by NUR HAZIQAH A MALEK
THE Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Kajang Line has great potential in replacing the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) Kelana Jaya Line as the largest contributor to passenger volume that the operator handles.
Prasarana Malaysia Bhd new CEO Muhammad Nizam Alias said the expectation is based on the current urban rail passenger number patterns.
“Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT, now known as MRT Kajang Line, has placed Malaysia on par with developed countries in terms of public transport facilities.
“The number of passengers has also increased; and more and more people are beginning to see rail public transport as a very convenient thing. We believe with the growth of new cities in the line-up, the number of passengers will continue to increase,” he said in a statement last Friday.
Unfortunately, he said, the momentum was affected this year due to the spread of the Covid-19 pandemic and the Movement Control Order (MCO) which began on March 18, and as of now, will last until Aug 31.
“However, our passenger volume pattern for the MRT and all other services is improving, although it is still far from the figures before the MCO,” he added.
The average number of daily ridership for the line in 2019 was 200,000, but dropped to 80,000 for the first six months of 2020.
Last Friday, Prasarana celebrated the third anniversary of MRT Kajang Line’s operation, and the operator group also added that it will recover from the adverse effects of the Covid-19 pandemic, and will only grow in popularity and become a major contributor in realising the government’s target to increase the rate of public transport use.
The MRT service was fully opened for all 35 stations on July 17, 2017, following the opening of 14 stations for the first phase on Dec 16, 2016.
In the 15-day period in December 2016, the service recorded a total of 676,495 passengers comprising those from outside Selangor who came to experience the ride.
By 2017, the line recorded a total of 22.35 million passengers which further increased to 51.31 million passengers in the following year, and later in 2019, recorded 63.95 million passengers which was bolstered by the My100 unlimited travel pass initiative the operator increased on Jan 1, 2019.
Among the major development projects along the line are integrated commercial hubs near the Kwasa Damansara station, Kwasa Sentral station, Pavilion Lifestyle Mall near the Damansara City Center Station, The Exchange 106 Tower near the Tun Razak Exchange Station and Menara KL 118 near the Merdeka Station.
Moving forward, the group is confident that the nation will win against the pandemic and its urban rail service will be the catalyst for economic development.
“The MRT will receive a second network, which is Putrajaya Line’s first phase next year, thus will be the driver for this economic recovery,” he added.