KUALA LUMPUR – July 12, 2018: The government’s decision to scale down the LRT3 project in the name of reducing cost has not gone down well with some Malaysians.
Despite the praises received by Finance Minister Lim Guan Eng at his Facebook account after he had announced the decision today, there are Malaysians who apparently are concerned with the way cost has been reduced and fear that the system will become inefficient and need more money to improve or upgrade it.
Lim said today that the Cabinet had given LRT3 the go-ahead to proceed after its cost was reduced by 47 per cent to RM16.63 billion, from its original RM31.65 billion.
One of the ways cost is reduced is to have 22 sets of trains with 3 cars each instead of 44 sets with 6 cars each.
Khalid Kharim lamented on this on Twitter, describing it as wasteful and that ordering a train is not an off-the-shelf decision.
“The problem with public transport is peak hour ridership. Average per day can be low but peak hours can be two to three times the average. Train sets have to be enough to cater for the peak hours.
“To order additional train sets takes years. Furthermore, ordering bit by bit can also increase the cost,” said Khalid.
Besides that, the reviewed LRT3 will see its completion date delayed by four years to year 2024, incurring the wrath of critics like Syafiq Nawi.
“During the construction period we will have to face heavy traffic every single day and now they want to delay the project completion even longer?
“Then when it is finally done, there will only be three cars for each train set. This is not a fun fair ride,” commented Syafiq.
Mun Hong also voiced similar concerns, pointing out how extra capacity is not a bad idea in the long run.
“It’s not a bad idea to invest in larger capacities for the long-term, especially rail lines within Klang Valley. Scrapping stations along the line? Doesn’t that reduce accessibility for commuters?” questioned Mun Hong.
“Please don’t devalue the importance of public transport… top cities in the world are built upon vast public transport networks.”
His concerns are echoed by Ko Ci Wai who said that building only to cater to the present is like setting up the project for failure.
“Considering how congested the Kelana Jaya line is during peak hours, having longer intervals, fewer and shorter trains is like setting up the project for failure.”
Other cost cutting measures include:
- Shelving five stations — at Lien Hoe, Temasya, Sirim, Bukit Raja and Bandar Botanic.
- Cancelling a 2-kilometre tunnel together with an underground station at Persiaran Hishamuddin, Shah Alam
- Reducing the size of the depot due to the significantly less number of trains.