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.
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.
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.
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:
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)
TRANSIT took note of this absurd piece of news where the KL government will be spending lots of your RM to widen Jalan Ma’rof in Bangsar, in the area between Jalan Bangsar (where the flyover to/from MidValley is) and Jalan Ara (where the Masjid is).
Why is the government widening only this section of the road? Because this is the area where there is a great deal of congestion caused by taxis that queue up to fill-up with Natural Gas at the Petronas station between Jalan Riong & Jalan Tempinis.
The Petronas station in Bangsar is the only NGV facility in the south side of KL, and the daily queues are a source of frustration for residents, neighbours and taxi drivers alike.
But instead of solving the problem by having Petronas build more NGV filling stations – or even a centralized multi-level filling station in the nearby Tenaga Nasional lands, the DBKL government has decided to widen the road so taxis can queue up.
TRANSIT took note of a very interesting commentary from Ahmad Suhaili Idrus, the Director of the Urban Public Transport NKRA and Greater Kuala Lumpur / Klang Valley NKEA in response to a letter from TRANSIT’s Advisor Rajiv Rishyakaran, regarding recent comments by Idris Jala that the Klang Valley would be choked by 2020 if the MRT was not built.
Ahmad Suhaili attempted to clarify the situation by saying that the NKEA / NKRA projects related to public transport included improvements to rail and bus services, improved integration, improved infrastructure and expanded services. You can read the full comment below, but first, consider clicking on these links for some background information:
TRANSIT has taken note that World Carfree Day is celebrated on 22 September of every year. According to the article below, this is the first time Car free day is being celebrated in Malaysia.
Actually, that is not true. Many people have celebrated Car-free day in Malaysia. Some people celebrate Car-free day each & every day. But this is the first year that two major things have happened: first, the public has experienced a car-free KL that had nothing to do with the Balik Kampung period. Second, this is the first time that the government & GLC public transport operators are acknowledging Car-free day.
This year TRANSIT has already had the experience of a car-free KL – May 9 proved to be an interesting day in so many ways, but most importantly because it showed that people can get to KL using public transport and they can enjoy KL in so many different ways without cars.
That is why TRANSIT has decided to refer to “Car” free day as “Car(e)free” Day – to remind us that our lives can be free of cares & worries if we just give up the powerful hold that our cars have on us.
We are talking about one day, free of the worries related to petrol, parking, jams, tolls, police checks, smash & grab thefts, “laptop detectors”, fender benders, organized auto-theft rings, motorcyclists knocking your mirror, etc. etc. etc.
TRANSIT took note of this article, sharing some happy news related to the KL Monorail – a couple who connected while working on the KL Monorail has decided to get married on the monorail.
With all the bad news related to public transport, it is nice to share the occasional piece of good news – even if it is not related to public transport service, or planning, or policy, or financing, or any of the other issues that TRANSIT regularly looks at.
You might say that this wedding story provided a happy, special occasion for us as well. And so, we wish the happy couple all the best as they continue down the track to lifelong bliss.
KUALA LUMPUR: They met by chance while working on the KL Monorail project five years ago. Yesterday, accountant-to-be Fanny Kok walked off the train as Mrs Nathawat Khunprasit.
In the first marriage solemnisation of its kind, the couple exchanged vows and was declared husband-and-wife onboard a 10-minute train ride running between three monorail stations. Continue reading Married … on the monorail→