LRT3 cost reduction will result in lower ticket prices, ministry says

The Ministry of Transport today said the cost reduction of the 37km Light Rail Transit 3 (LRT3) project by RM15 billion will result in lower ticket prices. — Picture by Azneal Ishak
The Ministry of Transport today said the cost reduction of the 37km Light Rail Transit 3 (LRT3) project by RM15 billion will result in lower ticket prices. — Picture by Azneal Ishak

KUALA LUMPUR, July 16 — The cost reduction of the 37km Light Rail Transit 3 (LRT3) project by RM15 billion will result in lower ticket prices, the Ministry of Transport (MOT) said today.

The original cost of the project was RM31.6 billion.

In support of the continuation of the LRT3, the ministry said the size of the stations and the capacity to the LRT trains had been reduced and streamlined as its owner Prasarana Malaysia Bhd had instructed specifications well above the necessary requirement of a LRT system and the projected ridership.

Addressing issues raised on the adjustments made to accommodate the cost reduction, the ministry said the revised specification, such as using a three-car train instead of a six-car train, is more than sufficient to cater to the current ridership demand.

“The revised specification of 22 sets of 3-car trains are more than sufficient to cater for the current ridership demand.

“During peak hours, the forecasted maximum number of passengers per hour per direction is 6,185 in Year 2034. This ridership can be accommodated by 22 three-car trains which can carry 6,210 passengers per hour per direction,” they ministry responded in the statement.

The ministry said additional three-car trains can be purchase to increase capacity to meet the demand after the year 2050 and the LRT3 system was designed to be upgraded from  the present interval of six minutes to the shortest interval of two minutes, which could accommodate ridership up to 18,630 passengers per hour in peak direction.

The ministry said the total 22 train-sets provided is in accordance with international standards, which includes the provision for two train-sets being under maintenance and one train-set on standby, and does require for more train-sets at present.

Refuting claims that a six-train set would be more comfortable to ride in, the minister said it is within international standards to have between six and eight passengers per meter square. At all times, the passenger loading will be below six passengers per meter square.

In terms of the design of the train stations, the ministry said the current stations will be built to cater for four-car train-sets as it should be designed to cater to actual projected demand of passenger load, and not unrealistic demands that would cause hike in cost.

On concern of cutting cost on basic facilities or number of stations, the ministry said the station redesign and facilities provided is benchmarked against existing LRT stations for the Kelana Jaya line and is more than sufficient to cater to the projected ridership.

It said the projected ridership for provisional stations Lien Hoe, Temasya, Persiaran Hishamuddin, SIRIM, Bukit Raja and Bandar Botani, are below 1,500 passengers per day per station in the year 2020.

“However, these stations will be built up progressively as ridership and demand increases,” it said.

The ministry said the new LRT line is expected to serve a 2-million population with the capacity to transport 36,700 passengers per hour each way. 

On Thursday, the Cabinet had approved the continuation of the project after its owner Prasarana it was able to cut cost by nearly half and save the government RM15.02 billion.

Finance minister Lim Guan Eng said the massive RM15 billion savings helps cut government debt and will also save taxpayers up to RM14 billion in loan financing interest in the long run.

The cost reduction includes cancelling the building of a 2km LRT tunnel and underground station at Persiaran Hishamuddin in Shah Alam, Selangor and extending the timeline to complete the line from 2020 to 2024.

Further savings were made by halving the order of train carriages from 42 sets of six cars to 22 sets of three cars; the size of the LRT train depot; streamlining the size and design of the LRT stations; and shelving five stations where the projected ridership is low.