KUALA LUMPUR, July 17 — The new look and feel of the seven Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) underground stations along the Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) Line will prompt a shift in the way local public transportation is perceived.
National Users of Public Transport Association president Ajit Johl said the mentality that public transportation is only for people of the lower income bracket ought to change when the MRT SBK Phase 2 is fully operational.
“We need to shake off the ‘old school’ mentality that people only use the trains because they do not own vehicles. When commuters board the new MRT, they will appreciate its world-class design and features,” he said.
“The modern look definitely helped boost the exterior and interior appeal of the stations. Putting aesthetic values on top of the list was a good move on MRT Corp’s part.”
With 31 stations, the MRT SBK Line covers a span of 51km, including seven underground stations, each assigned with its own unique theme.
The line will also be complemented with 300 feeder buses operating from 24 stations and servicing 47 routes.
While he lauded the project for improving connectivity tremendously, Ajit said the operator needs to ensure the frequency and punctuality of the service was maintained and guaranteed.
“The problem has always been the peripheral connectivity. Although the number of feeder buses and routes are increased this time round, operators should ensure there is no delay and schedule is adhered to,” he said.
Improvement of Mass Transit Association (Transit) spokesman Muhammad Thaqif Muhammed Najmuddin shared the same sentiment, adding better connectivity would alter the attitude of most Malaysians who are car-dependent.
“Let’s face it, people prefer driving because it is more convenient and comfortable,” he said.
“If connectivity from point-to-point is assured and transit-based infrastructure is available, this should encourage more to hop on the MRT bandwagon.”
Muhammad Thaqif said the public should give MRT the benefit of the doubt and not let previous unsatisfactory experience with public transportation stop them from converting into an MRT commuter.
“Maybe some people have had bad experiences in the past, for instance, when using the old Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) service which were known to be unpunctual and decided to never use the public transportation again,” he said.
“MRT did a good job by modernising the design and upgrading the systems which we hope will get more people on board.”
Association for the Protection of Natural Heritage of Malaysia (Peka) president Puan Sri Shariffa Sabrina Syed Akil is looking forward for a cleaner, less congested city.
“In the long run, this will reduce carbon emissions which would help with the global warming issue. This is a positive move for Malaysian transport,” she said.
* Editor’s note: This story has been updated to correct a spelling error.