TRANSIT took note of the following interesting article, which describes Prasarana refusing to pay compensation to the residents of the Tong Weng Mansion in Brickfields, while agreeing to pay compensation to two other site owners in the area.
The compensation requests are in relation to the KL Monorail expansion project, which will extend the KL Monorail from the Tun Sambanthan station down to MidValley and to Old Klang Road on the other side of the Federal Highway.
Interestingly enough, all three compensation requests are in relation to properties that are illegally occupying government land – a situation that seems to occur more frequently than one might expect.
TRANSIT took note of the unfortunate news that the Selangor Government will move ahead with studies for the Kinrara Damansara Expressway, also known as KiDEx or the KiDEx “skyway” (a falsely romanticized name just as false as the pictures on their website)
This comes after the first two trains were delivered by Scomi Rail in Rawang to the depot in Brickfields for testing and commissioning in late January of 2014 New four car monorail trains arrive at depot (The Star, 25 January 2014)
The new 4 carriage trains can carry 430 passengers and will have space for wheelchairs. The monorail stations are being retrofitted with chair lifts (presumably the ones that attach to stairways? Or proper lifts?) and work is expected to be finished soon.
As you can imagine, we are pleased to see improvements to our public transport services…even incremental ones. The KL Monorail is already a decade old and was horribly over capacity in 2005…so the new carriages are a welcome addition.
Indeed, seeing 4-carriage monorail trains may help raise public confidence that the monorail can be more than just a “toy train” and there may be demand for applications of monorail technology in other cities in the Klang Valley, such as Petaling Jaya in place of the proposed Kinrara Damansara Expressway. TRANSIT has long said that the Sunway BRT line with its RM100 million per km cost, might have been better as a monorail … and could have been extended to connect to the Kelana Jaya LRT Line at Kelana Jaya and the Ampang LRT Line at Puchong.
While the 7 month period of testing and commissioning is a bit of a surprise, we expect that this is also related to the re signalling of the monorail system which will allow for faster train movements.
Overall TRANSIT is pleased but will reserve final judgment until we ride the new trains.
Update: On request from Prasarana, TRANSIT has been asked to take down this post. We have chosen to take down the image instead, and keep the post in place.
The reason we have maintained the post is simple – we want the public to know that a new livery design has been developed and Prasarana has nearly decided on it – even if we have been asked not to show the design to the public.
We submit to Prasarana that before they decide on the livery, they should make potential designs public and ask the public for feedback. They could even have a design contest like the MyRT design contest – though that might be more for PR than anything else.
What is more important is that they should ask the public what they want from their new monorail trains (better seating, grab bars, in-train information systems, wheelchair seating area, wi-fi, etc) and try to ensure that some of these new features are in place.
Ideally, SCOMI should provide a mock-up of their SUTRA train, fitted to Prasarana’s requested specifications (based, of course, on feedback from the public) so that everyone can see what the new monorail trains will look like.
By now everyone should be aware that a major crisis is taking place in the bus industry.
The shut down of CityLiner bus services throughout was the major ‘tipping pint’ in a series of crises [TRANSIT: refer to our “No Bus for You” series of posts] that showed the precarious state of public transport and the bus industry – and made it clear that SPAD has lost the plot by focusing on the MRT project rather than revamping & transforming public transport.
However, we need the government, SPAD and Prasarana-RapidKL to acknowledge that their “solutions” are not holistic and not sustainable. The problem is that they are focusing on short-term solutions for the crisis, not long-term solutions that will make public transport work, sustainably and effectively, and most importantly, meet the needs of public transport users.
And this, ladies & gentlemen, is the biggest problem. Everyone talks about fixing public transport but all the solutions that are put forward focus on the bus industry, rather than the public transport service. What’s worse is that the ‘solutions’ still fail to consider the needs of the public transport users.
TRANSIT took note of a few interesting articles from down in Malacca, where the Chief Minister appears to be making light of the embarrassing situation with the troublesome monorail.
TRANSIT is disappointed that the CM is not taking the problems of the monorail seriously. His suggestions that tourists are interested in coming to Malacca to see the broken down monorail are insulting and show a lack of respect for taxpayer money, which has been invested into this project.
At the same time, (or should we say, to make things worse) the CM is talking about expanding the monorail to provide service along Jalan Tun Ali in the backside area of Jalan Hang Tuah, the attempted new town centre / institutional zone for the city.
TRANSIT has taken note of the Malaysian government’s plans to expand KL Monorail service by introducing 4-carriage trains with greater capacity, as well as extending the KL Monorail service to Taman Gembira along Jalan Klang Lama.
Malaysian monorail builder Scomi Rail has been given the contract to provide the 12 new 4-carriage trains, which will be a variation on Scomi’s SUTRA model. More information about the SUTRA can be found in this article or at the Scomi Rail website. Check out this video showing the actual SUTRA train operating on the test track at the Rawang facility.
According to the various reports in the Malaysian media, the KL Monorail is already 35% over capacity. More interestingly, the different articles (thank you Scomi for collecting them into News flashes 1, 2 & 3) have different numbers about the capacity of the new monorail carriages compared to the older ones. One says that the older carriages can carry 98 passengers and the new carriages will have a capacity for 128 passengers – and then claims that this is an almost 40% increase – which it is not
Do the math: 128 / 98 x 100 = 130 … meaning the increase is much closer to 30%.
And just to make things more confusing, another article claimed numbers of 107 / 135 (old & new carriages respectively).
So we have to wonder where the media are getting their sources and why Scomi would allow different numbers to be made public about their product.
Even more upsetting is the claim that with the new 4-carriage trains the line will have a carrying capacity of 6400 passengers per hour per direction. If we extrapolate back we would assume that line capacity with the 2-carriage trains are in the range of 3,000-3,200 passengers per hour per direction.
These are strikingly poor line capacity numbers that are more in range with a middle-capacity Bus Rapid Transit system or a tram/streetcar! And the monorail cost us 40 million USD per km!
Monorails have a place in our public transport plan, but a line-capacity of 3,000-3,200 (or even 6,400) passengers per hour per direction is a shockingly low number that does not fully explore the potential of the monorail as a public transport technology – or a solution for Kuala Lumpur.
Anyways, the article about the monorail extension is below. You can also see a jpeg. image of the article’s cover and inside page. The inside page also includes this slightly inaccurate graphic, outlining the various routes planned under the Urban Rail Development Plan. We really wonder when certain organizations within the Malaysian media (and they know who they are) will improve on their fact-checking and publish accurate stories and information – rather than unclear stories & speculative information as they do now.
On December 3rd, 2001, buses & taxis leaving KL on the southbound route through Brickfields began using the contra-flow bus & taxi lane on Jalan Tun Sambanthan.
The bus & taxi lane was actually supposed to begin operations on 20th August 2011 but the start was delayed because of objections from business owners in the area who complained that not having car-parks in front of their shops would somehow cause them to lose business.
Now that operations along the bus & taxi lane have started, business owners are actively protesting.
THE residents and traders of Little India in Brickfields should give the newly-introduced bus and taxi lane system a chance before dismissing it as non-workable, said Federal Territory People’s Progressive Party chairman Datuk A. Chandra-kumanan.
“Whatever rules and policies implemented by the government has been carried out in accordance with the wishes of the people and for it to work you need to give it time,’’ he said.
Chandrakumanan, who made a working visit to Brickfields on Tuesday, said he decided to see for himself what was happening after receiving complaints from the public.