PETALING JAYA: A transport expert said KTMB must realign its railway tracks to match development patterns in the Klang Valley to boost passenger numbers.
Transport consultant Goh Bok Yen attributed empty KTM Komuter trains to stations located in inconvenient and inaccessible locations, inadequately planned station layouts and tracks that avoid densely populated areas.
“To begin with, routes do not follow trends of land use development, so the track is more like a ‘backyard route’ and doesn’t actually go through the main catchment (areas).
“If there’s no adjustment of the development corridor to be orientated towards the KTM line, then you find that it is difficult to boost passenger numbers,” he told FMT.
KTM, which used to move 83,315 passengers daily in 2016, plummeted to a mere 16,164 in 2021.
Goh said a “total review of the accessibility of stations” is necessary, together with a thorough restructuring of the existing station and track layout.
He also said that improving connectivity to harder-to-access stations could boost numbers.
“You need to have good connectivity with the catchment (areas). Then you need to actually have that connectivity through either a shuttle bus service or a physical road link improvement,” he told FMT.
Meanwhile, Railwaymen Union of Malaya president Faizal Shahibul Kiraya, said enhancing connectivity through feeder bus services would allow passengers better access to public transport.
“Passengers want to arrive safely without thinking about parking and traffic.
“Currently, many passengers have problems parking at stations. They try to minimise costs from parking fees (and) avoid traffic congestion.
“Feeder buses could attract more passengers,” he said.
While low passenger numbers raise doubts about the profitability of the service, Faizal emphasised that profit should not be the primary concern.
“It is more about transport for the benefit of the people and is based on providing necessary services. It is more for the common people,” he said.
Transport experts have consistently rounded on Malaysia’s rail infrastructure over the years. Although the government has on various occasions promised more investment for upgrades and a revitalising of the national network, very little has been achieved.
Rosli Azad Khan, a transport expert said the companies managing the public transport systems have not delivered on their responsibilities even though the government had a clear policy to move away from private vehicles and towards greater usage of bus and rail services.
“Maintenance of the infrastructure and facilities for public transport leaves much to be desired,” he told FMT.