
He also hopes SPAD will encourage the transportation of heavy goods via rail because it would reduce road congestion and accidents, apart from helping to increase KTMB’s revenue.
We have generally been “on the side” of KTMB in the issues that they are facing – knowing that they lack funding from the government and there are political issues behind some of their problems.
Everyone should know that like Prasarana, KTMB is 100% owned by the Finance Ministry – but unlike Prasarana, KTMB does not have a ‘free hand’ to do anything and they are often being led about by the Minister of Transport. His personal and close involvement in things like train procurement is worrying and of concern to TRANSIT.
The purchase of 38 trains could not come soon enough. However, two points should be raised. First, sources are telling TRANSIT that the 38 trains may be purchased in a deal with a Chinese railway corporation – but no details of the tender have been made public! Second, KTM needs to have over 130 trains in order to operate at their proposed 7.5 minutes frequency.
TRANSIT still stands by our assessment, made in 2006, that KTM needs to purchase at least 120 units of 3-carriage EMU trainsets, or 80 units of 4 or 6-carriage EMUs in order to meet current service needs.
As for future needs – we have to buy more trains. There is no other choice.
HQ eyes relocation, says Aminuddin (Malay Mail)
KUALA LUMPUR: KTM Bhd president Dr Aminuddin Adnan reveals that the railway system needs a functional headquarters with a good IT network and space to house its staff under one roof as it is expanding.
KTMB, he said, is undergoing a restructuring exercise to vastly improve the railway from what it used to be. He said some staff are based at the KL Sentral station while some are at the current headquarters, which leads to communications problems.
“This headquarters, which is about 100 years old, does not provide for the kind of development we seek. We are also constrained by heritage regulations and restrictions.
“We are not allowed to modify the framework, thus we cannot build new offices, divisions and departments when we are growing.”
Aminuddin said that KTMB is looking into whether or not the current headquarters serves its function anymore as it is quite costly to maintain the building.
“We have to make realistic decisions. This building is past our needs. It is such a shame for us to continue occupying this building, when it can be used for a better cause.”
He did not deny KTMB has received several good proposals directly and indirectly via agencies to enhance the building. “In other countries like France, we have seen some old buildings being redeveloped as museums, art and cultural centres, which actually fit with the image of the building.”
The president, who has been with KTMB for almost a year, said the headquarters would attract more tourists and visitors if it were to be redeveloped into a museum or a cultural centre.
Aminuddin maintained the government has the ultimate power to decide what is best for the building. He said the public should not worry about the redevelopment issue if they understood the conditions allowed under the National Heritage Act (NHA) and its provisions.
“When a building is gazetted as a framework for heritage, it means we cannot simply change the building structure and facade as we please. Even the material used in repairing or renovating the building must be of the same material.”
He assured that the public need not worry if redevelopment takes place as he believes the government will not entrust this legacy to parties who will tamper with it. “With such strict regulations under the Act, I do not think we need to worry. If there are concerns of the headquarters being demolished, that will never happen.”
Aminuddin did not dismiss the plan for KTMB to relocate, saying it is now scouting new locations, in KL Sentral or Sentul, used to be the main depot for KTMB trains. He also likened the possible move by the railway operator as similar to that of the old KL High Court building to the new one in Jalan Duta.
Any such move, he assured, will not strip KTMB’s association with the 100-year-old headquarters, which is owned by Railway Assets Corporation.
“KTMB headquarters would retain its identity. If it is redeveloped, KTM should be a part of it. It will be in association with KTMB and will be preserved to remain an iconic train station.”
We feel for KTMB – the old Railway Headquarters building is iconic but KTM’s current and future corporate management structure requires a new building. As we said above, regarding the Kuala Lumpur station – we expect to see that KTMB will conserve the structure of these iconic heritage buildings – no matter how they are used in the future.
As always, your feedback on any of these issues is very welcome. Please comment in the space below, or send us an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.