KUALA LUMPUR, December 17th 2014: RapidKL will add some new four-coach trainset to its existing KL Monorail fleet later this month.
The new four-coach trainsets have already undergone final testing rounds at the existing KL Monorail line, stopping at every stations. It is expected to reduce congestion commonly seen during peak hours, especially at stations such as Bukit Bintang and Imbi. The current ridership of KL Monorail stands at 72,000 and is expected to double after the new trainsets begin service (source).
Notable features of the new monorail include intercom for communications between passengers and train driver, CCTV on each coach, smoke detectors, top side windows that can be opened during emergency situations and LED station displays.
Near Medan Tuanku station, a new shopping mall has just been opened, which can increase the ridership of KL Monorail even further, considering its proximity with the station.
The Japanese Prime Minister suggested the use of Shinkansen technology in building high speed rail link between Singapore and KL during their recent meetup session, as reported by The Straits Times Asia.
Constructing high speed rail service is not easy. The government alone cannot produce a project of this magnitude without affecting other aspects of country expenditure. Therefore, initiatives and partnerships from private firms is highly encouraged to take place. Government-linked Companies (GLCs) should also move their investment arms and turn this project into a successful venture.
The establishment of high speed rail link is expected to have some degree of negative impact towards KTM Intercity service. One source said that KL – Singapore is the most profitable route for KTM Intercity. Therefore, if the rail link is established, KTM Intercity revenue might be jeopardized.
Given the fact that the fares of KTM Intercity is tightly controlled by the government, we do hope that the government does not ‘cannibalize’ its KTM Intercity service. KTM Intercity has lots of room for improvement and it is sad knowing that the government is not doing enough to propel KTM Berhad to a greater height.
We hope that KTM Berhad will have some sort of control over the proposed high speed rail link. Its current business model might be improved in order for them to carry out their business in a more logical and rational basis.
Recently, I came across an article in The Star complaining about food service quality onboard ETS train. According to the author, one of the crew members responded rudely when he was asked about the food. Apart from rudeness, complaints can also be seen about unavailability of staff to take care of the orders placed at Food and Beverage counter in ETS’ Food & Beverage coach.
As a service provider with dedicated coach for food and beverage service, KTM Berhad should look into this problem seriously. While there are currently many KTMB staff who can behave appropriately and responded timely with customers’ complaints, there are also some of the ‘rotten eggs’ who smear the overall image of KTM Berhad.
The article mentioned above is about six months old (as of June 2013) but we are hoping that KTM Berhad has conducted a thorough investigation about this problem and rectified it in whichever way necessary. This is important to ensure customer satisfaction is taken up to a higher level.
ETS service is a prime choice of commuters traveling between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur. If the service quality (in terms of staff and on-time performance) can be improved, quite a number of people would not mind paying extra compared to public bus as long as they can have a comfortable ride between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur.
We are hoping that KTM Berhad will continue to look into ways to improve ETS service because it has clear advantage over bus service, which is the ability to circumvent through traffic jams (they use railroads!)