LRT-LRT ticketing integration begins today, 28 November 2011 (Update #1)

Update: This article from the NST describes a smooth transition to the new integrated ticketing system!

TRANSIT took note of the news that LRT – LRT ticketing integration will begin on 28 November 2011.

Of course, the LRT-LRT ticketing integration is not really that big a deal. And unfortunately, customers will not benefit from a reduction in the fares, which still reflect the old system where the STAR & PUTRA line were operated by separate companies and transferring from one LRT to the other required the passenger to pay a new “starting fare” because they were making a “new” trip.

In case you are wondering, the starting fares are:

Kelana Jaya Line – RM0.70 or RM1.00 (for the underground sections)
Ampang/Sri Petaling Line – RM0.70, RM1.00 and RM1.20.
KL Monorail – RM1.20
KTM Komuter – RM1.00

A person transferring between the Ampang Line and Kelana Jaya line making only a 2-station journey (say, from Psara Seni to Bandaraya via Masjid Jamek) would pay RM2.20 for their fare. RM2.10 would take you from Kelana Jaya to KL Sentral & Pasar Seni, and RM2.30 from Kelana Jaya to Masjid Jamek!

Is that a fair fare?

What fare integration does involve is the construction of a newly designed station arcade at Masjid Jamek as well as the launch of new Ticket Vending Machines that will allow the integration of LRT-LRT fares.

Now, let us have a “TRANSIT moment”, where we look at a significant improvement to public transport and still find a way to complain.

Oh, wait, we already did complain about starting fares above. So let’s “complain” again, by pointing out the fact that the integration of LRT fares has taken more than 7 years to complete. In contrast, when the government of Hong Kong forced the merger of the MTR & KCR railway systems, under the MTR Banner, fare integration was complete in 7 months!

We know public transport is moving forward – we just want to move forward faster, and further and further away from the “bad old days” of the past (like, 2004-2010)

Full integration of LRT ticketing system from today (NST)
28 November 2011

SYARIKAT Prasarana Negara Bhd (Prasarana), the operator of Klang Valley’s two LRT lines, is implementing a full ticketing integration of the RapidKL Kelana Jaya Line and Ampang Line today — two days earlier than its actual schedule.

“Originally, we wanted to do this on Nov 30. But, we have decided to take advantage of the public holiday to put the system to the full test.

“So, at 6am this morning, the old ticketing system was switched off to make way for the new Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) integrated system,” said Prasarana group managing director Datuk Shahril Mokhtar.

With the integrated ticketing system which uses a new MyRapid Pass and tokens for single journeys, LRT commuters would have the comfort of using a single ticket for the entire journey despite needing to change lines,” Shahril said in a statement.

“We have full confidence that the new system will work well. But, just to be on the safe side, let us start on a public holiday when there is lesser traffic.

“That will give us some time in case there are issues that we need to trouble shoot.”

After the integration of the two LRT lines, the programme would continue with the AFC integration of the RapidKL Monorail in the first quarter of next year before extending the whole system to cover the RapidKL bus services in the second quarter of 2012.

The system is installed by a joint venture Malaysian-Spanish company — INDRA-IRIS AFC Consortium (IIAC).

Since Nov 2, RapidKL — a subsidiary of Prasarana — had been selling the new tickets at its LRT stations and opened new AFC gates while maintaining the old gates for the current system in allowing the transition process.

In encouraging commuters to change, RapidKL has offered a special promotion MyRapid Card of RM10 each, which carries a stored value of RM8.

Commuters with the current Stored Value Card can also change them to the new MyRapid Ticket (SVT) without any charges.

“I am happy to announce that response for the new AFC integrated ticketing system has been good.

“On that note, I would like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to the commuters for their support and kind consideration.

“In this process of transition, there had been teething problems and congestion because of reduced gates as we need to keep both systems running.

“On behalf of Prasarana, I would like to offer my apologies,” said Shahril.

Despite the system change, Touch ‘n Go cards, which are used widely by commuters, can also be used under the new AFC integrated ticketing system.

Shahril said: “On average, some 56 per cent of the commuters purchased single journey tickets.

“So, under the AFC system, commuters will be given a token for single journeys instead of a magnetic ticket.

[TRANSIT: RFID tokens (also known as chipcoins) are used on some systems because they are smaller and more durable than RFID cards (like the ones used in Singapore’s MRT system). Magnetic strip tickets are an outdated technology with high maintenance costs due to the physical entry of the ticket into the mechanical system at fare gates, as well as exposure to dirt (sweat, grime, finger oils) and damage (crumpling, demagnetizing).]

“The commuters would need to touch the token at the gates on entry; and drop the token upon exit.

“In cases of over-ride, the machine will reject the tokens and commuters would need to go to the counter to add more value to cover their actual journey,” said Shahril, adding that while ticket purchases can be made at the counters, commuters should familiarise themselves by purchasing them at the Ticket Vending Machines (TVM).

“Better still, they should purchase and use MyRapid Cards.

“We would be drawing up loyalty programmes to reward our users when we have fully integrated the whole public transport system of LRT, Monorail and RapidKL buses,” added Shahril.

The new system would also allow customers to purchase and reload their tickets online in the future via the website, eliminating the need of queuing at ticket vending machines and counters.

The new system, which cost RM115.2 million, comprises new sets of automatic gates, ticket vending machines, passenger service machines, mobile validators, station computer system; central computer system; initialisation machines and personalisation machines.

Contracted to design, manufacture, deliver, install and test the new system, INDRA-IRIS AFC Consortium (IIAC) would also be responsible in implementing the online ticket purchase.

Explaining the need for change, Shahril said the current system was almost obsolete.

“We cannot install additional gates, in view of the rising number in ridership.

“The current system can’t support an integrated ticketing system and the growing ridership,” Shahril said, adding that the current ridership for the three rail services was 420,000 daily.

“We aim to push to an average of half a million every day next year,” added Shahril.

TRANSIT Says:

We are happy about the improvement to LRT-LRT fare integration and the physical improvements to the Masjid Jamek interchange.

We could even say that maintaining the extra “starting fares” that have been charged since 1998 is not really costing the public that much since they do not know how much money they have been losing from paying starting fares since the Prasarana takeover in 2003. And we could also say that the money will go towards paying off the black hole that is the operations costs and capital expenditures of the LRT lines, which are currently not paying for themselves (and probably never will).

What we want to see from Prasarana are incentives & rewards to encourage people to use public transport and transfer between LRT, monorail, KTM Komuter, bus and the future MRT. We do not want to wait until the end of 2012 to see this happen.

One easy way to get this started now is to provide discounts for public transport users who make multiple transfers, and ideally, cap off their daily maximum charge at a reasonable amount (RM 8, perhaps?). Everything is possible with the fare-payment technology that Prasarana has purchased for RapidKL. The challenge is to get Prasarana to put customer service forward and implement these incentives & rewards.

Eventually, we need to look at a completely new way to determine fares, not just new ways to collect them. That is a tough debate, and it has to be in the public domain and involve all stakeholders.

By the way, LRT-LRT-Monorail fare integration is proposed for early 2012. Monorail station upgrades and LRT-Monorail physical integration projects are ongoing and will be completed early in 2012.
LRT-monorail-bus integration for late 2012, but do not expect any reduction in the KL Monorail’s starting fares in the future either. But who knows, maybe Prasarana will change their minds.

LRT-Monorail-Bus-KTM Komuter fare integration is a remote possibility in the future as KTMB will be purchasing the same AFC system for their services.

Perhaps the fare integration should be joined with full service integration – a privatization of KTM Komuter or takeover of the Komuter division by Prasarana.

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23 thoughts on “LRT-LRT ticketing integration begins today, 28 November 2011 (Update #1)”

    1. @Sabre23t

      Were we wrong on that? We were told that the plan was for AFC integration of rail & bus fare collection, with a discounting system to encourage transfers (e.g. first & last mile feeder/shuttle bus trips).

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

        1. The challenge with distance-based systems is that there is no extra incentive to encourage people to use the rail system over the bus. One of the reasons why SMRT is a slight money loser is because it has to operate bus services that encourage people to use the MRT, but also it has to operate long distance, slow bus routes with low turnover.

          SBS Transit has shorter bus routes (in general, but we’d like to see the actual numbers of passenger kilometers traveled) and more turnover – meaning higher revenues.

          KL has an ironic situation where it costs more to take a bus from a place like Subang Jaya to KL than it does to take the LRT a similar distance.

          Having distance based fares would be fair, but the cost of traveling that distance via LRT / MRT is much higher than by bus, given the cost of the capex associated with LRT construction.

          On the other hand, if you factor in the total cost of constructing & maintaining the “free” roads that the buses travel on, the LRT is probably somewhat cheaper in terms of overall costs.

          Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

          1. >> KL has an ironic situation where it costs more to take a bus from a place like Subang Jaya to KL than it does to take the LRT a similar distance.

            Mmm … lets look at http://jp.myrapid.com.my for travel from “Lembah Subang, Jalan Lapangan Terbang Subang” bus stop to “[KJ14] – Pasar Seni LRT” station, that gives …

            Rail/Bus Option 1 – Lembah Subang > Bus T607 > Rail KJ24 > KJ14 > Pasar Seni – total RM3.10

            Bus Only Option 1 – Lembah Subang > Bus U81 > Pasar Seni > KJ14 – total RM2.50

            In that case, bus is *cheaper* than rail.

            BTW, http://www.ptc.gov.sg/FactsAndFigures/fares_wef_181011.htm shows SG LTA is charging exactly the same distance bands “card” rates for Aircond Trunk Services Buses as that for LRT/MRT Services.

          2. And if we look at U84 Kelana Jaya – Pasar Seni, the end to end fare is RM3, while the LRT trip of a similar nature (Kelana Jaya LRT to Pasar Seni LRT) would be RM2.10.

            If we look at U85 Taman Paramount LRT / SS2 Seapark, the LRT fare is RM2 while the bus fare is for 3 or 4 zones (it is not clear on the U85 webpage) but it would be more expensive than the LRT.

            I’m sure there are examples that work either way where the bus is cheaper or the LRT is cheaper.

            Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

          3. >> I’m sure there are examples that work either way where the bus is cheaper or the LRT is cheaper.

            True. RapidKL Bus uses fare table based on one zonal rates. RapidKL Rail uses fare table based on a different zonal/stations rates (also KJ, AG & MR lines have different rates). I believe if you chart per km rates in bus zone 1 (KL city centre) against rail rates, you would find the latter is more expensive.

            What if RapidKL Bus Utama (Trunk) services charges same zonal rates as RapidKL Rail? Is that fairer fare? SG LTA appears to believe so. 🙂

          4. @Sabre23t

            fare structure has to consider different factors such as affordability vs. convenience, customer demand vs. operational costs, etc.

            Since the LRT costs more to build & operate and offers faster trips, it is not unreasonable to expect the LRT to have higher value for passengers. At the same time, the higher carrying capacity of the LRT means lower average costs on a per passenger level – all of which would translate to an appropriate fare.

            A few years ago we were told that LRT fares were once higher but were lowered because demand was low as a result of the high fares.

            Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  1. Or … Distance based fare?
    * http://www.ptx2uitp.org/sites/default/files/showcase_pdf/107_singapore.pdf
    * http://www.publictransport.sg/content/publictransport/en/homepage/CommutersGuide/fares_ticketing.html
    “All commuters are charged a fare based on their total distance travelled (whether on the bus or train). The Distance Fares scheme brings about a more integrated fare structure that allows commuters to make transfers without incurring additional costs. Fares are computed on a journey basis, without a boarding charge being imposed for every transfer trip that makes up the journey.”

  2. The MyRapid card costs RM10 during promotion period, this means that the card will be more expensive than the Rabbit Kad. I think the Rabbit Kad is better because it already has the function of a TnG card, except for highway tolls, which the MyRapid card does not has currently besides only priced at the same price as promotional period of MyRapid card.

    So what if RapidKL sells the Rabbit Kad at the LRT station? That would be easier for commuters to purchase the card and it can be used at the ordinary fare gates with TnG readers. The MyRapid card is like a new invention but with less function than the Rabbbit Kad and comes with a higher price.

  3. pasar seni to masjid jamek also wanna take LRT? s/he not just wasting a money, BUT WASTING A TIME AS WELL!, just take a walk lah!! sigh. who an ass5hole doing that?

        1. @epul

          You are assuming that every person can walk a distance of +/- 300m. People have different abilities and some are more and some are less mobile. Some people might be willing to walk during the morning, they might feel comfortable walking but not feel the same way at night. They might not want to walk if it is raining. They might be in a wheelchair or using crutches or have arthritis or some other medical condition that reduces mobility.

          Public transport is a service and operators are supposed to meet people’s needs, not expect the people to meet the operators’ needs.

          In any case, the Pasar Seni – Masjid Jamek – Bandaraya trip is only one example. Even a longer trip would excessive in cost because of the “starting fare” that passengers have to pay when transferring from rail line to rail line.

          Regards, moaz for TRANSIT

  4. Actually, if you’re using touch n go from AG/SP, it makes more sense and faster to just exit the station, dash across jln tun perak, tap in again and ride the escalator/lift down, rather than walk down the flight of stairs and traverse that long underpass, – you’ll be paying the same amount of money for both anyway.

    1. Bukhrin,
      Agreed with your example of passenger from AG/SP line interchanging at MJD to KJ line. In such case I would also take the shorter route to dash across Jalan Tun Perak.

      But if RapidKL have different rates for *direct* interchange at MJD, it would be a different matter, right?

      Lets take the example of travel from Hang Tuah station to KL Sentral stations and see the different rail rates …

      Hang Tuah – Masjid Jamek = RM1.20
      Masjid Jamek – KL Sentral = RM1.30
      (Integrated) Hang Tuah – KL Sentral = RM2.50 (exact total of the above)
      (Monorail) Hang Tuah – KL Sentral = RM1.60.

      Now, I can see why the monorail is heavily jammed in the morning on that Hang Tuah – KL Sentral segment.

      Perhaps one day RapidKL may change the (Integrated) Hang Tuah – KL Sentral fare to be closer to that of the monorail fare?

      Ref:
      http://www.myrapid.com.my/tickets-fares/lrt
      http://www.myrapid.com.my/tickets-fares/monorail

      1. @Sabre23t

        Hopefully RapidKL will not do the opposite and increase the monorail fares to compare with the integrated LRT-LRT fare.

        Not that they would, but who knows?

        Monorail is in desperate need of more capacity, but the best they can do is 12 units of 4-carriage trains as compared to 12 units of 2-carriage trains.

        At least the new monorail carriages will have higher internal capacity than the older ones – but still, more needs to be done.

        Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

    2. @Bukhrin

      That’s exactly the problem – it should not be the same amount of money to use TnG as it is to purchase separate tickets for the Ampang line and Kelana Jaya line.

      There should be some money saved or some financial incentive. How long should people wait for these incentives?

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  5. @ epul: Whether or not people prefer to take LRT from Masjid Jamek to Bandaraya, Dang Wangi, Plaza Rakyat and Central Market is totally up to them. It might be a short walk, but certain people might be carrying huge luggages, travelling with toddlers, or it’s raining outside, who knows. I have seen many of them, some who came up to me asking how to transfer between LRT lines just to go the one more stop.

    That’s not the point. The core issue here is, why should those who change line (now that both lines are “integrated” with a common fare paid zone, without the need to exit fare gates if one hops from one line to another) be penalised with paying for the hefty “Starting Fare” twice? Shouldn’t riding LRT for the distance of X+1 stations on one line, or riding LRT for the distance of X stations, plus 1 stop on another line, be paying the same amount of fare?

    Do Singaporeans pay extra for going from Marina Bay to Bugis, compared to going from Marina Bay to Dhoby Ghaut (both two stops), just because Bugis lies on another line? Not only that’s not the case, but they actually built a “double cross-platform” interchange for people’s convenience!

    @ all my brothers and sisters: I have personally checked out the new configuration at Masjid Jamek today. The tunnel has been converted into fare-paid zone, but the linkway from its exit to the Sentul-bound lobby is the weakest link. Also, Masjid Jamek now has become like most Monorail stations, where pedestrian crossing is only for the fare-paid commuters, non-commuters still have to jaywalk to cross the busy road.

    But I am not complaining about this. What I would like to complain about is, already we built our LRT network later than the rest, why didn’t we learn from others’ experiences or mistakes ? Had we built a “double cross-platform” interchange, we wouldn’t be facing these troubles today. Sometimes I think, by avoiding to spend a little more in the beginning, one ends up spending much more later, yet still cannot obtain the comparable benefit.

    With “double cross-platform” interchange, north-east, north-west, south-east and south-west transfer traffics will be spreaded out onto 4 platforms, all without the need to climb stairs. Instead, now everyone is stucked at Masjid Jamek’s same pair of platforms, and the narrow staircase / escalator. Why? I don’t blame them for doing it late, but why don’t learn from others since we are doing it late?

    Anyway, let’s go back to the question of distance-based fare. If one believe as long as the journey is the same, one should not be penalised for changing trains, the same logic should apply in the context of bus.

    For instance, since there’s not even a single bus from Old Klang Road turns into PJ direction upon reaching MidValley, those who needs to go to PJ will have to change bus. Therefore, shouldn’t one be paying for the same fare, whether one turns east or west after MidValley ?

    As the scenario is currently, if I come from Taman Desa junction, and alight at Brickfields KLF / Sri Kota, I may be paying RM 1, since it’s a one zone distance. But if I alight at MidValley to take a PJ-bound bus to Universiti LRT, I need to fork out an extra RM 1, eventhough both Sri Kota and Universiti LRT is situated within the same zone. See the problem here?

    (I remember the border of zones 1/2 is at Monorail KL Sentral station along Jalan Tun Sambanthan, and border of zones 2/3 at EPF / University Hospital bus stop along Federal Highway. Anyway, buses from MidValley most of the time don’t go up the Kerinchi flyover to pick up passengers at University LRT, so this scenario is just to illustrate the issue at hand.)

    In Singapore our former territory, according to the new distance-based fare, journey of same distance will be charged same fare, no matter whether it’s done by rail or bus. They allow for 5 transfers within one journey, with only 1 MRT / LRT ride. One must board the next ride within 45 minutes of alighting the previous ride, and the whole course must be completed within 2 hours.

    I remember riding Singapore MRT on June 30th, 2011 when we visited Singapore for the last day of KTM operation, and decided to visit my friend’s flat in Woodlands since heavy downpour made it impossible for us to transpotting. The MRT fare from Tanjong Pagar to Kranji was SGD 1.81. From Kranji MRT we took SBS 170 to Woodlands Centre Road / Woodlands Train Checkpoint, where we had a drink in the hawker centre, it cost us just 1 cent extra. After 30 mins when we finished our drink and decided to visit friend’s flat, we took SMRT Bus 903 to Block 206 Marsiling Lane a few street away, it cost us another 1 cent. Altogether, we paid SGD 1.83 (1.81 + 0.01 + 0,01) for the whole journey of 1 train and 2 bus rides from Tanjong Pagar to Block 206 Marsiling, overlooking Johor Bahru across the Tebrau Straits. See the beauty of distance-based fare?

    In the world of RapidKL, I am afraid we need to fork out extra RM 2, for what can be done with SGD 0.02. Should I say Malaysia Boleh?

  6. the KLF / Sri Kota is a typo, should be KFC / Sri Kota. also, was just informed by my singaporean buddies, that the distance-based fare for 5 transfers is capped at the maximum level of SGD 1.96. And did I hear someone suggesting we in KL capped the maximum fare after multiple transfers at RM 8? hmm….

    1. I guess we’d have to blush there.

      But the sad thing is, the daily max for a 1-day Rapidpass flexi is RM10 for unlimited trips – so RM8 would be an improvement.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  7. Which is true, their all modes day pass was on sale at RM 10. but, but, but, Singapore’s distance-based fare is for just 1 trip, not 1 day. 1 trip that’s made up of at most 5 transfers (only 1 MRT / LRT ride), reboarding next trip within 45 mins of alighting from the last, complete the whole course within 2 hrs, and never reboarding the same bus.

    Meaning, if you take svc 123 from home to kopitiam for a kaya toast and kopi-o, within 45 mins return home with the same svc 123 of opposite direction, it’s not considered a transfer. It’s still apparently 2 trips, thus the hefty starting fare is to kick in again, instead of enjoying a 1 cent trip home. This illustrates why 1 trip fare is different from 1 day fare.

    Anyway, just wondering whether financial sustainability is among the goals of our public transport. Why they never ask schools, universities, Putrajaya office blocks, hospitals, palaces, federal roads or libraries (not that we have many) to be self-reliant as well?

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