Johor State Government Has Long-Term Plan to Boost Public Transport

Malaysian 1-meter-gauge rail extending to horizon
Malaysian 1-meter-gauge rail extending to horizon

Johor state government has recently came up with an awesome long-term plan to improve the public transport service in the state. The plan was developed together with Iskandar Regional Development Authority and the Land Public Transport Commission (Suruhanjaya Pengangkutan Awam Darat – SPAD), reports a news article dated Nov 13th 2013 from NST.

The plan is made to reduce the dependency on private vehicles and also to implement public transport systems that are more efficient and modern. Apart from urban areas, stage bus system would also be improved. Johor’s Chief Minister, Datuk Seri Mohamed Khaled Nordin said the Bus Rapid Transit System would be the main public transport for all ten corridors of Iskandar Malaysia. With the anticipated rapid growth of Iskandar Malaysia, the plan is hoped to be a successful one with ample integration between different transport services.

Source: NST

KLIA Ekspres Website is Back Online

KLIA Ekspres
KLIA Ekspres

For several months, the KLIA Ekspres website has been inaccessible for the users. We are not sure why but there is not news available. There is a telephone number in our directory but we think it will do us nothing good if we call the customer support. Being a service provider, the operating company, Express Rail Link (ERL) cannot simply let this matter pass through without any concrete solution.

Gladly enough, the website is now accessible again. This is a huge milestone, especially as the opening date of KLIA2 draws near. More users, especially tourists would love to do some research before they begin their travel. Malaysia as the 2nd most visited country in Asia after China should spearhead the effort to improve communication with tourists.

We are not sure about this but we think the website might have a new look plus some added information. The most notable one is the online promotion a well as added information about KLIA2 service.

As a quick update, KLIA2 will be part of KLIA Ekspres and KLIA Transit route. The inter-terminal fare will be charged at RM 2 per journey. While this is really cheap, we think it is a better idea to abolish it altogether to eliminate unnecessary congestion as well as improve inter terminal connectivity. Perhaps the added revenue is necessary to ensure the financial feasibility of KLIA2 operation. Throughout the years, we are aware that AirAsia is in close consultation in building KLIA2 and there are several demands that they need. The basic idea is charging users only when necessary and also try to go the cheapest way.

Kuala Lumpur – Singapore High Speed Rail Link: Talk is Back on Track

Malaysian 1-meter-gauge rail extending to horizon
Malaysian 1-meter-gauge rail extending to horizon

The negotiation to establish a high speed rail link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore has been revived, said Minister in Prime Minister’s Department, Nancy Shukri.

The talk was initially planned to start from October but it has been delayed to December instead. The talk serves as a negotiation platform to solve legal and technical issues in building the high speed rail link.

Final detail on the track alignment as well as other technical specifications are still pending mutual agreement from both Malaysian and Singaporean side.

The project is targeted to be completed by 2020 with cost of about RM 40 bil.

Source: The Star

More Train Engineers Needed in Malaysia

KTM Diesel Locomotive Class 23 (23106 – Gagah) at Arau Railway Station, Perlis
KTM Diesel Locomotive Class 23 (23106 – Gagah) at Arau Railway Station, Perlis

Recent developments in railway atmosphere in Malaysia have enabled greater access to rail transportation, thanks to mega projects such as the Electrified Double Tracking Project (EDTP). Recently the government announced that EDTP will be extended to Johor Bahru. As of now, EDTP between Kuala Lumpur and Ipoh is already in use. For Ipoh-Padang Besar stretch, EDTP is still in construction.

Newer technologies require new set of skills to be maintained. This is evident in Malaysia’s reliance towards foreign engineers in handling its sophisticated train system, such as the ones from United Kingdom. The usage of manpower from overseas is very expensive but it has to take place due to lack of engineers in Malaysian train industry.

Manpower is one of the problem that surfaces alongside recent development in railway industry. Other than that, we are also facing other problems such as rolling stock procurement and also the reliability of current rail tracks. The tracks need to be more durable and less subjected to failures, especially along routes usually taken by freight trains.

Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chief executive officer Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal said a lack of manpower in the sector resulted in Malaysia using the services of foreign engineers, such as those from the United Kingdom, to smoothen tasks involving the use of new technologies in the train system.

Source: BERNAMA news article

Possible Express Bus Ticket Price Increase?

Our living cost has already been rising. Quite a number of people are complaining that the increase does not correlate well with our paycheck increase. In certain fields, the theory holds true. For a number of people, life has already starting to treat them harshly. However, on November 7, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) gave us worse news. Express bus tickets will increase, according to a news article from BERNAMA.

The SPAD chairman, Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said that while the rate increase is still in planning, the price increase is inevitable as the operation cost has also been rising. Customers want more value-added services for their journey such as Wi-Fi services but they do not want to pay more at the same time. This is a difficult move as the operators need to improve their already-thinning profit margin to cope with declining satisfaction level among customers.

In addition, LANDASAN also has been receiving negative reviews on some express bus companies about system failure while booking tickets and also notoriously about how bad is the service from some express bus companies. Perhaps this is one aspect that the companies should look into. It is good to have wonderful value added amenities in express buses but customer satisfaction should never be overlooked.

We hope that with the increase of express bus ticket price, the service quality would also increase.

KTM Komuter Derailed Near Rawang Station

A KTM Komuter train was derailed at Kilometer 354.88 new Rawang Station on November 1st, according to a BERNAMA news source.

Since KTM services share the same trackage, other services such as KTM Intercity and ETS are also affected. However, like previous incidents, KTM Berhad was quick in terms of response time. Passengers were then transported using shuttle buses, continuing their journey to their respective destinations.