ERL aims to partner ride-sharing companies to boost ridership

By AFIQ AZIZ / Pic By BERNAMA

Express Rail Link Sdn Bhd (ERL) hopes to partner e-hailing firms to boost ridership for the train services to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA), which had taken a toll since the 2016 fare increase.

The operator of the fast train to the country’s main airport expects ridership to rise by 5% by year-end, allowing the operator to hit the nine million ridership target.

CEO Noormah Mohd Noor said the company is already collaborating with ride-hailing provider Grab Malaysia to cater for the last mile connectivity.

“If you buy ERL’s KLIA Express ticket now, you will get a free promo code up to RM10 from Grab, and (this will) make you more convenient to reach your next destination,” she said after the unveiling of ERL’s new KLIA Express train in Sepang yesterday.

She said the group also has plans to work with Uber Technologies Inc to provide similar last mile connectivity this year.

Noormah said ERL is also engaging airlines on how to integrate into their ticketing system for customers’ convenience.

“We are looking into how passengers can purchase airline tickets as well as ERL tickets under the same platform,” she said, adding that ERL has already collaborated with AirAsia Bhd on such convenience.

“For AirAsia, we are already on their booking page, and customers can purchase their train ticket at a discounted price.

“However, users are still redirected to our website to buy the ticket,” she said.

Meanwhile, Noormah said the company has no plans to increase ticket fares presently.

ERL increased the fares for the KLIA Transit and KLIA Express services in January 2016.

The KLIA Express ticket fare was increased from RM35 to RM55, or a 57% increase. Ticket prices for the KLIA Transit services also saw increases. The hikes had caused riderships to drop to about 10 million that year compared to 11 million in the previous year.

Users of the train service connecting Kuala Lumpur to KLIA further slipped to around 8.7 million last year.

Meanwhile, ERL yesterday unveiled six new trains witnessed by Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, ERL executive chairman Tan Sri Mohd Nadzmi Mohd Salleh and train manufacturer CRRC Changchun Railway Vehicles Co Ltd president An Zhongyi.

The car-set was purchased from CRRC Changchun in November 2014 to accommodate the rising demand for the service then.

At that time, ERL ridership jumped 43% to 9.2 million people from 6.4 million a year earlier mainly due to the opening of the KLIA2 ERL station.

All six trains have been delivered to ERL. Four of the trains are allocated for the KLIA Transit service, while the remaining two for KLIA Express.

Currently, the company is operating 12 trains for both KLIA Express and KLIA Transit.

Mohd Nadzmi said the six trains will increase ERL’s total capacity by 50% and allow ERL to offer a more efficient service.

“The additional services on KLIA Transit during peak hours will significantly benefit commuters and air travellers,” he said.

He, however, declined to reveal the cost for the six trains.