TRANSIT took note of this series of articles on an announcement from KTMB President Dr. Aminuddin Adnan, stating that KTM Komuter service was turning the corner and passengers could look forward to better days ahead.
The basic facts are pretty simple: KTM Komuter started with 64 trainsets and at one time operated as few as 21 or 22 trainsets. By mid 2007, the fleet had declined by 2/3 but Komuter is carrying more than 3x the original passenger load. The reasons for this included gross underinvestment from the Finance Ministry (part of an attempt to hobble KTMB and eventually privatize it), as well as issues with management, employee relations, and corruption. There were also problems with maintenance and even worse, the ongoing issues with parts supply – since two of the original manufacturers of KTM Komuter EMUs are no longer in the business.
KTMB is in a better situation now than it was in the past. It can now operate as many as 31 trainsets – not even half of the original fleet. Things are not going to get much better for the original fleet – as parts run out, Komuter trains are taking on heavier passenger loads and are not able to keep up.
Fortunately, the 38 units of 6-carriage trains will collectively represent an increase over the original fleet. Think of each 6-carriage train as being equivalent to 2 original 3-carriage trains so 38 x 2 = 74 original train equivalents – as opposed to 64 original trains. Added to the “current” (should we say remaining – or maybe “surviving” instead?) fleet of 31 trains, that would give a fleet of 95 original train equivalents (3-carriage EMUs) in a mixed fleet of 69-70 trains.
The first test train of the new fleet is expected to arrive in early November 2011 and should be in revenue service by the end of January 2012.
We will leave you to read the articles for the details.
But before that, can we express our frustration with the headline for the second article. KTM Komuter is not experiencing ‘teething’ problems. The phrase refers to challenges that an individual (or company or organization) faces when learning or adapting to a new task – just as an infant faces pain and soreness as the teeth first erupt from the gums.
KTM has been around for 125 years – and Komuter more than 15. The problems KTM and KTM Komuter are facing are not teething problems and should not be referred to as such.