KUALA LUMPUR: Monorail users can expect “lesser waiting” with the addition of three refurbished four-car trains.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke, at a ceremony to welcome the additions, said the extra cars will bring relief to the issue of “sardine-packed” trains, especially during peak hours.
“The new four-car trains are more spacious and comfortable and the waiting time will be reduced to about 6.5 minutes during peak hours,” he said at the event which was also held in conjunction with KL Monorail’s 16th anniversary.
According to Loke, two of the four-car trains are scheduled to run in November.
He said the delay in getting the trains “back on track” was due to the prolonged legal tussle which stretched over five years during the administration of the previous government.
“There were also multiple safety incidents that forced the regulator to stop operations involving the four-car trains. From 2017 onwards, it went from bad to worse.
“At its peak in 2013/14, Rapid KL Monorail Line daily commuters rose to over 75,000 passengers. Fast forward to first quarter of this year, the figure fell to 31,000 passengers on average,” said Loke.
However, he expressed confidence the number of monorail users will rebound following the refurbishment.
“It will take time for ridership to increase, but with the additional trains, we look forward to a progressive increase,” Loke said.
In December 2010, Prasarana and Scomi Engineering entered a RM494 million contract for the Kuala Lumpur Fleet Monorail Expansion project, which was terminated six years later.
An agreement was then developed between Prasarana and Scomi Transit Project Sdn Bhd on the acquisition of 12 sets of four-car trains, construction of a depot and upgrading of facilities at monorail stations. These did not materialise as STP failed to deliver 10 sets of four-car trains, including seven scheduled for revenue service as stated in a supplementary agreement and led to Prasarana terminating the contract in June 2016.
A new settlement was signed on April 4 this year, which marked an end to the dispute between Prasarana and Scomi. Under the new deal, STP have to refurbish five of the four-car trains that have not been in operation since January last year, and Prasarana will acquire seven more four-car trains.
However, Prasarana will have to pay Scomi RM181 million for the refurbishment of the five train sets. Acquisition of the seven sets of four-car trains will only be “complete” once the five sets are tested out for a period of six months.