Prasarana expects 40% drop in ridership

The reduction is inevitable, despite the company being allowed to operate in full capacity in June


PRASARANA Malaysia Bhd is expecting a 40% drop in passenger ridership from both rail and bus services this year due to the impact of Covid-19 and Movement Control Order (MCO).

CEO Muhammad Nizam Alias (picture) said the reduction is inevitable, despite the company being allowed to operate in full capacity in June.

The state multi-modal public transport operator had lost a significant number of public transport users during the first phase of MCO, with the number of passengers reduced by 50%, forcing Prasarana to cut down the frequencies of its services.

Although the government had eased the movement restrictions, Muhammad Nizam said it is hard for the current ridership figure to cover Prasarana’s losses incurred during the MCO period.

As such, he said this will impact the transport operator earnings and last year’s financial performance.

“During the Recovery MCO, we are seeing the public using our services, but gradually. We are now operating at almost 60% capacity compared to the pre-Covid-19 outbreak,” he said in a media conference after Prasarana’s graduation ceremony yesterday.

Last November, Prasarana announced that it had handled 1.4 million daily ridership for 2019 via its transport services throughout the country, compared to 900,000 daily commuters in 2018.

The Kelana Jaya Light Rail Transit (LRT) has 329,406 riders daily, followed by the Ampang/Sri Petaling line with 213,158 riders, while the Sungai Buloh-Kajang Mass Rail Transit (MRT) serves 215,833 riders a day.

Last Friday, Muhammad Nizam said the MRT Kajang Line recorded only about 80,000 daily passenger ridership in the first half of this year.

“Our focus now is to instil public confidence as they are economically impacted. It is important that with our full capacity in running the operation now, people will be able to go to work and help restart the economy.”

“At the same time, we will manage our cost accordingly (due to the slowdown in passengers),” Muhammad Nizam said, adding that a full report on the firm’s performance will be announced soon.

He believes that the number of passengers will rebound next year. “So, we remain optimistic that the number of ridership will meet the pre-Covid-19 phase or even higher, with the economic recovery,” Muhammad Nizam said.

Earlier, Prasarana chairman Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman officiated the 6th series of Strategic Prasarana Executive Enhancement and Development Scheme (SPEEDS) graduation ceremony, in which 10 management trainees have successfully completed the one-year programme. Since 2012, the programme has provided an opportunity to many young talents from all walks of life in fast-tracking their career with Prasarana.

Tajuddin said with a comprehensive structure, SPEEDS combines on-the-job training, project assignments and workshops with the element of coaching and mentoring.

Upon completion, all management trainees are placed in Prasarana departments or subsidiaries relevant to their academic backgrounds.

Tajuddin also presented a memento of appreciation to MRT feeder bus captain Izan Shah Samsuddin who became viral on social media when he provided aid to flash flood victims last Saturday.