TRANSIT has noted that the MRT proposal is receiving more and more attention. Today, we take note of 3 articles which focus on the changes that the MRT would bring to KL – with “experts” commenting on different aspects of these changes.
TRANSIT will provide links to these articles as well as some highlights of each article with comments. However, what is really needed here is your participation in the discussion about the public transport needs of Malaysia in general and the Klang Valley in particular.
Article 1: Expert: MRT should be managed by a single body (The Star)
The “Expert”: Stephen Robinson, Director of Engineering firm Aecom
- All the MRT lines should be integrated with the network – one body should manage the network; [TRANSIT: What about KTM Komuter? Where should they fit in?]
- Commercial takeover may be impossible but fares should be integrated; [TRANSIT: Ok, but Prasarana does own the 3 “rail” lines (LRT & Monorail)]
- Current network does not serve the city centre well; [TRANSIT: Er….yeah.]
- The money spent on highway construction and fuel subsidy over the years would have been more than enough to develop a comprehensive MRT network; [TRANSIT: Er…see our comment above]
- Rail developers should be allowed to acquire strata title for lands adjoining the project; [TRANSIT: in other words, they should be able to acquire the air rights and underground rights to the land adjacent to rail lines and especially railway stations – this would facilitate railway construction & allow for improved, stable and reliable funding]
Article 2: MRT can boost city (The Star)
The Expert: T.C. Chew, Project Director of Hong Kong MTR Corporation Ltd
- No system can carry more people than the MRT; [TRANSIT: Have you seen the services offered by Southeastern trains in the SE Greater London and the South East of the UK recently?]
- KL deserves to have a [MRT] system similar to London, Hong Kong and Beijing; [TRANSIT: Wow. Not even close! KL does not “deserve” anything and we are nowhere near the density of any of these cities (let alone the level of responsibility, accountability, competency, professionalism etc.) … not to mention that our public transport usage has actually decreased since we built the LRT and monorail lines!]
- The Draft KL City Plan 2020 estimates a targeted rail capacity (passenger per hour per direction) of 183,700 is required for its modal share target; [TRANSIT: This would be in all of the lines (including KTM Komuter?). Currently the Kelana Jaya LRT carries about 11,000 passengers per hour per direction, while the Ampang LRT carries closer to 20,000.]
- The current rail capacity provision during peak hour is about 60,000 passengers [per hour per direction?] while the proposed fleet expansions and headway reductions under the urban transport National Key Result Areas (NKRA) will only increase to 104,000 passengers. [TRANSIT: We are pleased to know that rail service capacity can be improved by more than 40% if we just buy a lot more trains and improve our signaling systems. So what has the government been doing for the past decade while they watched the public transport system failing right in front of them? Oh yeah, they introduced a competitor to the existing bus operators.]
- An LRT system alone is not enough. A MRT system located in high-demand areas in the city centre is essential to reduce the current high proportion of car users. [TRANSIT: OK. MRT, in the city centre is needed.]
- proposed MRT lines should work with the existing lines and connect with them as much as possible to provide passengers with a seamless journey and as close as possible to one another.; [TRANSIT: Er. yeah.]
- If Hong Kong can do it, so can KL [TRANSIT: Is someone angling for a job?]
Article 3: Expert: System will help optimise use of existing lines (The Star)
The Expert: Goh Bok Yen from MAG Techncial & Development Consultants
- MRT should be part of the network with MRT at the top of a clear system hierarchy; [TRANSIT: Order! We demand order in our rail network!]
- A circle line is a common and crucial element in a metropolitan [line]; [TRANSIT: Er, no, circle line usually exist for the purpose of connecting radial lines. Sometimes “Circle lines” are not actually circles – like the CCL in Singapore, Circle Line, Overground and Crossrail in London – and many cities do not have “circle lines” becuase they do not have a circular development pattern.]
- The MRT and LRT extension lines will increase Kuala Lumpur’s track coverage from 15km per million population to 30km when completed, as compared with 40km in Hong Kong, 35km in Singapore and 10km in Bangkok, (which has better placement of stations). [TRANSIT: That shows you what good planning and government authority can do.]
- “When the new lines are fully completed and supported by an efficient bus network, we can cover 80% of the population of Greater KL (within 20km radius from the city centre). In other words, a commuter will reach either a train or a bus station within 400m of walking and be linked to the whole system. [TRANSIT: since the talk about MRT started back in June, has anyone heard any mention of the importance of an efficient bus network as part of the overall public transport network – besides Mr. Goh here of course?]
- Feeder buses can become more reliable: “Once it is well integrated, then buses need to only loop 3km to 5km as feeders to the stations. The waiting time can be limited to five to 10 minutes with a fleet of eight buses for a 3km loop,” he added. [TRANSIT: Mr. Goh consistently talks about the importance of buses. We like the way Mr. Goh thinks.]
- Estimates that travelling from one end of the system to the town centre will take about 35min to 40min. There’s still room to improve, such as using KTM as an express option by reducing its stops. [TRANSIT: Another interesting idea and similar to a proposal we have already shared with KTMB.]
- Pay more attention particularly to areas undergoing urban redevelopment such as Old Town, Section 13 and Section 52 in Petaling Jaya, Jalan Ipoh and Segambut,” [TRANSIT: We agree!]
- A well-integrated system ought to be supported by a good ticketing system, effective dissemination of information and flexibility for expansion. [TRANSIT: Sure, but we do not need to construct an MRT in order to remake the existing system into a well-integrated one. We just wonder what Prasarana has been doing (on the topic of integration) since 2003. Fare integration in Hong Kong took 7 months. Fare integration in KL has taken 7 years (and counting).]
- Institutional integration is of paramount importance. The public land transport commission (SPAD) should be as dynamic and innovative as a private entity; [TRANSIT: Er…yeah. And look at the man in charge. Show of hands, please: who sees Syed Hamid Albar as dynamic or innovative? Please, keep your hands up while I count.]
- having a public-listed company to operate the urban public transportation would eventually benefit everyone. [TRANSIT: We wonder about this. At this stage / state that we are in, shouldn’t a public transport operator be able to concentrate on providing the most efficient service, rather than paying dividends to shareholders?]
- foresees a drastic change in lifestyle after the completion of the MRT. Parking trend, among others, will see a shift as demand drops and the underground stations — more than 20 — will also lead to an increase in underground shopping space.
“The alignment, while fulfilling the present demand, must also tap the future mega projects. The planning committee must have the foresight, as well as enough information, to link the MRT with these future hubs. “These are the main objectives that the MRT needs to achieve, without these, you are merely adding another three lines that do not serve a good purpose,” he added. [TRANSIT: Can you say “non-transparent, secretive, backroom planning? Somehow, we think that people in backrooms all over the Klang Valley are rubbing their hands with glee at Mr. Goh’s comment here.]
[TRANSIT: Great! Because KL does not have enough shopping space already….right? Maybe we can convert some of these unused parking spaces to offices, gardens, and … wait for it…. shops! But who wants to bet there will still be double parking on the streets of KL, even with a surplus of parking lonts>]
Some of the details/highlights and comments above reveal some very interesting viewpoints about the future of public transport in KL. All groups seem to think that the MRT will make a huge difference in public transport and will change the face of the Klang Valley, and the “experts” above seem to share that enthusiasm. But at least Mr. Goh talks about the reality of the situation and includes the buses in the picture – we at TRANSIT do not want the buses left out.
Speaking of feeling left out, do you notice that there is no commentary from other experts like “Prasarana” or “SPAD” in this set of articles? After all, we at TRANSIT want to hear what the real players think about the MRT.
Not to mention, we at TRANSIT want to know what you think of the MRT proposals and the changing face of public transport in the Klang Valley. After all, we are Malaysia’s
Public Transport Forum!
Oh, and what about the money? Is anyone talking about money here? Not only the construction costs, but social and economic costs and benefits. As well as, how much are passengers willing to pay for this great MRT+LRT+Komuter+monorail+bus network?