Tag Archives: Pollution

Will unilateral approval of KiDEx fracture the Selangor Government?

TRANSIT took note of the increasingly public disagreement within the Selangor Government about the prioritization of the Kinrara-Damansara expressway also known as the KiDEx ” skyway.”

4 ADUNs from Petaling Jaya have already expressed their opposition to the approval of the expressway and called for greater transparency and suggested that the corridor would be better used for public transport. There is a public group of residents expressing their concerns. Azman Ali, a member of the government and a challenger for Menteri Besar, has also expressed his dismay at the project saying that the government was putting the cart before the horse.

In response the Menteri Besar has said that not building the highway would be unfair to the developer.

Continue reading Will unilateral approval of KiDEx fracture the Selangor Government?

This proposed expressway should be Petaling Jaya’s LRT or MRT line!

[Admin; TRANSIT has long objected to the proposed Kinrara Damansara Expressway, as you can see from this draft post which we created 2 years ago]

TRANSIT took note of the proposal to build an elevated expressway through the heart of Petaling Jaya.

TRANSIT opposes the expressway proposal and strongly recommends that the corridor be used to build a north-south rapid transit corridor, likely a monorail or LRT line. We expect that this would cost the same or less than the proposed expressway, occupy less visual space and obviously would not bring pollution on site.

Image showing the alignment of the Kinrara-Damansara expressway, proposed in Budget 2011.

As public transportation this corridor would connect with 4 public transport corridors (either existing/under construction)…the existing KTM Komuter line in PJ Old Town, the Kelana Jaya LRT Line at Taman Jaya, and the LRT extension in Kinrara and the MRT Line, both currently under construction. There is also the proposed Federal Highway Bus Rapid Transit corridor.

This has far greater connection potential than an expressway and will move 10 times as many people.

TRANSIT Says:

We see that cities across the world are in the process of taking down elevated expressways and improving their urban realms…while we in Malaysia are unfortunately looking at building more.

We have an opportunity here to build a lasting legacy for public transportation in Petaling Jaya…let’s not mess this up.

ADUNs in Petaling Jaya call for PJ LRT instead of proposed Kinrara Damansara Expressway

Transit took note of the proposal from 4 ADUN in the Selangor State Assembly (representing Petaling Jaya) that the route of the proposed Kinrara Damansara Expressway (a.k.a. “KiDex” or “KIDEX Skyway“) would be better utilized for public transportation.

Image of proposed Rapid Transit (orange) in KiDex corridor (blue)

Continue reading ADUNs in Petaling Jaya call for PJ LRT instead of proposed Kinrara Damansara Expressway

KTM Update: Diesel Multiple Units (DMUs) for KTM Komuter

TRANSIT takes note of these two very interesting articles about the KTM Komuter service.

KTM to buy 4 used trains from Spain (Business Times)
By Sharen Kaur
Published: 2009/10/19

KERETAPI Melayu Bhd (KTMB) plans to buy four second-hand two-car diesel multiple units (DMUs) from Spain for RM28 million.

[TRANSIT: See a photo of the old train here and the new train here.]

The national railway company is believed to have opted for second-hand DMUs due to cash constraints.

A DMU is a multiple-unit train comprising multiple carriages powered by one or more onboard diesel engines.

The DMUs, which have been in operation for the past 30 years, are expected to be delivered in two months and be used as a stop-game measure to solve KTM’s current commuter woes.

However, industry sources said KTMB should be buying new three-car electrical multiple units (EMUs) to be efficient, instead of second-hand DMUs.

An EMU is a multiple unit train consisting many carriages and powered by electricity. A new three-car EMU set costs RM18 million to RM20 million.

“More cost would be incurred to refurbish the DMUs after a few years in service,” the source said.

The source added that for KTMB to be more productive, it should have 112 three-car EMUs, running on a 10-minute interval. [TRANSIT: We actually believe that KTM Komuter should have a fleet of more than 150 trainsets, which will allow it to aim for a daytime frequency of 7.5 – 10 minute, with peak hour frequency at 5 minutes. You will be pleased to know that this may actually happen by 2015 or thereabouts. More info later on.]

The company currently has 66 EMUs, including 16 which are beyond repairs, either because they have aged or were involved in accidents.

KTMB is overhauling the remaining 50 EMUs at an estimated cost of RM400 million to RM500 million.

It has overhauled 20 EMUs, which are in operation now. Another five EMUs are being refurbished and will be ready by the middle of next year.

KTMB president Dr Aminuddin Adnan told Business Times it is buying the DMUs to service the KTM commuter routes in the Klang Valley and later deploy them to high demand areas in the east coast.

“We are expanding our fleet of trains to improve our intercity, freight and commuter business. Currently, demand is higher than capacity,” Aminuddin said.

He said KTMB’s current ridership per day is 100,000, but this could increase by more than 15 to 20 per cent with more trains running.

“We have customers, like YTL Cement and Lafarge Cement, increasing their business with us. So we do need trains. Second-hand trains are not only cheaper, they can also be delivered faster,” he said.

“While we have government support, we are trying to expand first within our scope,” Aminuddin said.

Aminuddin said by mid-2010, KTMB will have 34 trains running, from 20 EMUs currently.

This would include the five DMUs and five EMUs that are under refurbishment. [TRANSIT: KTMB currently has no DMUs, but they do have the “hybrid trains” which are powerless EMU trainsets pulled by diesel locomotives.]

TRANSIT Says:

This is our potential future DMU.

Generally we believe that buying the DMUs is a bad idea for a number of reasons such as:

  • The 2-carriage DMU trains have smaller capacity than the 3 carriage EMU trainsets;
  • The trains are used, which means their maintenance has to be audited by KTMB;
  • The trains they are relatively old which means that there will be no way to unload these trains in the future;
  • From what TRANSIT has heard, the seller wants KTMB to pay for the overhaul;
  • The overhaul of these trains will take time;
  • The trains are diesel-powered, and diesel emissions are a known carcinogen and contributor to air pollution.

But then, what else can KTMB do in the current situation? We at TRANSIT have been calling on the government to purchase new trains for KTM Komuter for more than 4 years. Instead, the government (through Prasarana) sees fit to spend RM15 billion on LRT extensions to Putra Heights, of all places – and choses the costliest methods (all elevated).

We can only hope that the Auditor General’s 2009 Report will have some specific investigation of KTMB, the Finance Ministry and the Ministry of Transport.

Just for more info about KTMB, we include another article below:

Jadual komuter tak menentu (Berita Harian)
Oleh Md Fuzi Abd Lateh

Pengguna perkhidmatan Rawang-Tanjung Malim terpaksa tunggu lama, tak selesa

RAWANG: Pengguna perkhidmatan komuter, Ketetapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) antara stesen Rawang ke Tanjung Malim merayu agar dipertingkatkan mutunya bagi keselesaan ribuan pengguna setiap hari.

Pengguna mengeluh dan kurang selesa dengan perkhidmatan ditawarkan KTM yang kian membebankan itu.

Tinjauan Sentral di sini mendapati ramai pengguna kurang berpuas hati dengan jadual perjalanan antara stesen yang tidak mengikut jadual.

Pemandu teksi , Mohd Shiraz Faidzal, 30, berkata dia juga sering mendengar keluhan pengguna mengenai masalah perkhidmatan komuter.

Menurutnya, dia seakan dijadikan tempat meluahkan ketidakpuasan hati pengguna apabila menaiki kenderaannya.

Katanya, masalah itu mampu diselesaikan KTMB sekiranya pengurusannya serius melakukannya.

Justeru, katanya, pengguna hanya mengharapkan supaya KTMB dapat mempertingkatkan mutu perkhidmatan mereka selaras misi syarikat itu.

Pelajar, Mohammad Firdaus Izham, 20, berkata dia agak musykil kerana pada asalnya perkhidmatan ini dikatakan KTM Komuter tetapi berbeza di laluan Rawang – Tanjung Malim, gerabaknya menggunakan gerabak kereta api biasa.

“Bagi saya tidak timbul masalah keselesaan sebab walaupun menggunakan gerabak kereta api, kebersihan tetap dijaga.

“Tetapi, ada juga gerabak yang bermasalah seperti ketiadaan penghawa dingin dan bilik air yang kurang bersih,” katanya.

Beliau berkata, faktor kelewatan sudah menjadi kebiasaan dan dia juga sering melihat ada pengguna lain mengeluh kerana tidak tahan dengan permasalahan itu.

Menurutnya, kelewatan berlaku sehingga 30 minit hingga sejam dan malangnya, sekiranya perkara itu berlaku tiada pengumuman atau pemberitahuan dibuat.

Mahmud Yahya, 27, berkata sepanjang lima tahun menggunakan perkhidmatan pengangkutan awam itu, masalah sering dialaminya ialah kelewatan jadual perjalanan.

Menurutnya, ketepatan masa sering kali tidak diberi perhatian serius KTMB sehingga ada pengguna termasuk dia sendiri sering terganggu jadual perjalanannya.

“Seolah-olah perkara ini sudah menjadi kelaziman dan tidak ada pendekatan proaktif diambil menanganinya.

“Pengguna adalah mangsanya dan ia jelas sekali tidak menepati kehendak pengguna yang mahukan perkhidmatan cepat, tepat dan selamat,” katanya.

Menurutnya, ketepatan masa sering kali diabaikan dan hanya meletakkan alasan masalah teknikal bagi mengelak keluhan pengguna.

“Tetapi, sebagai sebuah syarikat yang mempunyai misi dan tanggungjawab sosial kepada masyarakat, KTMB perlu berbuat sesuatu dalam mengatasi permasalahan itu,” katanya.

Mahmud juga mempersoalkan bagaimana perkhidmatan Komuter Rawang – Tanjung Malim disediakan sedangkan masalah kelewatan di stesen antara bandar Seremban – Rawang belum dapat diatasi.

“Kesannya kini dirasakan berganda dan berpanjangan sehingga turut membebankan pengguna di Hulu Selangor,” katanya.

Comment: Stuck with dirty diesel (The Star)

TRANSIT has been following the introduction of new petrol and diesel standards to the market with great interest – because cleaner fuels mean cleaner buses, lower emissions, more efficiency (and lower costs) and they are better for the environment!

Stuck with dirty diesel (The Star)
Friday September 11, 2009
WHY NOT? BY WONG SAI WAN

Most of the pollution we see in our skies daily is caused by emission from vehicles plying the roads, and the time has come for us to be given better, and less harmful, fuel.

TWO weeks ago, Petronas announced that it was upgrading the diesel it was selling at its pumps to Euro 2M environment standard – as part of its efforts to help protect the environment.

A few years ago this would have been a major story, but as it turned out most newspapers only gave it a three-paragraph mention.

To be fair, Petronas did try to hype it up, but it was overshadowed by the Government’s announcement of an increase in petrol prices and the phasing out of RON 92 fuel.

It should have been a joyous occasion as Malaysia had finally crawled out of its antiquated petroleum usage – both the Petronas diesel and RON 95 petrol conform to Euro 2M – but the readjustment of the Government subsidy gave little joy.

Euro 2M diesel, with an additive called Sinar D07, is priced at RM1.70 a liter and is sold by Petronas as Petronas Dynamic Diesel.

The Euro 2M standard permits only a maximum of 500ppm of sulphur in the fuel, a huge improvement over the previous standard, which capped sulphur content at 3,000ppm.

Euro emission standards are enforced throughout the European Union (EU), and the higher the standard (meaning lower sulphur content) the lesser emission of pollutants.

Euro 2 was introduced in the EU in 1995 and replaced by Euro 3 in 1999. Euro 4 was introduced in 2005. [TRANSIT: And Euro 5 was introduced in 2008]

So, if we look at it from world standards, there is actually not much to shout about in terms of the introduction of the two Euro 2M standard fuels.

To make matters even worse, we are at least two generations behind immediate neighbours Singapore and Thailand where Euro 4 diesel is widely available.

As far back as in 2002, the Government had announced that Euro 2 diesel was to be in the pumps in 2005, but the decision was defered.

Two years later,[2004] then Natural Resources and Environment Minister Datuk Azmi Khalid announced that the Government was no longer satisfied with Euro 2 but wanted Euro 4 fuel to be made available this year.[2009]

In the words of a senior Petronas official: “This means that our Euro 2M diesel was seven years late in coming.”

Why is it important for us to have Euro 4 standards? Simple. Untreated diesel is a very polluting fuel.

And, car manufacturers in other parts of the world have been making huge advances in producing engines that are able to handle Euro 4 standard fuel. Present-day diesel engines in Europe are designed to run on Euro 3 (350ppm) [TRANSIT: or better], so the new Petronas Dynamic Diesel is not such a big deal. [TRANSIT: According to our source at Scania, the reduction in the limits to sulfur content is a big deal because their buses are at Euro 3 standard. But, as Wong Sai Wan points out above, Euro 2M doesn’t look so good when compared to Euro 3 or Euro 4 or Euro 5 standards]

“Technology for engines that run on petrol has now reached almost the optimum stage in terms of being green, but not those powered by diesel. Diesel engines are now getting more efficient than petrol engines, and are less polluting,” said the same Petronas official.

Asked why Petronas was not introducing Euro 4 diesel, he replied: “The Government does not allow us to do so.

“We are ready to do so and were about to convert our refineries to produce Euro 4 diesel four years ago when the Government changed its mind.”

Looking out of his office window at the Petronas Twin Towers he remarked ruefully: “Every Monday morning, we can see the Shah Alam mosque from here, but by mid-day the smog makes it difficult to even see past the National Mosque.”

For years, lorry and bus operators had been blaming the dirty diesel at the pump for the cause of the thick black smoke that their vehicles spew out.

One lorry operator tells how his brand new fleet of Volvo Euro 3 prime movers constantly failed the Department of Environment black smoke tests despite constant service.

“While the handbook recommends the engine be serviced every 10,000km, my prime movers were being serviced at every 5,000km. We also spend so much more in changing fuel filters and other parts,” he said.

Even the ultra modern KLRapid [RapidKL yeh!] buses are not spared the heavy sulphur diesel and the company estimates that its vehicles’ lifespan is reduced by half because of the poor quality of fuel. [TRANSIT: We will try to get some info and comments from RapidKL on this – as well as how the new diesel will help improve the lifespan of their buses].

A motoring journalist once told me that when testing a brand new BMW in Spain, he had opted to try one fitted with a diesel power plant because he wanted to experience the performance of an engine running on the then much hyped Euro 4 diesel.

After two days of driving, he was raving about the power and smoothness of the drive and believed that the new diesel was one reason why.

His host then told him that the Euro 4 diesel he was using was refined in Malaysia!

Another luxury car company which brought in a Euro 4 powered vehicle for a test drive at the Sepang F1 Circuit had to import the diesel from Singapore.

An official with the company nearly had a heart attack when told that what he had imported was produced less than 50km away. The Euro 4 diesel was refined in Port Dickson.

Why then is it not sold locally?

Historically, the older lorries had engines that needed fuel with high sulphur content and could not use Euro 2 diesel. The authorities decided to hold back on the introduction of the cleaner fuel because there were then just too many old lorries on the road, and they were usually owned by single lorry operators.

These operators were not rich enough to change to more efficient lorries, and their vehicles kept our economy moving.

However, this should no longer be the case because such lorry operators are now very small in number.

Now logistics companies with fleets of vehicles move goods throughout the country. They can well afford to buy more efficient, and Euro 4 compliant, lorries.

Sadly, the authorities seem to be bowing down to pressure from foreign oil companies, which operate the majority of petrol stations in the country.

It seems that while Petronas was willing to forgo some profits to sell high quality diesel – they make a premium of RM2 per litre exporting Euro 4 – the foreign oil giants are not willing to do so. It will cost about US$30mil (RM105mil) to convert a refinery to produce Euro 4. [TRANSIT: Seems like applause for Petronas is in order?]

I accept that it may cost the Government more in subsidy to bring in Euro 4 diesel and just as there are two grades of petrol petrol, why not similarly for diesel?

Euro 4 diesel can be sold in the country as premium diesel just like RON97 petrol. Why not?

While people as far away as California – which has the world’s most stringent emission laws – get to enjoy Euro 4 fuel made here in Malaysia, we Malaysians are stuck with our dirty diesel.

And the world is now moving towards Euro 5 fuel. All stations in Hong Kong already sell only such fuel – since two years ago.

■ Deputy Executive Editor Wong Sai Wan drives a diesel powered vehicle that would purr if it were running on Euro 4 and not cough out black smoke every time he accelerates uphill.

TRANSIT Says:

Cleaner fuels = cleaner air = healthier people = lower costs all around = save money!

So we wonder what we can do to encourage RapidKL and RapidPg. and other bus operators to push for Euro 4 diesel standards in Malaysia.

We can produce it so we should make it available!