TRANSIT took note of this interesting article which suggests that the Malaysian government has approved a project to build a direct railway connection between KL Sentral and Subang Airport/Subang Skypark within 2 years.
Of course, 2 years in planning-speak can actually mean a lot more time – but perhaps this rail line would be in place by 2015? Eventually the rail line will be extended to link up with the KTM mainline at Sg. Buloh.
The extension of the rail line, which would be taking place in two phases, will link the KTM Port Klang rail subdivision to the mainline at Sg. Buloh, first with a service to Subang Skypark and then a second phase linking Subang Skypark to Sg. Buloh.
Kuala Lumpur: Tan Sri Ravindran Menon’s Subang Skypark Sdn Bhd is believed to have received an offer from the government to undertake a RM1.5 billion project to build a railway line, people familiar with the matter said yesterday. Continue reading Rail link to Subang Skypark on the way?→
Updated with response from Subang Skypark Sdn. Bhd! Scroll to the bottom of this posting to see the response.
TRANSIT took note of articles this weekend discussing improved public transport links between the Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah (SSAAS) Airport at Subang and the existing public transport system of the Klang Valley.
SUBANG JAYA: Access to the Skypark Terminal will be made even easier following plans to introduce shuttle bus services before [the] middle of the year.
Subang Skypark Sdn Bhd chief operating officer Janardhanan Gopala Krishnan said the shuttle bus services would ferry passengers to and from the Kelana Jaya LRT station and KL Sentral to Skypark Terminal.
“Currently, transportation into Skypark Terminal is limited to private vehicles and taxis. With the shuttle bus services, the connectivity of the public into this area will be eased,” he said.
Janardhanan said Skypark Terminal will also propose to the Transport Ministry for the KTM commuter service line to be extended into Commercial Nexus, a mixed development project under the company that will be constructed opposite the terminal.
“We want the line to be extended from Subang Jaya and the trains will go directly into the Commercial Nexus building, thus, providing our passengers a seamless mode of transportation into Skypark Terminal.
“Subject to approval, we hope to have the KTM service up and running in the next 15 to 18 months. We also hope the extension could be done up to Sungai Buloh too,” he said.
[TRANSIT: Frankly, if the proposal has not been done by now, there is no way that the project will be complete in 15-18 months!]
Janardhanan added they are holding continuous talks with Rapid KL on the possibility of providing bus services in the area.
[TRANSIT: As we said, RapidKL already provides bus services using U81.]
“We have proposed to extend the KTM Komuter line (to the airport).
“There is already a spur line to the roundabout (on the way to the airport).
“Subject to approval, it should be ready in 15 to 18 months,” he told reporters recently.
Janardhanan said Skypark wanted to provide seamless transfer for passengers by improving connectivity to the airport.
He said shuttle buses connecting the terminal to the Kelana Jaya LRT station and KL Sentral should begin operating by the middle of the year.
“We are in talks with private operators. We are still speaking with RapidKL on (public) buses plying this area,” he said.
On the status of the RM150mil Commercial Nexus, he said they were finalising the concept design, and construction work was expected to start in the second half of this year.
He said the mall, with about 600,000 sq ft of retail space, would not only serve passengers but also the community in nearby areas such as Ara Damansara.
“We want to get away from the mindset that if you go to an airport, you are just sending or picking someone up,” he said.
As we have said above, TRANSIT was the first to recommend that the Subang Airport be connected to the existing rapid transit system. The existing Sri Subang spur is already present at the roundabout south of the airport and it would be relatively easy to extend the line.
Or would it?
If you take a close look at the google earth image of the Skypark Development or the google earth image provided by TRANSIT, you can see that the project would not be as easy as it first looks.
For one thing, the railway itself is located on the west side of Subang Airport Road and is actually some distance from the roundabout. However, the proposed Commercial Nexus is located on the east side of Subang Airport Road (on the site of the old fish restaurants).
In between the roundabout and the site of the Commercial Nexus is the actual flight apron, the concrete areas, buildings, Maintenance, Refit & Overhaul (MRO) facilities and parking lots that surround any airport.
We do not see how the line can get across the Subang Airport Road unless there are some major works done to the flight apron & surrounding buildings.
Can all this be done in 15-18 months? The straight answer is no, it is not possible.
But that does not mean that the proposal is impossible. Actually, we like the proposal for a rail link between Subang Jaya KTM and the Subang Airport. But we have a realistic approach to making it work.
Basically, we would propose that the railway be extended along the concrete flight apron past the site of the old Terminal building, then a flyover would be built to cross the Subang Airport Road & link the KTM line with the Airport Complex.
The Subang Airport Rail Service (yeah, we call it SARS) could be operated by a private company paying KTMB, or by KTMB itself.
The big questions are:
Is KTMB is ready to invest in rebuilding the Sri Subang spur line?
Does KTMB intend to double-track & electrify the Sri Subang spur line?
Does KTMB intend to extend the Sri Subang line past the airport to Suria Subang, or alternatively to Sg. Buloh?
Does Subang Skypark Sdn. Bhd. want to have a separate Subang Airport Rail Service or do they prefer to have the airport as a station on KTMB’s Sri Subang line?
How much is Subang Skypark Sdn. Bhd. and / or Malaysia Airport Holdings Berhad willing to contribute to the proposal?
What does RapidKL think of the extension?
As you can see, there are more questions than there are answers – so that is why we have invited the people at Skypark to give us more details about their public transport proposals, and this is their recent response:
Dear En. Moaz,
Firstly, thank you very much for your e-mail and your interest in our upcoming development in the LTSAAS area. I am writing to you on behalf of my COO, Mr. Janardhanan, who is currently away on business and who apologizes for not being able to reply to you in person.
For your information, we are still finalizing our plans for the SkyPark Commercial Nexus, which includes the development of the rail link. As these plans are still being developed, it is somewhat premature at this stage to share the same until it becomes more concrete. However, we aim to finalize the overall Nexus development plans within the next few months. We are
targeting a period of 15 to 18 months for the railway construction link to be ready from the commencement date of the commercial Nexus construction. Unfortunately, at this point of time we are still uncertain of the commencement date.
To get this plan off the ground, at this moment in time, the rough idea is to have the existing KTM spur line from Subang Jaya to the Sri Subang halt to be electrified and signalized, and to then extend this to the Nexus initially. Concurrently, we are studying parameters such as whether the existing line would be single track (as current) or double track, whether the extension line would be single or double track and the alignment of the
Whichever the final outcome, we feel this link would enhance connectivity for the residents in the areas surrounding LTSAAS to KL Sentral, from where commuters have a number of other transport choices – KTM, LRT, ERL as well as buses and taxis. We are working to see the most effective way for this new development to best serve the community within the surrounding area.
As for our plans with Rapid KL, I am sure that you are aware that a stage bus service is already available from Kelana Jaya to the Subang area. However, our discussions with Rapid KL as well as private operators centre around ways to enhance what is currently available by way of a direct service to and from Kelana Jaya and Skypark Terminal. This, we feel, would assist the connectivity needs of the residential population as well as the current working community and those using our facilities at SkyPark Terminal and the surrounding areas.
These initiatives are our effort towards addressing the concerns on transportation (or lack thereof) to and from as well as within the area that have been highlighted to us by our partners and the patrons of SkyPark Terminal.
We hope the above answers your queries. In the meantime, we would be glad to update you should there be any further development in our efforts.
THE major dailies had a field day reporting on the PM’s walkabout and on his trying out the public transportation system recently.
He is not the first nor would he be the last high-ranking officer to try out the public transport system as in the past, we also had our former PM Tun Abdullah Ahmad Badawi and Domestic Trade and Consumer Affairs Minister Datuk Shahrir trying out the public transport.
If my memory serves me right, in 2004 Najib announced a national transportation blueprint with a comprehensive LRT system connecting Kelana Jaya and Subang Jaya among an extensive network of public transportation for the Klang Valley.
Our former Subang Jaya assemblyman Datuk Lee Hwa Beng was so excited and even offered comprehensive proposals as to where the LRT lines should run in Subang Jaya. At that time, I joked with my friends that by the time the LRT lines reach Subang Jaya, I would probably have retired.
I am spot on and five years later, I am now retired and there is still no LRT to Subang Jaya. The existing system of KTM Komuter can’t even afford to replace broken down trains and the services have deteriorated since it was first launched about a decade ago.
My conclusion is that we will never have the political will to implement a good public transportation system and Klang Valley residents will continue to suffer going about their daily lives.
I cannot help making a comparison with Guangdong province in China. Guangdong is one of the largest trading and manufacturing provinces in China and its importance is just like Selangor to Malaysia.
Just by observing how the transportation system runs, I can imagine why the Chinese economy is so cost-efficient. Things get done, without any if’s and but’s. Malaysians have a lot to learn about getting things done and not keep talking about getting things done.
I still hope the LRT will one day get to Subang Jaya and I hope I will not be too old to board one by then.
WAN YEW LEONG,
The problem that exists here is the assumption that the only decent way to build a public transport system is to build LRT. Unfortunately, the communities in the Klang Valley are very much decentralized. This means that a network that serves the Klang Valley must have many lines.
The cost of building all of these lines as LRT is simply staggering. It would cost more than RM100 billion to build LRT lines to connect all the major communities in the Klang Valley and Selangor as proposed in the KL City 2020 Draft Local Plan.
The problem of political will is that the government lacks the will to spend this money. The government representatives that TRANSIT has spoken to (including MBs and ministers and deputy ministers) want to find ways to improve public transport without actually spending their own money.
This is one reason why the projects have been delayed for so long. It is hard to believe but Prasarana, a company owned by the Finance Ministry (Malaysia’s Treasury) is facing a challenge to get the money to build these extensions!
The other problem is that the government does not have the political will to accept that, for the most part the solutions for public transport in the Klang Valley will need to involve the existing buses and KTM service.
Wan Yew Leong is correct in noting that these services have deteriorated – which is why we need to concentrate on improving these services.
It is dangerous to spend more money on LRT extension if there is no existing demand for public transport already in place. Similarly, it is impossible to get loans for public transport improvements unless the existing demand for public transport is in place.
That is why TRANSIT has always said that we have to improve existing services before we can invest new money into public transport.
As for the extension of the LRT to Subang Jaya, USJ and Putra Heights, the government and Prasarana have provided no data to suggest that this extension is even necessary or viable.
TRANSIT believes that the better choice, from a planning perspective, is to extend the line to the Shah Alam stadium at Batu Tiga.
There is space here to build a proper Integrated Transport Terminal for express and urban and intercity buses, taxi service, LRT and KTM. There is even a chance to link public transport to air travel since Subang Airport is very close by.