By MARK RAO / Pic By TMR
Prasarana Malaysia Bhd’s initial specifications for the Light Rail Transit Line 3 (LRT3) exceeded the actual requirements and projected demand, hence the capacity reduction which is part of the project’s revision as outlined by the Ministry of Transport (MoT).
According to a statement by the ministry, the revised project will proceed at a capacity of 6,210 passengers per hour per direction with 22 three-car trains — lower than initially intended by Prasarana, the project manager.
The government recently gave the green light for development of the 37km rail line from Klang to Petaling Jaya, after the project cost was brought down by 47% to RM16.6 billion from the initial projection of RM31.65 billion.
The MoT said the capacity of the LRT trains has been reduced and streamlined, as opposed to the specifications that was instructed by Prasarana which were deemed well above the necessary requirements and projected ridership.
“The revised specification of 22 sets of three-car trains is more than sufficient to cater to the current ridership demand. During peak hours, the forecast maximum number of passengers per hour per direction is 6,185 in 2034,” it said.
The MoT said this could be accommodated by the planned 6,210 passengers per hour per direction capacity, while additional three-car trains can be purchased to meet ridership demand beyond 2050, which is projected at 11,584 passengers per hour per direction.
The LRT3 is also designed to be able to be upgraded from the present interval of six minutes to the shortest interval of two minutes, and to accommodate ridership of up to 18,630 passengers per hour per direction.
The ministry stated that all stations along the LRT3 route can cater to up to four-car trains, which may be procured in the event that the ridership exceeds 18,630 passengers per hour per direction.
“The train stations should be designed to cater to actual projected demand of passenger loads and not succumb to unrealistic demands causing cost escalation,” it added.
Passenger loading will be below six passengers per sq m, which is within international standards of between six and eight passengers per sq m.
“Further in line with international standards, the total 22 trains include provision for two train-sets being under maintenance and one train-set on standby. Similar provisions will be made for subsequent purchases of trains.”
The provisional stations along the 37km LRT3 route are Lien Hoe, Temasya, Persiaran Hishamuddin, SIRIM, Bukit Raja and Bandar Botanic, with the projected ridership for 2020 at below 1,500 passengers per day per station.
“However, these stations will be built up progressively as ridership and demand increase.
“In addition, the station redesign and facilities to be provided are benchmarked against existing LRT stations for the Kelana Jaya line and is more than sufficient to cater to the projected ridership.”
MoT said it is in full support for the continuation of the project in addressing traffic issues.
In 2015, Prasarana secured a government guarantee for a RM10 billion bond facility to fund the rail line. The Ministry of Finance (MoF) unit then requested an additional RM22 billion government aid on March 30, 2018, after the project cost ballooned from the initial RM9 billion estimate.
A recent announcement by MoF stated that it will not support any additional funding unless the cost of LRT3 is significantly rationalised