Thursday, 13 July 2017

(NST) Fully-launched SBK MRT line could take 160,000 vehicles off the roads

KUALA LUMPUR: Mass Rapid Transit Corp (MRT Corp) has projected a drop of 160,000 vehicles entering the Klang Valley daily once its Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line comes into full operation starting July 17.

Its Strategic Communications and Stakeholder Relations director, Datuk Najmuddin Abdullah, estimates a drop of about 160,000 vehicles daily if 400,000 people were to use the MRT train service every day.

“One MRT train with four cars can carry 1,200 people comfortably. Imagine the space needed for 1,200 cars on the road – that alone will create traffic. But if these 1,200 users abandon their cars at home and take the train, imagine the space that can be emptied on the road,” he said.

Najmuddin said since the first phase of the SBK line (Sungai Buloh to Semantan) came into operation in December last year, the MRT recorded nearly two million riders.

He said he MRT has even built a total of 14 multi-storey and open-air car parks with 8,000 bays at several stations along the 51km-long SBK Line to encourage more people to take the train when commuting into the city.

In addition, there will be a total of 300 feeder buses, each with a capacity of 62 passengers, to shuttle people to the nearest station at a frequency of 10 minutes.

“Rapid Rail, the MRT operator, has forecasted a ten-fold increase in the number of users these coming months, from an average of 15,000 passengers a day to 150,000 passengers once we open phase two from Semantan to Kajang,” he added.

He said another factor which will encourage the public to commute using the MRT is the reasonable fares of the service. For instance, he said, a trip from Sungai Buloh to Kajang would only cost RM5.50 by Touch N’ Go and RM6.40 for cash payment, and its travel time is about 80 minutes.

“Imagine if you are driving from Sungai Buloh to Kajang, the travel time, the cost of your petrol, tolls, and the stress that you have to go through.

“Travelling by MRT gives you a lot of benefits, the economic benefit, the saving that you get, your time, health benefits, less stress, and travelling in a comfortable manner,” Najmuddin said.

Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak is scheduled to launch the second phase of the SBK line on July 17, thus allowing the train to run the entire 51km alignment from Sungai Buloh to Kajang.

The second phase will consist of 19 new stations, of which seven are located underground. The 19 new stations are Muzium Negara, Pasar Seni, Bukit Bintang, Tun Razak Exchange Centre, Maluri, Cochrane, Taman Pertama, Taman Midah, Taman Connaught, Taman Mutiara, Suntex, Sri Raya, Bandar Tun Hussein Onn, Batu Sebelas Cheras, Bukit Dukung, Sungai Jernih, Merdeka, Stadium Kajang and Kajang station. Each train set serving the SBK line will have four cars, allowing a total capacity of 1,200 passengers per trip with daily ridership estimated at 400,000 passengers. The trains will run at a frequency of 3.5 minutes. -- BERNAMA