TRANSIT took note of this article in the Star which describes a walkabout by Minister of Transport Kong Cho Ha, inspecting the LRT-Monorail “integration” projects which started last year as part of the Urban Public Transport NKRA (although technically the projects were planned by Prasarana before the Government Transformation Programme was introduced).
Kong is the Lead Minister responsible for the Urban Public Transport NKRA and it is nice to see that he is finally making his presence felt on the ground (though not as much as the previous lead minister, Ong Tee Keat).
Wednesday April 6, 2011
KUALA LUMPUR: Three areas of the Light Rail Transit (LRT) and monorail integration project will be completed soon, Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said.
They are in Titiwangsa, Masjid Jamek and KL Sentral.
The RM4.6mil project at Titiwangsa started on March 5 last year and would be completed by the end of the month.
The passenger tunnel that connects the Ampang line and the Kelana Jaya line at the Masjid Jamek LRT station will be completed next month.
[TRANSIT: Bad reporting as usual. The passenger tunnel under Jalan Tun Perak already exists. Prasarana is simply moving the Kelana Jaya fare gates up to ground level and integrating them with the Ampang Line fare gates. The big change is the lifts]
“Overall, I am happy with the progress and hope all the integration work will be completed according to schedule,” he said.
Kong added that Masjid Jamek was an important station servicing 40,000 passengers daily.
“A tunnel is being built for pedestrian safety and to protect them from being exposed to rain when changing stations,” he said.
[TRANSIT: Or maybe someone did not inform the Minister properly? Guess he has never seen the station up close or he would know that the tunnel already exists (wait, did we not say that already?)]
The RM8mil project at Masjid Jamek began on April 2 last year and was initially scheduled to be completed in February but was delayed due to technical problems related to land works, change of building foundation and utilities supply.
The integration work between the monorail and LRT station in Ampang would be completed at the end of the year, Kong said after visiting the LRT stations at Titiwangsa, Masjid Jamek and KL Sentral yesterday.
[TRANSIT: There’s a monorail station in Ampang??? Or perhaps they meant the integration of the Hang Tuah stations on the monorail and Ampang LRT lines?]
On the integration project at KL Sentral, a 410m walkway was completed last August.
Work on the pedestrian crossing linking Jalan Tun Sambanthan and the Nu Sentral Complex would begin in October and be completed in July next year.
The pedestrian crossing would connect the monorail to the KL Sentral station.
Kong also urged LRT stations to maintain a high standard of cleanliness and hygiene.
Ok, once again we see more bad reporting from the media and unclear information from the “Lead Minister” of the Urban Public Transport NKRA.
Someone needs to be doing a better job of briefing the Minister as well as the reporters – because this issue continues to plague any reporting about public transport.
That said, TRANSIT is quite interested to hear about the progress of the projects and we are glad to see that they are in their final stages (with the exception of the integration project at the Hang Tuah LRT-Monorail station).
The retrofitting of the stations proves that it is easier to build something properly the first time.
The various costs of the retrofitting of the stations, as well as the inconveniences endured by public transport users for more than a decade (although only 8 years for LRT-monorail users) should be considered when government plans for future rail and public transport projects.
We at TRANSIT have always believed that the problem in our public transport system stems from weak laws regarding public transport and weak planning in an urban system that was pushing for rapid growth at all costs.
The Klang Valley is overwhelmed by highways, highway links, and urban roads that basically resemble highways, all with the goal of encouraging more movement but creating more congestion.
Integrating the LRT & Monorail and improving some of the convenience & comfort issues should probably go a long way towards improving the public & visitor perception of the MRT system – but we clearly have a long way to go to building a public transport system that is user-friendly, let alone building livable & enjoyable communities in the Klang Valley.