Tuesday, 18 July 2017

(The Star) On track to better connectivity

With the completion of 31 stations on the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line, the Klang Valley rail network is more comprehensive than ever before.

Subang Jaya residents can now take the LRT to the city centre and Kuala Lumpur International Airport using the new link to MRT and KLIA Transit rail services.

For shorter distances, the Bas Rapid Transit (BRT) that operates in the Sunway area links students to the LRT and KTM Komuter lines going towards Rawang and Gombak, and even across the state border to Seremban.

The KL Monorail network now acts as the glue between popular tourist sites.

For instance, the Bukit Bintang MRT station and Dang Wangi LRT is a five-minute walk to the nearest monorail station.

The KTM Komuter track from Batu Caves to Tampin in Negri Sembilan will gain smoother access to Cheras and Kajang areas via the MRT while the feeder bus network will further reduce the need for driving to shopping centres such as Suria KLCC and Mid Valley Megamall as well as major attractions such as the Taman Connaught night market.

Petaling Jaya may also see a dip in traffic congestion with many office complexes situated close to an MRT station such as Phileo Damansara and Semantan.

KL Sentral, being the key transit hub with all rail networks running through it, will now face the need for tighter security besides seeing a rise in economic opportunities for businesses within the area.

StarMetro took a ride on the trains to experience the interconnectivity and efficiency of the rail services.

Sunway Velocity Mall can be reached within walking distance from Maluri LRT station which is linked to the newly-opened Maluri MRT station. 

Sungai Buloh to Kajang

The MRT SBK line comprises six connecting stations – Sungai Buloh station to switch to KTM Komuter line towards Subang Jaya; Muzium Negara station to get to KL Sentral hub; Merdeka station to switch over to LRT and Monorail; Bukit Bintang station where you can also catch the Monorail train; Maluri station to reach the Rapid KL Bus Hub; and Kajang station to take the KTM Komuter Rawang-Seremban train.

The fare ranges from RM1.10 to RM6.40 if passengers purchase token by cash.

Touch N’ Go users enjoy rates between RM1.10 and RM5.50 while disabled, senior citizens and students enjoy a 50% discount.

Thirteen stations are equipped with park-and-ride facility offering a total of 7,677 car bays. The facility at eight of those stations also have 1,013 bays for motorcycles.

MRT users will enjoy RM4.30 per entry to use the parking facility while non-MRT users will pay hourly rates. The parking for motorcycles is RM1.10 per entry.

At RM1 per ride, commuters can use the feeder bus service with 300 buses servicing routes from 5.30am to 11.30pm, at a frequency of 10 to 15 minutes.

Some eager commuters who wanted to try out the new MRT service came to the Sungai Buloh Station early in the morning only to find out that the train to Kajang would only start running at 4pm.

“I wanted to take the train to Kajang with the newly launched service but I did not know that it only opened at 4pm.

“Usually, I will take the MRT from Sungai Buloh to Semantan station and the services have been good. I will try to go to Kajang by MRT some other time,” said 85-year-old retiree Gopal Muthusamy.

The hype also caught on with housewife Cindy Chin as she enquired about the services, hoping to take the MRT train from Sungai Buloh station to Pasar Seni station.

“My friend and I always get off at the Pasar Seni LRT station to go to Petaling Street, so when we heard that MRT also has a station at Pasar Seni, we wanted to give it a try.

“We wanted to go to Pasar Seni by MRT in the morning but have to give it a miss as it only opens at 4pm,” she said.

Stadium Kajang is one of final stations of the SBK line that was opened yesterday. — RAJA FAISAL HISHAN/The Star 

Gombak to Bukit Jalil

The Kelana Jaya line connected areas between the Gombak station (previously known as Terminal Putra) and Kelana Jaya station, passing through the central business district.

It takes about 20 to 25 minutes by train from Gombak station to KLCC, which is much shorter and less stressful than inching through peak-hour congestion on the road.

Commuter R. Vasanthi, 27, who regularly takes the train to Ampang Park from Gombak, where she lives, said the service was convenient and hassle-free.

“The fare is RM2.90 (cashless transaction) and it does not take more than 20 minutes to reach my destination.

“My only complaint is that the crowd going back home is overwhelming.

“The frequency of trains needs to be increased. Currently, it is every five to seven minutes,” she said.

The Kelana Jaya line also has many interchange stations connecting to the KL Monorail as well as Sri Petaling and Ampang lines. It also passes through the KL Sentral transport hub, making many areas easily accessible.

For example, a trip to Bukit Jalil station from Gombak station will only take about an hour and the fare is RM6.70 for cash transaction.

Another regular commuter P. Priya, 31, from Sentul, said the rail transportation service is definitely improving.

“Recently, I took the train for a hospital appointment in Sunway. It only took 40 minutes for me to get there from Sentul.

“I took the train on the Ampang line from Sentul station and switched to Kelana Jaya line at the Masjid Jamek station, then got off at USJ7 station. The train fare was only RM5.40.

“From there, I took a BRT. Since it was my first time trying the BRT, the driver was very helpful in assisting me to get down at the right stop.

“It was a good experience taking public transport and less hassle than driving,” she said.

The Kasturi Walk next to Central Market, a popular tourist spot is a walking distance from the Pasar Seni LRT station and the newly-opened Pasar Seni MRT station. 

Subang to Ampang

Subang Jaya residents can now reach their destinations in Cheras and Kajang in shorter time as two MRT stations have opened along Kelana Jaya LRT line.

The fastest direct linkage from Subang Jaya LRT station to an MRT station is at KL Sentral, which is a short distance to the Muzium Negara MRT station through a walkway.

Another MRT station accessible via LRT is the Pasar Seni MRT using a bridge from Pasar Seni LRT station.

The train ride from Subang Jaya LRT to Ampang LRT station (via the Kelana Jaya line) – non-stop – took an hour and 15 minutes in total, including waiting time, and costs RM6.

Along the route, there were two interchanges, namely Masjid Jamek LRT linked to Ampang and Sri Petaling LRT lines and the Chan Sow Lin LRT station linked to Sentul Timur and Putra Heights LRT lines.