TRANSIT took note of this recent article which states that the one-way fare for the Ipoh – KL trip will not cost more than RM35.
Ipoh-KL trip to cost not more than RM35 (The Star)
Wednesday July 28, 2010
BATU GAJAH: KTM Berhad will charge a fare of between RM30 and RM35 for the Electric Train Service (ETS) between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur scheduled to operate in the first week of August.
Transport Minister Datuk Seri Kong Cho Ha said the fare was competitive as the Goverment had taken into consideration the welfare of commuters.
“The fare can be considered cheap. KTMB initially applied for a fare of RM50 but it was rejected by the Government.
“We want to encourage the public to use the service which is more comfortable and safe compared to express bus services. That is why we want the fare to be competitively priced,” he told reporters after the opening of the KTMB complex by Sultan of Perak Sultan Azlan Shah here yesterday.
Kong added that there would be five ETS trains providing eight return trips for the Kuala Lumpur-Ipoh route daily.
The first train will leave at 5am and the last at 11pm.
He said KTM would increase the number of trips if there was great demand for the services especially during festivals.
With a speed of 140kph, the service is expected to reduce travel time between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur to about two hours from three hours previously.
Meanwhile, Kong said the new KTMB complex, built on a 75ha area, cost about RM400mil.
He said the project started in November 2006 and was completed in November 2008.
As we get closer to the launching of the much delayed intercity electric service between Ipoh and KL, we find it interesting to see that the fare will be much lower than expected, at RM30-35. This is somewhat different from our expectations of prices of RM40-45 for the “transit” service and RM50-60 for the “express” service.
Frankly, we do not at this point know if KTMB is even going to continue with the proposed transit/express combination, or choose some other type of service. Given the number of trains (5) that are currently available and the descriptions that we have recently seen, the service may operate as “transit” only for some time – hence the lower than expected fare.
We hope that KTMB will be able to make money off of passenger volume in exchange for the lower-than-expected fare. It would be disappointing if the ETS service became a rapid money-loser for KTMB, adding an additional burden to the already cash-strapped company.
Either way, a successful launch of the ETS will do little to curb our disappointment in how the government has managed to starve KTMB of investment, and how the government and KTMB have managed to starve us of public transport options.
Once again – the double tracking was completed in late 2006 and the electrification completed by mid 2007. Frankly, the ETS could have been operating by 31 August 2007 (the 50th Merdeka day) if KTM and the government had their act together and a clear goal in mind.
Sadly, despite the delay, the Perak government and Malaysian government have shown no interest in upgrading public transport services in Perak to meet the needs of a growing number of commuters using the shuttle train, as well as those who will be taking advantage of the new ETS service.
Even more ironic is that construction company MMC-Gamuda which built the double tracking & electrification project (at a delay and with more than RM100 million of cost overruns), seems to be getting a free pass on their unsolicited MRT proposal.