TRANSIT wish to comment, albeit a bit late, on news that PJ residents demand to be served by a new MRT line. It seems that the MRT project announcement has opened a can of worms – since the project was touted as the main public transportation backbone of Greater KL that will make you and me take the transit in one of two trips made (50% modal share target by 2020 as touted by Idris Jala), everyone seems to be wanting the multibillion dollar MRT line to serve their areas (and some demand it underground – without questioning how the general taxpayers (read: those who work/live more than 10mins walk from the station) can be shielded from absorbing the gigantic cost!).
Selangor group wants PJ South MRT link (The Malaysian Insider)
March 09, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR, March 9 — The Selangor Petaling Business and Industry Association is requesting that the government consider Petaling Jaya South in the RM43 billion Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project.
Based on the original proposal, residents in Petaling Jaya may not benefit from the MRT project immediately as there were no MRT lines or stations slated for the Petaling Jaya South area.
“For example, Taman Medan, Taman Maju Jaya and Taman Seri Manja have been left out of the limelight although the area is densely populated,” its deputy president Tee Kee Tian said in a statement today.
Tee said Petaling Jaya South provided a very important linkage between Subang Jaya and Sunway via Sungei Way.
“We hope the government can take into account the people’s feedback and suggestions, and review the alignment of the MRT to include some stations in Petaling Jaya south so that more people can enjoy the convenience of the mega project,” he added.
The government recently disclosed details of the Sungai Buloh-Kajang line and the 51 kilometre line should bring massive economic benefit and employment opportunities. — Bernama
We can’t blame the people for demanding their rights – that the multibillion ringgit MRT project will have to benefit them. After all SPAD said the project is fully funded by the government (and there is no plan on Hong Kong MTR-like SPV for real property value capture from Transit-Oriented Development for each of the 35 stations including those surrounded by ultra low density posh villas with multiple BMWs… wow!).
We are upset at the way the government has been packaging its efforts in improving public transport. First, MRT is not everything (but it was positioned as if it is the only thing that needs action, planning and deliberation NOW). Secondly, there has been no study to properly validate that the SBK MRT line is necessary.
TRANSIT wonders how the public, wakil rakyat & media can simpy accept MRT without asking serious questions about WHY and asking for evidence & proof that it is necessary – this for the largest, most expensive infrastructure megaproject the country has ever known!
But wait, SPAD insisted that MRT was in the previous studies (often as LRTs in a lot of our structure plans that are in contrast with basic transport planning principles, and do not make sense at all).
We need MRT, they said. It has always been in our plans. They said.
Well we did dive into Klang Valley’s first ever transportation study in 1986 commissioned by the Government of Malaysia (with guidance from Japan’s JICA) and indeed, the present KTM Komuter lines WERE the planned MRT lines (black lines with white bubbles) !
So, folks in PJ, demand your rights – the present, snail-paced, suck-journeyed KTM Komuter service has the full MRT potential if the signaling and track is upgraded to allow 8 single deck or 6 double deck carriage trains to operate with 2 minutes headway!
Yes, ladies & gentlemen – the original plan for our Klang Valley rail network was Electric Multiple Unit train service running on double track throughout the Klang Valley – including service to Ampang and Subang Airport.
One efficient, low-cost MRT system with one type of train – therefore, integrated & interchangeable – instead of the inefficient Komuter + LRT + LRT + ERL + Monorail ‘system’ that we have today – non-integrated services using 5 separate technologies (6 if you count the MRT), capacities, training requirements, etc.
The change between the system that we were could have had and the ‘system’ that we have today probably happened in 3 parts.
First the Ampang railway subdivision was isolated from the main railway and in the 1960s the Sultan station (located at the KL end of the Ampang railway sub) was demolished.
In 1990 someone convinced the government that we could not afford anything more than a basic komuter system with stairs, corrugated metal walkway coverings that did not cover the platforms, and small station buildings – as well as a smaller fleet of trains.
At the same time, someone also convinced the government that we needed LRT rather than Komuter – and got the government to give over the Ampang Railway subdivision (which ran from Kuala Lumpur railway station to Ampang) to the new LRT company, Sistem Transit Aliran Ringan Bhd (STAR) rather than being reconnected to the mainline (which would have been an option).
And in 1991, the Railways Act made it easy for a railway builder to build a railway in Malaysia – with the simple act of making their proposal or ‘railway scheme’ public for 3 months (public display) including a map of the proposed route, list of lots affected by the proposal, plan for acquisition of land less than 6m from the railway line (the minimum 6m setback) and finally, a feedback book or logbook.
That, interestingly enough, is a part of our heritage.