KUALA LUMPUR, Dec 2 — Express Rail Link’s (ERL) claim that fares on its KLIA Express were the lowest of airport rail transfers worldwide is challenged by a Malaysian user, who listed seven other services elsewhere that were either cheaper or conditionally free.
In a Facebook post yesterday, a user by the name of Zikry Kholil took exception to ERL chief executive Noormah Mohd Noor’s assertion that her firm’s KLIA Express “still offers the lowest airport rail transfer fare in the world” despite raising one-way fares to RM55 starting January 1.
“To the chief executive of ERL, I don’t think you did your market research right at all as you claimed in this article. In your own words, you claim that ‘KLIA Express still offers the lowest airport rail transfer fare in the world.’ You literally said ‘the lowest in the world’.
“Now I have a problem with that, because that’s not true. Unfortunately, after comparing with other airport transfers that I usually go through, I know for a fact that you’re highly inaccurate and your claims are fictitiously misleading,” Zikry wrote in his post.
Among examples he cited with cheaper city transfer fares were Estonia’s Tallinn International Airport, which was €1 (RM4.50) per journey and free for Estonians; Poland’s Warsaw International Airport where it was also €1; and the rail link from the Berlin city centre to its international airport (€3).
Others included Sweden’s Helsinki International Airport where it costs €5 for a city-bound ride; Seoul International Airport to the city centre (KRW8,000 or RM29); and Dubai’s one-day rail travel pass that includes the international airport (AED25 or RM28).
Checks by Malay Mail Online found that the fare for the Seoul train transfer is now back to KRW13,100 (RM47), with the KRW8,000 price listed as a discount in 2014, but still lower than what ERL will charge.
In a statement yesterday, ERL announced it will increase the fare for the KLIA Express from the current RM35 to RM55 beginning January 1.
It also increased rates for its KLIA Transit service by between 45 and 57 per cent.
The firm stressed, however, that the new rate is still less than what the firm was entitled to charge based on its concession agreement, which is said allowed it to set the fare at RM64 per journey.
ERL said the increase was needed to keep the service sustainable, citing losses amounting to RM671 million since the KLIA Express began operating in 2002.
Serdang MP Ong Kian Ming today urged the Transport Ministry to postpone the increase as ERL and YTL Corp — the majority owner of the venture and infrastructure provider — were already profiting from the service.
He said the KLIA Express was already subsidised RM5 from the airport tax paid by every international traveller and that ERL benefitted from increased ridership with the RM100 million KLIA2 extension that was paid for by the government.