KUALA LUMPUR – Dec 3, 2015: The recent Express Rail Link (ERL) fare increase has caused unease among many members of the public, who are imploring for those in charge of the matter to reconsider the price hike.
Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL) had on Monday announced that effective Jan 1, the fare for a one-way trip between KL Sentral and KLIA/KLIA2 (Kuala Lumpur International Airport) will increase by RM20, from its current RM35 to RM55.
The Mole received a letter from one of our readers expressing dissatisfaction over the matter and exclaiming that the price hike should be done gradually, instead of being increased at the rate it was being announced.
In light of the financial pinch felt especially by those who commute by public transport, the reader stated that the move to increase the fare is questioned by many Malaysians.
The letter stressed that the authority in charge of ERL should break up the management costs and present these costs to the public for further understanding.
Among others, the letter highlighted that even the energy for the ERL operator is subsidised or controlled – which shows that such price hike is irrelevant.
The Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is also urged to study the efficiency of Prasarana Malaysia Berhad.
“Are they (Prasarana) managing costs well or wasting money? They have a public event every other week with tea and cakes. Is the maintenance of the system bleeding them? Is the bus system efficient or badly run?
“Are the people being forced to “subsidize” the government-linked companies for their follies?” the reader wrote.
The letter also entails SPAD to answer all of these inquiries in order to justify any fare increase, especially when the people are currently burdened with other financial obligations.
The writer added, the matter is also seen as a factor that will cause “trust deficiency” towards the government as the costs rise is far too much a burden.
Prominent journalist blogger Datuk Ahirudin Attan had also questioned the ERL fare increase in a blog posting today, by imposing a question “is SPAD’s fare increase justified?”.
The blogger who goes by the moniker “Rocky” implied that it is unacceptable that the fare were increased abruptly.
“For a million or so Komuter, Monorail and LRT daily users, December brings a crappy end to a year that hasn’t offered them much to be happy about in the first place.
“Reason; their fares have not only gone up, in some cases they’ve gone up by way too much. The monorail ride from Titiwangsa to Raja Chulan, for example is RM3.10 now, up from RM1.60 last week.
“If the people at the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) think it is alright, there’s something wrong with them,” the blogger wrote.
Rocky had also stated that earlier, SPAD chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said the increase was needed because the fares had remained unchanged ever since 2002.
However, the blogger opined that while it is true that the fare had never been increased, such information is “not going to make people feel better or lighten their extra load”.
The blogger agreed that the fare rationalisation is necessary; however, SPAD is urged to be more reasonable and appears to be making more sense.
“If the government is prepared to review the ERL’s new fares, the more reason for this administration to take another, closer look at the whole fare rationalisation and make adjustments to ensure that it is fair to all users,” he wrote.
Anonymous pro-establishment bloggers at ‘The Unspinners’ on the other hand expressed their dissatisfaction in regards to the critics who attributed the price hike to Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak.
The bloggers noted that several Najib’s critics had been blaming the PM and the government for the ERL fare increase, and claimed that such remarks are ridiculous.
“ERL started its operations in 2002. People should just figure out who is the prime minister when the concession agreement was made. The current PM has nothing to do with the price increase” the bloggers wrote in an obvious reference to the ongoing conflict between Najib and Tun Dr Mahathir Mohamad who was the PM when the highly popular ERL begun its operations.
Dr Mahathir has been calling for Najib to step down from the PM post over allegations of mishandling several national issues.