Update: This article from the NST describes a smooth transition to the new integrated ticketing system!
TRANSIT took note of the news that LRT – LRT ticketing integration will begin on 28 November 2011.
Of course, the LRT-LRT ticketing integration is not really that big a deal. And unfortunately, customers will not benefit from a reduction in the fares, which still reflect the old system where the STAR & PUTRA line were operated by separate companies and transferring from one LRT to the other required the passenger to pay a new “starting fare” because they were making a “new” trip.
In case you are wondering, the starting fares are:
A person transferring between the Ampang Line and Kelana Jaya line making only a 2-station journey (say, from Psara Seni to Bandaraya via Masjid Jamek) would pay RM2.20 for their fare. RM2.10 would take you from Kelana Jaya to KL Sentral & Pasar Seni, and RM2.30 from Kelana Jaya to Masjid Jamek!
Is that a fair fare?
What fare integration does involve is the construction of a newly designed station arcade at Masjid Jamek as well as the launch of new Ticket Vending Machines that will allow the integration of LRT-LRT fares.
Now, let us have a “TRANSIT moment”, where we look at a significant improvement to public transport and still find a way to complain.
Oh, wait, we already did complain about starting fares above. So let’s “complain” again, by pointing out the fact that the integration of LRT fares has taken more than 7 years to complete. In contrast, when the government of Hong Kong forced the merger of the MTR & KCR railway systems, under the MTR Banner, fare integration was complete in 7 months!
We know public transport is moving forward – we just want to move forward faster, and further and further away from the “bad old days” of the past (like, 2004-2010)
Full integration of LRT ticketing system from today (NST)
28 November 2011
SYARIKAT Prasarana Negara Bhd (Prasarana), the operator of Klang Valley’s two LRT lines, is implementing a full ticketing integration of the RapidKL Kelana Jaya Line and Ampang Line today — two days earlier than its actual schedule.
“Originally, we wanted to do this on Nov 30. But, we have decided to take advantage of the public holiday to put the system to the full test.
“So, at 6am this morning, the old ticketing system was switched off to make way for the new Automatic Fare Collection (AFC) integrated system,” said Prasarana group managing director Datuk Shahril Mokhtar.
With the integrated ticketing system which uses a new MyRapid Pass and tokens for single journeys, LRT commuters would have the comfort of using a single ticket for the entire journey despite needing to change lines,” Shahril said in a statement.
“We have full confidence that the new system will work well. But, just to be on the safe side, let us start on a public holiday when there is lesser traffic.
“That will give us some time in case there are issues that we need to trouble shoot.”
After the integration of the two LRT lines, the programme would continue with the AFC integration of the RapidKL Monorail in the first quarter of next year before extending the whole system to cover the RapidKL bus services in the second quarter of 2012.
The system is installed by a joint venture Malaysian-Spanish company — INDRA-IRIS AFC Consortium (IIAC).
Since Nov 2, RapidKL — a subsidiary of Prasarana — had been selling the new tickets at its LRT stations and opened new AFC gates while maintaining the old gates for the current system in allowing the transition process.
In encouraging commuters to change, RapidKL has offered a special promotion MyRapid Card of RM10 each, which carries a stored value of RM8.
Commuters with the current Stored Value Card can also change them to the new MyRapid Ticket (SVT) without any charges.
“I am happy to announce that response for the new AFC integrated ticketing system has been good.
“On that note, I would like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to the commuters for their support and kind consideration.
“In this process of transition, there had been teething problems and congestion because of reduced gates as we need to keep both systems running.
“On behalf of Prasarana, I would like to offer my apologies,” said Shahril.
Despite the system change, Touch ‘n Go cards, which are used widely by commuters, can also be used under the new AFC integrated ticketing system.
Shahril said: “On average, some 56 per cent of the commuters purchased single journey tickets.
“So, under the AFC system, commuters will be given a token for single journeys instead of a magnetic ticket.
[TRANSIT: RFID tokens (also known as chipcoins) are used on some systems because they are smaller and more durable than RFID cards (like the ones used in Singapore’s MRT system). Magnetic strip tickets are an outdated technology with high maintenance costs due to the physical entry of the ticket into the mechanical system at fare gates, as well as exposure to dirt (sweat, grime, finger oils) and damage (crumpling, demagnetizing).]
“The commuters would need to touch the token at the gates on entry; and drop the token upon exit.
“In cases of over-ride, the machine will reject the tokens and commuters would need to go to the counter to add more value to cover their actual journey,” said Shahril, adding that while ticket purchases can be made at the counters, commuters should familiarise themselves by purchasing them at the Ticket Vending Machines (TVM).
“Better still, they should purchase and use MyRapid Cards.
“We would be drawing up loyalty programmes to reward our users when we have fully integrated the whole public transport system of LRT, Monorail and RapidKL buses,” added Shahril.
The new system would also allow customers to purchase and reload their tickets online in the future via the website, eliminating the need of queuing at ticket vending machines and counters.
The new system, which cost RM115.2 million, comprises new sets of automatic gates, ticket vending machines, passenger service machines, mobile validators, station computer system; central computer system; initialisation machines and personalisation machines.
Contracted to design, manufacture, deliver, install and test the new system, INDRA-IRIS AFC Consortium (IIAC) would also be responsible in implementing the online ticket purchase.
Explaining the need for change, Shahril said the current system was almost obsolete.
“We cannot install additional gates, in view of the rising number in ridership.
“The current system can’t support an integrated ticketing system and the growing ridership,” Shahril said, adding that the current ridership for the three rail services was 420,000 daily.
“We aim to push to an average of half a million every day next year,” added Shahril.
We are happy about the improvement to LRT-LRT fare integration and the physical improvements to the Masjid Jamek interchange.
We could even say that maintaining the extra “starting fares” that have been charged since 1998 is not really costing the public that much since they do not know how much money they have been losing from paying starting fares since the Prasarana takeover in 2003. And we could also say that the money will go towards paying off the black hole that is the operations costs and capital expenditures of the LRT lines, which are currently not paying for themselves (and probably never will).
What we want to see from Prasarana are incentives & rewards to encourage people to use public transport and transfer between LRT, monorail, KTM Komuter, bus and the future MRT. We do not want to wait until the end of 2012 to see this happen.
One easy way to get this started now is to provide discounts for public transport users who make multiple transfers, and ideally, cap off their daily maximum charge at a reasonable amount (RM 8, perhaps?). Everything is possible with the fare-payment technology that Prasarana has purchased for RapidKL. The challenge is to get Prasarana to put customer service forward and implement these incentives & rewards.
Eventually, we need to look at a completely new way to determine fares, not just new ways to collect them. That is a tough debate, and it has to be in the public domain and involve all stakeholders.
By the way, LRT-LRT-Monorail fare integration is proposed for early 2012. Monorail station upgrades and LRT-Monorail physical integration projects are ongoing and will be completed early in 2012.
LRT-monorail-bus integration for late 2012, but do not expect any reduction in the KL Monorail’s starting fares in the future either. But who knows, maybe Prasarana will change their minds.
LRT-Monorail-Bus-KTM Komuter fare integration is a remote possibility in the future as KTMB will be purchasing the same AFC system for their services.
Perhaps the fare integration should be joined with full service integration – a privatization of KTM Komuter or takeover of the Komuter division by Prasarana.