Just on time before the start of the 20th edition of the Southeast Asian Games on August 19, Kuala Lumpur offers to its inhabitants and visitors an outstanding public transport system, probably ASEAN best with Singapore…
Last month, Kuala Lumpur could finally celebrate the end of the construction of the first proper MRT Line in the metropolitan area. The Malaysian capital experienced the full launching on July 18 of the new Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Line 1, or Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) Line.
Opening the new line, Transport Minister Liow Tiong Lai stated that the full-operational SBK Line was a significant milestone in the Government’s effort to improve the urban public transportation network in the Klang Valley.
“With 31 stations, seven of which are underground, the line is expected to see an average of 150,000 passengers a day from the current 15,000 passengers once the Semantan-Kajang route is fully operational,” he said.
Originally planned as a Light Rail Transit (LRT) Line, the project was transformed into a MRT, allowing a larger transport capacity as well as an extended length. SBK Line covers 51 km and each train has four cars, allowing a total capacity of 1,200 passengers per trip running at a frequency of 3.5 minutes. This translates to a total daily ridership of about 400,000.
Best is the fact that the new MRT is crossing under the city centre, connecting together many important areas well frequented by both locals and tourists. It includes the National Museum, Pasar Seni (Central Market) as well as Bukit Bintang with its concentration of shopping malls and hotels. The line runs underground for 9.5km.
The opening of the entire line also put an end to the countless construction sites and trenches necessary for the setting of the underground stations in the city centre.
With the MRT Line 1, Kuala Lumpur has now one of the best public transport networks in Southeast Asia, only surpassed by Singapore. Since 2012, all public transports are integrated into one system with a single ticket to be used. Three more MRT/LRT lines are currently under construction and are due to open between 2022 and 2025.
The Minister added that the current initiatives have increased the modal share of urban public transportation from 10% in 2009 to 20% in 2015, and are well on track to achieve the 40% target by 2030.
According to the Ministry of transport, the new line is due to translate into a potential reduction of congestion on roads with an expected drop of at least 160,000 individual vehicles daily. In a study conducted by the United Nations University, experts estimate that both MRT Lines 1 and 2 will help to reduce cars trips by more than 550,000 trips or 5.6 million km travelled on city roads, equivalent in the reduction of 227,800 tonnes of carbon dioxide per year in emissions.