MRT Update: Do we need an MRT to Shah Alam & Klang? (Update #1)

  • Updated with poll! Read through our post and join our poll – conveniently placed at the bottom of this post!

TRANSIT has taken note of the updated plans for the MRT network, which (as you know by now) are actually quite different from the original MMC-Gamuda proposal.

If you have been following the plan (or all of the plans), the “latest, ultimate new” MRT network still involves 3 lines, and one of the lines does travel from Sg. Buloh to Kajang, and there is still a Circle Line although the alignment appears to be quite different.

The 3rd MRT line is proposed to run from Ampang to Klang via the southern route – through Seputeh, PJ Selatan, Sunway, Subang Jaya and possibly Kota Kemuning.

Star Graphic showing the proposed MRT line in the centre of KL. Image courtesy of The Star - accuracy not verified by SPAD.

Unfortunately, TRANSIT does not have enough details about the route in order to give a full comment – but what we know already allows us to ask this very important question:

Is this MRT from KL to Klang line actually necessary?

See our point of view, an interesting letter and give us your feedback – all after the jump!

Ok, so we have dared to ask this question. It does not necessarily mean that TRANSIT is against the MRT line – but we are concerned based on the following issues:

  • We only have so much money;
  • We know the Klang-Shah Alam – Petaling Jaya – KL corridor is the busiest public transport corridor in the country – that’s why we have express buses and KTM Komuter service along that corridor!, and;
  • We could probably get great public transport service by putting our money into upgrading KTM Komuter service and extending the Kelana Jaya LRT to Shah Alam instead of Subang Jaya & USJ.

Not to mention, if we managed to save the money by upgrading the KTM Komuter service, we could also invest in a necessary MRT line for Petaling Jaya – similar to the suggestion from Engineer Azmi of Petaling Jaya, who writes in favour of the KL – Klang (or as he writes it, Klang to KL) MRT line, but also recommends a line running north-south through Petaling Jaya:

Letter: Fourth MRT line may not be necessary (The Star)

Thursday February 3, 2011

It is great to hear the alignment of the MRT third line will start from Klang town. This will include the city of Shah Alam (UITM, Pusat Bandar, Sek 9, Sek 13 and Glenmarie), Subang Jaya, Sunway, Petaling Jaya (State and Old Town) and Kuchai and Seputeh on its way to KL.

[TRANSIT: We’re not exactly sure where the details came from – but we can be confident that Engineer Azmi is either familiar with the plan or a really good engineer who could determine the best route himself]

This corridor is actually the most developed, densely populated and right in the centre of Klang Valley or Greater KL.

[TRANSIT: And it already has public transport – poorly organized & unreliable, but it is already there. Why reinvent the train?]

This line should interchange with the LRT extension in Subang Jaya and KTM for wider commuter-based appeal.

[TRANSIT: We already have an LRT line and KTM Komuter line serving this corridor – and we are planning an interchange in Subang Jaya – why not then extend the line to Shah Alam where it clearly needed]

The second line, which is the circle line surrounding outer KL “hot-spots” is also badly needed but it is very sensible of the Government to consider a circle line for Klang Valley that runs centre north-south or near the Lebuhraya Damansara Puchong (LDP) highway.

[TRANSIT: This proposal actually sounds familiar – because it was first proposed by Moaz Yusuf Ahmad of TRANSIT many years ago. And Idrose Mohamed of Prasarana also proposed a line along this corridor to be built after the Sg. Buloh to Cheras LRT line. What’s old is new again.]

The LDP has the worst traffic condition and the highway has no space to expand.

To further justify this, the line will cross and interchange with at least four rail lines (from Puchong to 1Utama) hence providing broader commuter potential, seamless connectivity and journey.

We may not need a fourth MRT line to achieve this but merely a spur-line from the MRT Orange Line at just a fraction of the total cost. The spur-line concept can also be applied to the Sg Buloh–Kajang trunk line to cover Kepong or Serdang.

[TRANSIT: Or, instead of building the MRT all the way to Klang, we could spend far less money to upgrade the KTM Komuter service and extend the LRT to Shah Alam, then we could build the MRT in Petaling Jaya – as TRANSIT has recommended long ago.]

The only spur-line in our system is at the Chan Sow Lin LRT station where the trunk line from KL is split to Ampang and Bukit Jalil and we can see how successful they are.

It is good that the Government is announcing details of all three MRT lines as we definitely need a holistic and total approach in building the Greater KL MRT so we can get the best plans with lower development and construction costs.

I can’t wait to view the proposed alignment and detailed station locations at next month’s public display.

IR AZMI,

Petaling Jaya.

TRANSIT Says:

We like what Azmi has to say about the proposed line through Petaling Jaya – but why should it be built as a spur line? Instead, why not accept that Petaling Jaya needs a north-south public transport corridor to interchange with the proposed Sg. Buloh to Kajang MRT, and also provide a public transport alternative to the LDP highway.

Let’s be honest – we do not need an MRT to Klang. We need a frequent, reliable KTM Komuter service and frankly, TRANSIT would be happy to see SPAD and Prasarana operate the Komuter service on KTM’s behalf.

For all the billions we are going to spend, let us spend them in the right place.

Better KTM service and a short LRT extension to Shah Alam instead of USJ will make a huge difference for public transport users in Shah Alam & Klang – and give us the opportunity to improve public transport service in Petaling Jaya as well.

That is truly a win, win, win situation.

As always though, we want to know what public transport users and those interested in public transport issues think – so please, join our totally unscientific poll and give us your feedback!

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23 thoughts on “MRT Update: Do we need an MRT to Shah Alam & Klang? (Update #1)”

  1. i believe we have the right infrastructure in place already to combat congestions in the Klang Valley.Right now, it is up to the authorities to:

    1- reduce numbers of private cars on the road
    2- increase networks of buses
    3- increase frequency of availability of buses and trains
    4- enforce, enforce, enforce

    how do one solve the LDP jam? provide better public transport service, of coz. but if the buses are stuck at LDP crawl, it won’t help at all.make it a dis-incentive for people to drive.

  2. @ Transit

    Thanks for uploading my article. I used to be a regular commentator here & for TRANSIT viewers, pls find the full, uncensored, technical version below :

    It is great to hear the alignment of MRT 3rd line will start from Klang town. (but surely not from Port Klang as it is 10km waste of public fund). This line, by design, covered the city of Shah Alam (from Bukit Raja, UITM, Pusat Bandar, Sek 9, Stadium Sek 13, Glenmarie), Subang Jaya, Sunway, Petaling Jaya (State, Old Town), Kuchai, Seputeh on their way to KL. This corridor is actually the most developed, densely populated and situated right in the centre of Klang Valley or Greater KL. This line should interchange with the LRT extension in Subang Jaya and KTM for wider commuter-base appeal.

    The 2nd line which is the circle line surrounding outer KL ‘hot-spot’ areas is also badly needed but it is very sensible for government to consider another circle line for Klang Valley that run centre north-south or approximately to LDP highway alignment for less than 10km with following justifications :-

    1) LDP has the worst traffic conditions and the highway itself has no space to expand.
    2) This new line will cross & interchanging with at least 4 rail lines (Puchong LRT, Setia Jaya KTM, Taman Bahagia LRT, One-Utama MRT) offering broadest commuters potential, seamless connection and journey.
    3) This line stops at highly demanding new locations as Bandar Sunway, Taman Universiti, D’sara Jaya, D’sara Intan, D’sara Uptown and Bandar Utama.
    4) While these developers and residents are lobbying to pull a station from the main line, the fact laymen often missed is – MRT cannot have a good turning radius, unlike any other vehicle, as it will create higher level of noise, wear, tear and maintenance. It will also slow down trains at curves resulting lower train average speed that is not desirable for long journey commuters. Some positive counter factors as standard 1,435mm gauge, rails elevation or tilted transit train technology will help but it will not solve the mentioned problems completely.

    This short 10km north-south Klang Valley line unquestionably solves all those problems completely. We may not need 4th MRT line to achieve this but merely a spur-line from the MRT Orange Line with fraction of the total costs. The spur line concept can also be apply to Sg Buluh – Kajang trunk line to covered Kepong (+ Flora D’sara & D’sara Damai) or Serdang (+ Sri Kembangan) respectively. The only spur-line in our system is applied in Chan Sow Lin LRT station where the trunk line from KL is split to Ampang and Bukit Jalil and we can see how successful they are.

    It is good that the government announcing views of all 3 MRT lines as we definitely need a holistic and total approach in building Greater KL MRT so we can get the best plan in advance with lower development & construction costs. I hardly wait to view propose alignment and detail stations location during next month public display.

    1. Hi Azmi

      Thanks for sending the letter as well as for your comments and enclosing the original letter here. We have been wondering where you have been and are glad that you are back. There is a lot to discuss when it comes to the MRT network and other details.

      Perhaps you could share some info about MRT line 3 – the details that we have from the media are very limited, and we would certainly like to see more info about the line. Anything you have would be welcome.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  3. @ Transit

    We have 150km budget of MRT & approx 57km has been used by Sg Buluh – Kajang line. This left 93km with circle line probably contribute 30km and left 63km outstanding. I can’t think of any other desperate corridor in Klang Valley except Klang – KL line PLUS the 10-15km of PJ north-south line.

    Yes, Shah Alam & Klang are serve by KTM & BET but it is not MRT and simply big differences.

    Upgrading KTM Klang line to an MRT type services is a good idea and I have proposed this few years back.. but trust me, this idea, has no stand with realities. It’s just wishful idea or ‘hoping against hope’. Unless the directive and instruction come from President with all agencies as SPAD, KTMB, Prasarana & related bills in one hand, we will never achieve this.

    But Shah Alam & Klang are 2 widespread cities which justifiable for new MRT alignment when the existing KTM line are so bad & lousy. Yes! worst case, the new MRT should just connect to Shah Alam, not Klang and worst still Port Klang!

    Furthermore, converting KTM line to MRT need all new rolling stocks, rail gauge, construction of new stations, power mgmt, signalling etc. The only cost that is free is land, by mercy of KTMB…Hu3. And where will all the freight trains pass?

    The KTM line alignment from Port Klang station to Setia Jaya station (Sg Way FTZ) is actually a poor one. It is getting poorer from Setia Jaya station toward to KL, running through bush of lalang and closed factory next to NPE highway. Do we expect MRT to be build using this alignment?

    Nevertheless, I certainly agreed that the north south PJ line seem more critical than ever.

    Wish SPAD all the best. They seem much better than Prasarana before.. 😉

    1. Hi Azmi

      We understand that it would be easier to build a new MRT instead of trying to upgrade KTM and get bus operators to cooperate to introduce BRT / BET and feeder bus services.

      However, we cannot accept the idea that the government should spend billions of ringgit more than they have to just because they think it would be easier.

      Shah Alam and Klang do not have the density to justify MRT construction at this time. That is why the current solution should be an upgrade for KTM Komuter and the BRT services, plus the extension of the Kelana Jaya line to Shah Alam to provide a fast rail access for those who need to get to Petaling Jaya.

      As for the north-south line through Petaling Jaya, it should be built ahead of any MRT line to Shah Alam and Klang.

      Frankly, hHigh frequency, limited-stop Komuter will still be the best choice for long distance train travel between Klang, Shah Alam and KL. Conversion to MRT is not necessary. As for the freight trains, the government should build the proposed bypass from Serendah – Port Klang – Alor Gajah to allow the freights to bypass the Klang Valley.

      By upgrading the Komuter infrastructure instead of building an entirely new MRT line, they can save money which can be used to remove freight trains from the Klang Valley.

      You should also consider that the Selangor Government is ready to look at redevelopment in Petaling Jaya and Klang along the KTM rail line – so it is quite likely that these areas will improve over the next few years. Frequent train service will make a huge difference in helping push the redevelopment.

      In the future when the density of Shah Alam and Klang increase, those areas will probably need their own rail transit (LRT or MRT) for local travel, rather than an extra long MRT. KTM Komuter (or RapidKomuter for that matter) can provide fast, frequent, limited stop service along the longer distance route from Klang and Shah Alam to KL.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

    2. If the orange line materialize, do consider Kota kemuning to have a station here. We definitely need a mrt station here to serve growing population here. Kota kemuning is neighboring subang and accessible via kesas. Future development nearby like bandar rimbayu by Ijm will also benefited from here.

  4. I totally agree with transit on upgrading the komuter 1st rather than spend billions in building new MRT line.

    As someone who born and grew up in KL, I’ve been using public transport since school days taking bus from cheras to brickfiels then used the lrt to workplace in KLCC and now using komuter lrt when I move to my own house in serdang. Though both komuter route are not the best but with cheap and proper parking place sufficient train set to at least to run every 15min, I’m sure that ridership will increased thus reduce the car on road. (I would be happy if they can do 10min hehehe). Since komuter already “integrated” with KJ & Ampang Line (soon KL Monorail via Nu Sentral) I think it’s the fastest and the cheapest solution.

    For malaysian everything must be “integrated” in one “building” even walk from komuter station to Ampang line in bandar tasek selatan also say very far. Haiyaaaa once upon in time in paris I have to walk up and down staircase turn right and left just to change line. So as long as the connecting walkway is covered, I’m happy already (masjid jamek is almost ready and I’m waiting for hang tuah & titiwangsa integration)

    p/s when the new komuter train will arrive lar had enough of delay and burning train set (while I was inside) I know it’s Keretapi but it doesn’t have to be berAPI and komuter by KTM but don’t lar always be Keretapi Taktentu Masa :p

  5. Hi Moaz,

    I am around.. but I was very busy on jobs including some overseas trip past few months. It prompts me to write again after the MRT news broke to a new level of realization. Contrary to all your team assumption, I have no ideas on how the 3rd line is and I am not an engineer by job description either. I have no interest in the MRT project after all and obviously not a government insider. The only exception is, I have very good idea on overall Klang Valley map, road transport conditions and demographic research due to many reasons to be understood later.

    This confusion warrants me to brief my personal profile. I am a Project Manager in an engineering & manufacturing firm in Shah Alam with accredited engineer status. Being a Project Manager I travel a lot within Klang Valley (and overseas). Our 20 clients/customers are scattered all over Klang Valley from Subang Jaya, Ulu Klang, PJ, Puchong, KL Central, Cheras, Cyberjaya, Gombak, Sri Kembangan and Jln Klang Lama. I have regular meeting with them on average 3x per week. My avg car mileage is 5,000km per month and have been spending more than RM1,000 on RON95 per mth but the worst is the 3-5 unproductive hours a day in the car battle with our traffic congestion mainly during peak time or certain road even during off-peak.

    During my childhood, we used to be like nomad moving house approx every 5 yrs together with parents. I am proud but humble ex-resident of Subang Jaya, Ampang, PJ, Damansara Utama and finally TTDI & Shah Alam now (2 houses as I have 2 wives). Primary school in Sri Petaling PJ and secondary boarding school in Kajang before advancing tertiary education Shah Alam and overseas. My wives are working in Selayang and Sentul respectively with relatives, friends spreading to the rest of the place not previously mentioned as Melawati, Setapak, Sg Buluh, Wangsa Maju, Serdang, Bangi etc in Klang Valley. In short, there is ‘no road not covered’ in Klang Valley.

    All these experienced provide me with very good comparative ideas on each municipality – density, traffic, road conditions, although we need others demographic parameters and data when deciding for a new MRT alignment.

    Back to KL-Klang MRT discussion, every working day, just after we paid RM1.10 at the BT 3 toll, the crawling traffic in FH2 to KL is f/sucking our mentally productive time on the so-called highway. A 5 km journey to PJ is taking more than half an hour when compare to 5min during the CNY holiday. Speaking on behalf of motorists that affected most, I still believe the last MRT line should be build along the vast un-tapped Shah Alam – PJ – KL – Ampang corridor provided the alignment and the station location is at the right place. This is the heart of Klang Valley currently served with two poorest, unreachable rail lines with poor supporting feeder links and parking facilities.

    Extending to Klang is a tricky question but definitely not to Port Klang. The argument here is not whether we need KL-Klang MRT line but “Where should the remaining 61km line will be build ? “ [150km (total) – 51 (1st MRT line) – 40km (MRT Circle line) = 61km.] I would like to hear what other ‘orang KL’ think as well..

    I would agree with you. The simplest and cheapest option is to extend the current LRT from Kelana Jaya to Shah Alam Sek 13 Stadium and further to Shah Alam town instead of turning it vector 90’ south.. but do they really care and consider our opinion since we are just a public transport forum? (we are not even their paid contractors and consultants that have worked hard on geology, soil and ground studies/works). What data and studies have they tell us to justify the Subang Jaya yet Putra Height extension?? Is there evidence 50% of Subang Jaya residents are working in Kelana Jaya? For those Subang Jaya residents working in KL, do they willing to switch to LRT that makes long complicated route to KL? (however, the only thing I likes is the interchange with Subang Jaya KTMB station)

    Best regards,
    Azmi

  6. I voted for MRT for Klang, and waited anxiously for result…turns out majority so far believes the same thing!

    Correct me if I’m wrong, Klang is the 2nd highest population after KL, in the Klang Valley….

    We are tired of KTM Komuter…and we are tired of staying on the other side of the valley…

    If you board the KTM komuter during the daily rush hours, you can easily notice that the train is jam-packed until which station? Yes, Klang station! After Klang, the train is already clear up. This, lots of readers can agree with me, I’m assured.

    And can somebody correct me, if the KTM Komuter KL – Port Klang is the highest serving commuters this far?

    1. Hi @Abu

      Thanks for your comments explaining your vote for the MRT from Port Klang to Ampang. We hope you will encourage your friends to also take part in our poll and give their feedback.

      You are correct that Klang needs better mass transit and that KTM Komuter is currently in terrible shape and does not serve all of Klang. However, TRANSIT still stands by our view that it would be cheaper and faster to upgrade KTM Komuter and bus service and introduce Bus Rapid Transit than to wait another 10 years (at least) for the MRT (with little or no improvements in that time).

      Perhaps by that time Klang will need its own separate MRT or LRT network. But until then, we have to improve public transport today, not wait for improvements tomorrow.

      We will try to get confirmed responses for your questions as soon as we can. From what we know now, we can definitely say that Klang town is smaller in population than MPSJ (which includes Serdang, Puchong etc). We do know that the Klang-KL transport corridor is the busiest (including public transport) but are not sure if the KTM Komuter service is the busiest.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

      1. Then we have to wait until the traffic jam is terrible till we cant stand and then we will have the MRT? Sounds more like a government planning than a proper planning to me 🙂 i’ll say go ahead with Klang-KL line as long is goes through Shah Alam especially the UiTM part who sucks my precious hours every fricking day..

  7. All I know is if we don’t build enough MRT lines now and we need it desperate in the future when Klang population has reached a new great height, when the cost of mrt construction had become quadruple or even higher. Don’t pinpoint at each other and blame at each other.

    1. @Hamidah

      Thanks for the comment. How about an extension of the Kelana Jaya LRT to the Shah Alam stadium, including:

      • Park & Ride facilities
      • Integrated Transport Terminal (including express buses, BRT, and airport coaches)
      • A possible future extension to the centre of Shah Alam to meet up with the Ampang LRT

      Do you think that would meet Shah Alam’s current and future transport needs?

      We really need to get the government to plan ahead for an integrated transport system and we need the public to discuss the best options, instead of waiting for the government/SPAD/Pemandu to present their proposals.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  8. well..Klang hav it populations of 1.2 millions and it is second biggest city in Klang Valley after KL (if population of MPSJ exclude Serdang, Puchong), its time to hav own MRT, many populated area in Klang is not covered by KTM such as Bukit Tinggi, Botanic, Bandar Bukit Raja area, Klang-North City Centre and so on…….

    It will also helping Klang to become a real city, when the MRT is coming to Klang, I believe more condo, apartment, office tower project will be build in Klang..

    Klang already have attracted populations, just one more step to go and needs all of your support

    1. Hi @a

      Population is not the only factor that makes an LRT or MRT economically and financially viable. There must be density to support the LRT/MRT as well as a demonstrated demand for public transport that can be projected to the levels of LRT/MRT (a minimum of approximately 10,000-20,000 passengers per hour per direction).

      The good news is that Klang town does have the density and may have the projected passenger demand to meet LRT capacity levels (the minimum 10,000 passenger per hour per direction).

      The problem is that the suburbs of Klang, and Shah Alam do not have the density or the projected passenger demand.

      This means that an extension of the existing LRT system into Shah Alam & Klang (or a new MRT system linking both to KL) will likely not achieve the passenger counts needed to make the line viable.

      That is why TRANSIT proposes that we develop a separate rapid transit system for Klang town that can be linked to the Kelana Jaya LRT line (extended to Stadium Shah Alam) and the 4th Integrated Transport Terminal proposed by TRANSIT.

      In this manner, Klang will develop its own separate public transport system that suits its local needs, rather than following the dictates of Kuala Lumpur.

      Long distance trips, with limited stops, can be provided by an upgraded KTM Komuter system.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  9. I think the new Ampang to Klang MRT line should have a station at AEON Bukit Tinggi Shopping Centre, because many ppl of from outside Klang heard of it is the largest Jusco in Malaysia, but many of them don’t know how to go there by public transportation after they reach Klang town, they taught at Klang also will have RapidKL service to go there, but there is no, they dont know which bus to take and where to take.

    Not only that, i have friend working at the shopping centre, he said the shopping centre also have some Foreign tourists visited every day, a station at AEON Bukit Tinggi Shopping Centre will also let the Foreign tourists easy go and come from KL without to take the poor bus service in Klang.

    The station also may be a bus hub for Klang South buses route for the future.

    1. Hi @a

      Thanks for your suggestion. From what we have heard, the Ampang-Klang MRT is more likely to start out on the south side of the Federal Highway until Sunway, then proceed to the north side – perhaps through Shah Alam. Right now we have no way of knowing since further information has not been revealed.

      Regarding the terminal that you have proposed (Aeon Jusco in Bukit Tinggi, Klang) – we have to wonder if simply having a mall there is the best reason to build something like an MRT. However, we do agree that the site is excellent for a public transport gateway, and our own proposal for Klang has a Bus Rapid Transit terminal sited there.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  10. Klang city centre – Klang Aeon Bukit Tinggi – Kota Kemuning – Batu Tiga – USJ – Sunway – PJ South – KL – AMPANG

    With tis line, it also connect Klang, Shah Alam, Subang Jaya and PJ with Ampang..

  11. I still stand by what I wrote here http://transitmy.org/2010/06/23/transit-analyses-and-compares-rail-proposals/#comment-3579

    I’m glad to see that more and more people are sharing my ideas that…

    1) Improve KTM Komuter, so we can save cost.
    2) PJ needs a lot more lines.
    3) Don’t overstretch.

    However, I still believe in mostly being elevated, etc – everything I mentioned in the above link.

    I also congratulate Azmi on noting MRT curve radii issues – which to me screams “shorter, narrower cars, but more of them” – exactly what I proposed last year.

    It’s good to see things improving.

  12. Invest now. DO the MRT line of KL – Klang via Shah Alam (north) and Sunway. All other solutions such as LRT, BRT and etc are not good in the long run. It might be expensive now but it will be much more expensive in the future. Be proactive, not reactive.

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