Govt to revisit KL tram project

The govt is expected to be presented with fresh proposals by several interested parties

by AFIQ AZIZ & SHAZNI ONG / pic by TMR FILE

THE government is expected to revisit the tram services project in Kuala Lumpur (KL), a concept that was originally mooted by a foreign consultant five years ago.

Federal Territories Minister Khalid Abdul Samad (picture) said the government is expected to be presented with fresh proposals that are currently being prepared by several interested parties.

Khalid said while the original proposal to introduce the service in the heart of the city was shelved by the previous administration, the interest for the government to re-explore its possibility is very much in line with all the efforts that are initiated to ease the increasing road congestion rate in the city.

“On July 15, we are going to be presented with a proposal by a company that is interested to build the trams in KL.

“They said a study had been conducted, but the proposal was shelved for some reasons. So, we want to hear their suggestion again,” he told The Malaysian Reserve (TMR) in an interview yesterday.

In 2016, it was reported that the number of vehicles entering KL was estimated at 3.5 million, with 70% or 2.4 million being single-occupant vehicles.

Khalid said should the tram project materialise, it could complement the existing and upcoming transportation projects in the city, which would exponentially alleviate congestion issues in the city.

Currently, the entire city and the central business district are already connected by about 170 rail stations.

“On top of that, we also have to listen to this tram service proposal, and what could they offer in reducing congestion in KL.

“I am not too sure about the number of parties that are interested in this project, but as for the recent one, the company was already involved in the original study. “There is a foreign firm which has a representative in the country,” Khalid added, without revealing further details.

A source familiar with the original study told TMR that a French consultancy firm had approached the KL City Hall (DBKL) in 2014 with a proposal to establish the tram system. He said the project was supposed to be a full-loop service that would connect major tourist spots in the city.

It was also envisioned to offer pleasant experience for the commuters, while reducing the number of cars on the road.

“However, I am not sure why it was shelved afterwards as it was then supposed to be followed through by the Land Public Transport Agency.

“No further detail was discussed at that time, including the cost involved, as well as the number of stations,” the source said.

The source added that the tram services could also save about 60% in cost compared to the typical elevated and underground train system.

“It was supposed to use existing road without the tracks encroaching much on the existing routes,” he said.

Meanwhile, Khalid added that DBKL is also expected to appoint a consultant that could assist his ministry in finding solutions for the city’s traffic woes.

He said the request for proposal would be open in August. At present, around 1.76 million people live in Malaysia’s capital city with an area of about 24,000ha.

“The tram system surely will utilise land space, so we might lose part of the lanes. However, if the proposal could prove that the system can reduce the number of cars, then it would work for us,” Khalid added.