PETALING JAYA: Ridership projections for the MRT3 project, which have been criticised by an MP, were based on the current ridership trends for the first two lines, Mass Rapid Transit Corp said.
However, the current trends for the MRT1 and MRT2 had differed from initial projections as some urban development projects apart from the two lines had been delayed, the rail company said.
It explained that these projects had been factored in when estimating the ridership for MRT1 and MRT2.
Among the projects is the Kwasa Damansara township alongside the Kajang (MRT1) and Putrajaya (MRT2) lines.
While these projects were slated to bring significant ridership, the development has not yet started, it said.
Several planned transport oriented development in Phileo Damansara, Tun Razak Exchange, Bukit Dukong and Sungai Jernih have also not yet started, while the regeneration of prime areas in Kuala Lumpur such as Cochrane and Pusat Bandar Damansara were currently going on, it said.
The ridership for the Putrajaya line was also forecast in anticipation of the Bandar Malaysia township, Conlay, Cyberjaya Central and Merdeka 118 projects being completed by the time the line starts operating.
However, Bandar Malaysia development has yet to begin, and the development of Merdeka 118 is still continuing.
Similarly, the urban regeneration along the Putrajaya line such as Titiwangsa, Ampang Park, Chan Sow Lin and the Seri Kembangan corridor has yet to begin.
“Given the experience of delayed development along the Kajang line, the basis of ridership projections for the MRT3 Circle Line took into account current ridership trends,” it said in a statement.
A longer period for the urban developments to materialise had been factored in, which was a “more reasonable” approach given the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on travel behaviour and the property market.
Yesterday, MRT ridership projections were criticised by Tanjong Malim MP Chang Lih Kang.
He said the Dewan Rakyat had been informed that the average daily ridership for MRT3 was expected to be 180,300 passengers. He said transport minister Wee Ka Siong had also informed the House that there were expected to be 1.01 million daily passengers by 2060.
However, Chang disputed the figure given the length of the tracks and the number of stations. MRT1 has 29 stations and is 42km in length, while MRT2 has 36 stations at a length of 56km. MRT3 is approximately 51km with 33 stations.
“So, either the minister gave a fake answer in Parliament on MRT3’s projection, or projections on MRT1 and 2 were vastly inaccurate,” he said.