Year-Ender: Public Transport Remains Key Agenda In 2017

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KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 29 – The year 2017 saw Malaysia constantly transforming itself for the better. Among the notable transformation carried out throughout the year involves the transportation sector which is the key agenda under the National Transformation Programme (NTP).

In meeting the demands of the people for a reliable, environment-friendly and modern mode of public transportation, the government has introduced and implemented various initiatives including several new rail services as well as extending and upgrading existing public transport networks.

The launch of the second phase of the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line on July 17 had marked a game changer in the train service of the country’s transportation landscape. In providing cheap and efficient public transportation, the SBK line had served its role particularly in facilitating the under-served areas throughout its 51km route with 31 stations between Sungai Buloh and Kajang.

This is because areas in the northwest and southeast of Klang Valley are not served by any urban rail lines since the Kelana Jaya, Sri Petaling and Ampang Light Rail Transit lines and their extensions only serve the northeast and southwest quadrants of the Klang Valley.

While for its second line, the Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya alignment (SSP), MRT Corporation (MRT Corp) had disclosed that the current progress of the alignment would reach 19 per cent by end of this year and it is expected to commence its tunnelling work in the first quarter next year.

The first phase of the SSP line is scheduled to be completed by July 2021 while the full completion of its 52.2km alignment covering 37 stations (11 underground) is scheduled for full completion the following year. Apart from that, MRT Corp had announced a decision this year, to switch the Mass Rapid Transit 3 (MRT3) project delivery structure from a project delivery partner model to a turnkey model in order to expedite the completion of the project.

This is because, in the Budget 2018 presented on Oct 27, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak announced that MRT 3 “Circle Line” would be completed in 2025 — earlier than the expected completion date of 2027. The turnkey model is also projected to save billions of ringgit as 80% of the works entailed in the boring and tunnelling works would cost a lot of money.

MRT Corp also had released a tender notice in November saying that the Line 3 was expected to span 40km, stretching 30km underground with a total of 26 stations. Meanwhile, for the Light Rail Transit (LRT) service, the government did not stop its upgrade after completing the LRT Line Extension project last year.

Prasarana Malaysia Berhad (Prasarana) had announced that its third alignment (LRT3) is in progress which will link two million people between Bandar Utama and Johan Setia, Klang running through a 37km runway across 26 stations by 2020. However, the government had made a decision to cancel the Kuala Lumpur-Klang Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project as the service will overlap the proposed LRT 3 project.

Meanwhile, for the High-Speed Rail (HSR) development, MyHSR Corp Sdn Bhd had unveiled the designs of its seven stations for the KL-Singapore HSR alignment and had started its public inspection exercise which had begun on Nov 1, this year and would end on Jan 31, 2018.

The final proposal of the alignment is scheduled to be sent to the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) by the first quarter of next year. The KL-Singapore HSR alignment is expected to be about 328km long and will have seven stations in Malaysia, namely in Bandar Malaysia, Bangi-Putrajaya, Seremban, Melaka, Muar, Batu Pahat and Iskandar Puteri. In Singapore, the HSR station will be located in Jurong East.

This year also sees Malaysia creating history as the first country to legally recognise using e-hailing services such as Uber and Grabcar as a public transport service when the bill on it was passed in the Parliament on July 27. Other infrastructural projects in the pipeline and ongoing are the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL), West Coast Expressway (WCE), Klang Valley Double Track (KVDT) and Pan Borneo Highway. — Bernama

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