The lack of integration between the STAR and PUTRA LRT lines and between the LRT lines and the monorail is a significant issue in the Klang Valley’s public transport system.
Prasarana took over the STAR and PUTRA lines in 2003 and since that time, there is no full integration between the fare systems. Only holders of the LRT Monthly Pass and the Integrated Monthly pass have “seamless” fare access between the LRT lines.
KL Commuter’s blog describes the issue of what he calls “Starting fares,” an additional fare that commuters must pay for “starting” a journey – by switching to another line.
With the fragmentation of the rail networks, I feel that commuters, especially those who need to use more than one line to complete a journey are most unfairly penalized.
Most obviously commuters are penalized when they have to walk up and down numerous flights of stairs and escalators (and cross main roads) just to reach another platform. Just think Masjid Jamek or KL Sentral Monorail. Argh.
Then there is also the pain of queuing (aiyoh, how to spell?) and buying tickets all over again. This has been partly solved with Touch ‘n Go being available systemwide (with the exception of the ERL I think). But there’s still plenty to be desired.
Ok. Even if they fix all these shortcomings mentioned above, there is still one major disincentive that hasn’t and will need to be rectified soon.
It is regarding the “starting fare“, this fixed-fee that ALL rail operators impose on users. For example, when you hop on the Kelana Jaya Line, you have to pay at least RM0.70 or RM1.00 for the shortest journey you make, that is a one-station journey. (I’m not sure whether you’ll be charged when you enter a station and leave from the same one. Any TnG volunteers? Go in and use the toilet and exit?)
Similarly, on the Ampang/Sri Petaling, that fare is RM0.70, RM1.00 and RM1.20. On the Monorail, it is RM1.20 (see how expensive KL Monorail is). For the Komuter, it is RM1.00.
And KTM Komuter
So, everytime a commuter needs to travel through more than one line, he/she has to pay this “starting fare” all over again, even though technically he/she has only made only one journey.
The lack of integration between the fare systems of the LRT line is really an embarassment for both RapidKL and Prasarana – they have had more than 5 years to make a difference.
Regarding the monorail, Prasarana took over the monorail at the end of 2007 but for some reason, created a new company, KL Starrail Sdn/ Bhd. to run the monorail.
One really has to wonder why they could not have just created a separate monorail division within RapidKL – but I guess there is office politics to deal with, hierarchies to be untangled, etc.
So, to summarize:
- Prasarana and the LRT lines – 5+ years with no integration – and counting;
- Prasarana and the KL Monorail – almost 2 years with no integration – and counting.
Contrast this with the integration between the Kowloon-Canton Railway and the Mass-Transit Railway Corporation in Hong Kong – where full fare and system integration was achieved within 3 months of the announcement!
Regarding fare integration, TRANSIT wants RapidKL and Prasarana to extend the use of the RapidKL RM150/month Integrated Monthly Pass (Pas Bulanan Integrasi) to include unlimited use of the KL Monorail. We also want RapidKL and Prasarana to extend the use of the RapidKL RM100/month LRT Monthly Pass (Pas Bulanan LRT) to include unlimited use of the KL Monorail.
This will benefit more consumers by reducing costs for monorail users, reduce queuing time at stations (and therefore, time wasted) and reduce the need for counter staff to sell tickets (since the KL Monorail has no ticket vending machines yet).
Regarding physical integration – it may be too challenging to fully integrate the lines at this time – but how about accessibility and universal design? How amazing is it that, after 10+ years of operation the Ampang LRT is not accessible? That after 5 years of operation the monorail is not accessible?
Why is it that a segment of society (the elderly, people with shopping/carts, and the less able – including the OKU among others) are being marginalized by Prasarana and RapidKL when they have the resources to make our systems fully accessible?
Moaz from TRANSIT reports how he recently stood at the LRT platform at KL Sentral watching a blind man with a white cane trying to walk around the platform. Originally Moaz thought that the man was trying to orient himself to wait for the train. It turned out that he had actually just left a train but could not find his way to the exit because RapidKL did not install proper tactile markings.
How shameful is that????
RapidKL and Prasarana have told us to wait, these things will come. But frankly we have waited long enough and we want to see solutions now.