TRANSIT took note of the following interesting article, which describes Prasarana refusing to pay compensation to the residents of the Tong Weng Mansion in Brickfields, while agreeing to pay compensation to two other site owners in the area.
The compensation requests are in relation to the KL Monorail expansion project, which will extend the KL Monorail from the Tun Sambanthan station down to MidValley and to Old Klang Road on the other side of the Federal Highway.
Interestingly enough, all three compensation requests are in relation to properties that are illegally occupying government land – a situation that seems to occur more frequently than one might expect.
This comes after the first two trains were delivered by Scomi Rail in Rawang to the depot in Brickfields for testing and commissioning in late January of 2014 New four car monorail trains arrive at depot (The Star, 25 January 2014)
The new 4 carriage trains can carry 430 passengers and will have space for wheelchairs. The monorail stations are being retrofitted with chair lifts (presumably the ones that attach to stairways? Or proper lifts?) and work is expected to be finished soon.
As you can imagine, we are pleased to see improvements to our public transport services…even incremental ones. The KL Monorail is already a decade old and was horribly over capacity in 2005…so the new carriages are a welcome addition.
Indeed, seeing 4-carriage monorail trains may help raise public confidence that the monorail can be more than just a “toy train” and there may be demand for applications of monorail technology in other cities in the Klang Valley, such as Petaling Jaya in place of the proposed Kinrara Damansara Expressway. TRANSIT has long said that the Sunway BRT line with its RM100 million per km cost, might have been better as a monorail … and could have been extended to connect to the Kelana Jaya LRT Line at Kelana Jaya and the Ampang LRT Line at Puchong.
While the 7 month period of testing and commissioning is a bit of a surprise, we expect that this is also related to the re signalling of the monorail system which will allow for faster train movements.
Overall TRANSIT is pleased but will reserve final judgment until we ride the new trains.
This article by fz.com is one of many with details about the new trains which will begin arrival in Malaysia in September 2014.
The important details:
*50 units of 6-car trains designed and built by CAR Zhuzhou (which also built the “Six Car Set” for KTM Komuter)
*30 of these trains will replace the trains currently used on the Ampang line … which are only entering their 20th year (generally train carriages are expected to last approximately 30 years … Although the measurement is really based on kilometers traveled rather than time in service)
*20 of the trains will be used on the Ampang line extension when it opens in 2016
*The trains will have open gangway allowing passengers to walk between all the cars (as compared to the 3 pairs of cars in the current trains) spreading out the passenger load
TRANSIT took note of this interesting and disturbing article about the introduction of a night market at the site of the old North Klang bus terminal, which was closed in late 2007 when Klang Sentral was opened.
The irony, of course, is that the bus area remains closed to buses – despite the fact that most buses that serve Klang town have returned to the North Klang bus terminal area, and Klang residents have called on the MPK to improve amenities and facilities.
What makes it worse is that in 4 years, the Selangor government has not stepped in to improve public transport in Klang, reopening the North Klang bus terminal and introducing new services. In addition, SPAD has not stepped in and resolved the issue, despite entreaties from TRANSIT, who recommended to SPAD that solving the Klang Sentral and North Klang bus terminal issues was the best place for them to get started.
The resolution of the North Klang bus terminal issue is going to be a major factor in any improvement to public transport in the west Klang Valley.
TRANSIT took note of this interesting article which discusses the Open Day that Prasarana is holding to share information about the LRT Extension Programme Open Day which will inform the public about the Ampang & Kelana Jaya LRT extension plans.
TRANSIT took note of this interesting photo of a sign in one of our LRT trains – advertising improvements to RapidKL bus services.
To the top of the photo, we see an advertisement for RapidBET Route #3, which connects Subang Mewah to Pasar Seni, Kuala Lumpur. And down in the right hand corner, the message “RapidBRT Akan Datang! Coming Soon!”
TRANSIT took note of the following interesting news – the Malacca state government is stepping forward with plans to compensate 10 existing public transport operators in the state with RM7.7 million, with a plan to for state-owned operator Panorama to take over the operations from the private operators on February 1st of this year.
The takeover proposal appears to forestall the warnings from the Malacca Omnibus Operators Association that they would be forced to stop services on February 1st.
MALACCA: Malacca’s ailing omnibus operators will get RM7.7mil in compensation from the state.
Chief Minister Datuk Seri Mohd Ali Rustam also announced Thursday that the state-owned agency, PMTC, would fully take over the stage bus operations from Feb 1 while the current dilapidated buses used by ten operators would be replaced in stages.
The memorandum of understanding between the state government and Malacca Omnibus operators was signed at Dewan Seri Negeri.
So, the state government is paying RM7.7 million to buy old buses from these bus operators, which they will then turn around and use on the existing public transport routes while the buses are replaced over time.
That basically sounds to us like the process by which Intrakota and later RapidKL were created – pay good public money to buy up near worthless private assets, buy new bus chassis at an inflated cost with a ‘too-short’ timeline, leading to:
contracts for Malaysian bus assemblers;
a need to purchase new buses in a few years;
public complaints about the loss of competition.
Hopefully, the Malacca government and SPAD will have learned from the mistakes made by RapidKL & Prasarana in the past. One wise step to take would be to take the purchase of new buses out of the hands of Panorama Melaka Cultural & Tourism (and the state government) and put the purchase in the hands of national infrastructure company, Prasarana.
Why? Because first of all, Prasarana knows what buses to buy, thanks to their 5 extra years experience in purchasing buses. Second, Prasarana is the national infrastructure company, with the right financial backing to get the buses at a great price. Third, it is best to keep the purchase of buses neutral and focused on the improvements, not potential opportunities.
TRANSIT also believes that the Malacca Government needs to develop a concise and effective public transport plan that builds on the major corridors that need to be served – namely the existing Malacca town buses, Malacca – Ayer Keroh route (including the proposed Malacca Tram), and the intercity services connecting Malacca town to Alor Gajah and Tampin (where it can link to KTM train services including possible future ETS.