• 拒绝在《2010年陆地公共交通(修正)法案》下设立司机仲裁庭的掌管陆路交通委员会的部长必须回应出租车和电召车司机的投诉

    (2017年7月27日)沙登区国会议员王建民博士的媒体声明

    拒绝在2010年陆地公共交通(修正)法案》下设立司机仲裁庭的掌管陆路交通委员会的部长必须回应出租车和电召车司机的投诉

    早前这个月,在一场行动党与电召车司机举行的对话环节中,我们收到的主要投诉之一便是,缺乏可让不同意电召车公司决定的司机进行上诉的第三方独立机构。例如,我们听到一些司机投诉自己在没有明确的理由下就被禁止或吊销服务。许多司机也对自己所属的公司进行投诉。可是,这些投诉往往在缺乏独立机构或第三方机构的情况下没有被受理或裁决。

    目前在国会所辩论的《2010年陆地公共交通(修正)法案》并没有正视到这个课题。因此,我提出个人动议,希望在这法案中引入新条例,即设立一个“的士与电召车司机仲裁庭”(参阅附录2)。这个仲裁庭类似于1999年消费者保护法案第85至第122条例中所设立的消费者仲裁庭。可令人遗憾的是,这项动议被下议院的议长拒绝(参阅附录1)。在议长的答复中,负责草拟这项法案的南茜部长(Nancy Shukri)拒绝了设立仲裁庭的必要,因为在宪报通过电召车司机合法化的法案和实施电召司机执照后,陆路交通委员会(SPAD)的部门会接手处理电召车司机们的投诉。

    上述建议所面临的问题将是,陆路交通委员会(SPAD)或许没有司法权来强制电召服务公司遵循针对司机与公司之间争端所作出的裁决。例如,SPAD可能会发现其中一家电召服务公司欠偿司机有争议的数千令吉车费。那SPAD能否强制电召服务公司偿还该车费呢?过后,司机是否还得向法庭去追讨未偿还的车费呢?因此,设立仲裁庭的好处在于,这是方便司机不需要支付昂贵的法律费用,而且更有效率的管道来进行投诉。再则,当这项法案在宪报通过后,我们也对SPAD是否有能力调查和听取所有涉及电召司机投诉的案件,保持存疑的态度。

    这个仲裁庭不只是为了服务电召车司机,同时也适用于一般的出租车司机的投诉案件。

    由于这个仲裁庭已不太可能设立,我呼吁所有曾对自己公司投诉的电子召车和出租车司机请致电SPAD投诉热线(1800-88-7723),或发短信致15888或电邮致aduan@spad.gov.my来提出投诉,至少向SPAD发出明确的讯息,有必要设立仲裁庭来处理这些投诉。

    王建民博士
    沙登区国会议员

    附录1:一封致议长要求批准在2010年陆路公共交通(修正)案下设立出租车和电召车司机仲裁庭的动议信函

    附录2:在2010年陆路公共交通(修正)案下设立出租车和电召车司

  • The Minister in charge of SPAD has to answer to taxi and ehailing drivers if a Drivers’ Tribunal is not established under the Land Public Transport Act (Amendment) 2010

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 27th of July, 2017

    The Minister in charge of SPAD has to answer to taxi and ehailing drivers if a Drivers’ Tribunal is not established under the Land Public Transport Act (Amendment) 2010

    Earlier this month, in a dialogue session organized by the DAP with ehailing drivers, one of the main complaints we heard was that there was no independent body or a third party which the drivers can appeal to in they disagreed with a decision by the ehailing company they are driving for. For example, we heard complaints from a number of drivers who claimed to have been banned or suspended from an ehailing company for no apparent reason. Many taxi drivers also have complaints against the companies they are driving for. They also have no independent body or third body which can hear their complaints and make a ruling.

    The Land Public Transport Act (Amendment) 2010, which is currently being debated in parliament, does not address this problem at all. As such, I proposed a motion to introduce a new section in this act to establish a “Taxi Drivers’ and Ehailing Drivers’ Tribunal” (Appendix 2). This tribunal is similar to the Consumers’ Tribunal which was established in Section 85 to Section 122 of the Consumers’ Protection Act 1999. Sadly, my motion to introduce this tribunal was rejected by the Speaker of the Dewan Rakyat (Appendix 1). In her reply in parliament, the Minister in charge of tabling this bill, Dato’ Sri Nancy Shukri rejected the need for a tribunal because she said that SPAD can currently handle the complaints of the taxi drivers and later on, of the ehailing drivers when ehailing is legalised after the gazetting of this bill and the ehailing licenses have been approved.

    The problem with this suggestion is that SPAD may not have the legal jurisdiction to compel the ehailing companies to follow its decisions on disputes between drivers and their companies. For example, SPAD may find that an ehailing company owes a driver thousands of ringgit in unpaid fares that is subject to a dispute. Can SPAD compel the ehailing company to pay this driver his unpaid fares? Or will the driver have to go to court to seek his unpaid fares? The advantage of a tribunal is that it is a cost-effective way for drivers have their complaints heard without the need to pay expensive legal and court fees. There is also the question of whether SPAD has the capacity to investigate and hear all the cases involving ehailing drivers after this act is passed and gazetted.

    This tribunal is not just for ehailing drivers. It can also be used by taxi drivers who have complaints against their companies.

    Since this tribunal is not likely to be established under this act, I call upon all ehailing and taxi drivers who have complaints against their companies to call the SPAD complaint hotline (1800-88-7723), SMS SPAD at 15888 or email SPAD at aduan@spad.gov.my to lodge their complaints, if they have any, against their respective companies, to show SPAD that there is an urgent need for a Drivers’ Tribunal to hear and to rule on these complaints.

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Appendix 1: Letter from the Speaker rejecting my motion to introduce a Taxi Drivers and Ehailing Drivers Tribunal in the Land Public Transport Act (Amendment) 2010

    Appendix 2: Motion to introduce a Taxi and Ehailing Drivers’ Tribunal in the Land Public Transport Act (Amendment) 2010

  • 巴生谷河流域的公共交通和捷运服务所面临的挑战

    (2017年7月24日)沙登区国会议员王建民博士的媒体声明

    巴生谷河流域的公共交通和捷运服务所面临的挑战

    从双溪毛糯到加影的捷运线全站已经运营近一个星期了。政府部长纷纷试乘并为此轮阵欢呼后,我们的捷运服务已经开始面临着以下挑战:(i)达成每日乘客目标 (ii)确保易搭性,可负担性和互通性,及(iii)维持经济上的可持续性。

    1) 达成每日乘客目标

    这句话看起来很理所当然,但我们的主要目的仍然是希望越来越多的乘客会使用捷运的服务。 根据捷运公司的数据统计,预计从双溪毛糯到加影的捷运线一号每天能负荷约4万的乘客人数。每组列车有四辆车厢,总容量可达1200人次,每辆列车的行驶频率约为3.5分钟。[1] 最近,当局也进一步地将这个数字下调至每天15万人次的目标。[2]

    一般乘客都需要一段时间才能习惯和掌握捷运的搭法,包括了解行驶路线,接驳巴士的时间表和行驶路线,如何使用捷运来转搭其他形式的公共交通工具,如轻快铁(LRT),电动火车(KTM)和Rapid KL巴士和拥有停车场的车站。

    为了更好地看待每日15万乘客数量的目标,我们可以参考和比较格拉那再也线(Kelana Jaya)和安邦(Ampang)轻快铁路线的每日乘客数量。(请见下图1)

    图表一:2014年第一季度至2017年第一季度,格拉那再也线和安邦轻快铁路线,吉隆坡单轨火车,电动火车,吉隆坡机场快铁路线的每日乘搭量

    根据2017年第一季度的报告,格拉那再也线是最繁忙的,日均乘客数量为218,888人次,其次是安邦路线,日均乘客数量为155,217人次。电动火车(KTM)的日均乘客数量为111,163人次,单轨列车(Monorail)的日均乘客数量为54,725人次。

    由于2015年12月发生票价大幅度涨价,导致轻快铁,电动火车和单轨列车的日均乘客数量在2016年第一季度有所下滑。事实上,虽然轻快铁至Putra Heights的路线延伸工程在2016年6月开始投入运作,这些捷运服务都还未从2016年第一季度之前恢复起来过去的每日乘客数量目标,2016年第2季至第3季度的每日乘客数量的增幅也并不显着。吉隆坡单轨列车的每日乘客量在2017年第1季度也达到四年来的新低点,部分原因是史格米集团(SCOMI)延迟将四辆单轨列车送往国家基建公司(Prasarana)。(SCOMI与Prasarana之间的争端已转交在法庭上解决)。[3]

    当初发展捷运路线工程,而非较廉宜的轻快铁路线的目的是为了提高乘搭量。虽然最初的每日乘客数量为15万人次在短期来看是个好目标,但从长期来看,捷运1号路线的乘搭量应该都要完全超过了格拉那再也线。同时,当一号路线全面投入运作后,捷运公司必须面对如何要将目前的乘客数量提高10倍,从15,000人提高到目标中的150,000人的挑战。

    2) 易搭性,可负担性和互通性

    为了提高乘搭量,捷运公司必须意识到捷运站的易搭性,票价的可负担性和与其他公交路线的互通性的重要。

    在易搭性方面,捷运公司在其附近的住宅区提供链接捷运站的巴士服务网络,可说是表现得不错。(相对于轻快铁站的接驳巴士网络而言则比较有限)。我们可从捷运官方网站下载巴士路线图,但据我所知,这些路线示意图及时间表尚未张贴在各巴士站。[4] 另外,我们也没有会显示这些巴士路线图的手机应用程序。大力推广这些信息能使更多人前往乘搭捷运。

    在可负担性方面,捷运票价与轻快铁没不太一样。从双溪毛糯到加影的无现金票价为马币5.50,而从鹅麦轻快铁站(Gombak)前往太子高原(Putra Heights)轻快铁站的无现金票价为马币5.30。陆路交通委员会尝试将捷运和轻快铁的票价一致化。但以同等汇率来看,我国的轻快铁和捷运票价比新加坡来得更贵,特别是新加坡实行综合票价后,整合了从家门口到工作地点的公共交通系统,包括巴士,捷运服务;反之,在马来西亚,我们仍必须各别为巴士,轻快铁和捷运服务支付票价。目前,许多人正在利用止于8月31日的50%优惠乘搭捷运。我认为这是一个很好的举措,来鼓励更多人在这段时间里习惯使用捷运服务。8月31日后,当票价恢复正常时,我们才会面临真正的挑战。就如日前双威快捷巴士(Sunway BRT)的乘搭量由于实行昂贵的票价而下降了60%以上,这次新捷运的乘搭量会否在优惠期结束后大幅度下降?[5] 不如就让我们拭目以待吧。

    其一种方法是,捷运公司可以通过推出费用介于在马币100至马币150之间的每月通行证,以便乘客可以更优惠地无限次乘搭捷运。世界上大多数地铁公司都有提供某种形式,能让乘客无限次乘搭的每周或每月通行证。My Rapid公司曾经为轻快铁的乘客售卖这样的通行证,但现在已经没有了。推出每月通行证的顾虑之一可能就是导致My Rapid公司的损失(待会儿会进一步地探讨这方面的内容)。

    最后,捷运系统需要与其他的铁路交通网络互通互联,以进一步地提高乘客量。针对捷运1号线,我们发现有多个车站是与电动火车(加影捷运站)链接的,与安邦轻快铁线((马鲁里,国家独立捷运站)链接的,与史里八打灵轻快铁线((国家独立捷运站)链接的,格拉那再也轻快铁线(中央市场捷运站)和中环车站(国家博物馆捷运站)。随着捷运二号线和轻快铁三号线完工后,巴生谷流域的铁路系统网络会也相继扩大,更多的车站将与捷运路线相链接。 这样的网络整合不仅提高了捷运一号线的乘客量,而且还会对其他轻快铁线路产生正面的溢出效应。唯一的负面影响可能是发生在Kajang KTM站,因为捷运MRT使用的频率远高于电动火车KTM。

    3) 经济上的可持续性

    任何有关公共交通的可持续性的讨论都必须涉及到成本问题。建造捷运一号线的费用一直都是朝野公开议论的话题。政府日前宣布,总工程成本(不包括征地和车厢)高达马币210亿,比初期预计的马币230亿成本还少了马币20亿。[6] 尽管如此,其他人对这一成本提出疑问,包括到底支付多少钱给身为项目伙伴(PDP)的MMC-Gamuda。[7]

    事实上,比较不为人知的是,作为拥有捷运资产的捷运公司并不持有涉及工程成本的债务。 一间名为Dana Infra的特殊目的工具(SPV)就通过发行债券来为捷运一号线筹募资金。截稿为止,Dana Infra已发行总额高达马币366亿的债券(我们无法得知真正用在捷运一号线的费用)。随着捷运2号线的工程即将开始,预计这一债卷数额将会有所增加。

    此举分开债务和资产所有权的目的是让捷运公司不必担心偿还借贷服务费用,即使以捷运近马币210亿令吉工程成本来计算,每年这笔借贷服务费用将达到约马币十亿。因此,捷运公司可以专注于扩大乘客量,并通过其他方式来赚取非票价收入。

    作为资产拥有者,捷运公司已与由国家基建公司所拥有的Rapid Rail有限公司签署了一项合作协议,用于经营列车和接驳巴士的服务。国家基建公司已经有丰富的经验和设施来租用和训练接驳巴士和列车司机,所以此举并无任何不妥。该协议还规定,捷运公司将会获得所有非票价的收入,而Rapid Rail将收取所有票价的收入(包括捷运及巴士费用)。

    国家基建公司(PRASARANA)的挑战是如何确保其捷运相关业务有利可图。去年,我就PRASARANA所面临的财务挑战写了一篇文章。[8] 由于其累积的债务,其收入约为5亿马币,几乎不足以弥补其融资成本。从轻快铁延伸路线到目前LRT3号路线工程,PRASARABA的借贷服务成本也随着债务的增加而进一步提高。实际上,PRASARANA能否从其捷运业务获得运营利润,还有待观察。接驳巴士的服务至少在初期是个损失的生意,反之捷运只有能够满足所订的乘客目标,才会有利可图。PRASRANA愿意亏损多久来持续经营这些业务呢?在捷运路线面临这些运营损失时,财政部又肯补贴PRASARANA多长时间呢?让我们拭目以待吧。

    与此同时,捷运公司面临着如何提高非票价收入的挑战,如车站附近的产业发展,广告和零售业务。由于捷运公司没有涉及到票价收入,所以更需要重视非票价的收入来源。捷运公司为其车厢内部,外部和列车广告对外提供了广告特许经营协议。最终,赢得户外广告协议的Big Tree Outdoor (BTO),估计能从这10年的合约创造高达3亿马币的收入。[9]

    捷运公司还通过出售四个车站的冠名权,估计每年的收入为高达1200万至1500万马币。[10]

    根据捷运公司的商业和土地管理总监Datuk Haris Fadzilah Hassan的说法,捷运公司预计每年将从零售,广告和停车收入中赚取2.22亿至2.5亿马币。根据2016财年的行政费用,该行政费用为5,300万马币,因此这是否足以使捷运公司能够支付其运营费用,仍有待商榷,。

    也许捷运公司可以通过 公共交通为导向的产业开发项目来增加收入,特别是发展沿着从双溪毛糯-沙登-布城路线的特定地区。

    4) 捷运是否能改变游戏规则?

    有人评论说这次的捷运系统是能“改变游戏规则”。至少以目前的情况来看,我并不太同意。 不可否认的是,巴生谷流域的铁路系统在过去20年里已经增加了其服务覆盖范围。在这个更广阔的铁路交通网络中,捷运的发展可被视为额外的公共交通服务路线。

    无可否认的是,与轻快铁服务相比,MRT采用新的车厢的确能提供一个更愉快的使用体验。 车站空间更大,设计更美观,许多地方更设有泊车转搭站(Park and Ride)设施,车厢空间也更宽敞。上星期六,我将车停在加影捷运站,乘搭列车前往国家博物馆,然后前往中央市场,然后再回去加影。我也看到许多捷运的接驳巴士前往我选区范围内过去被忽视的住宅区,如蕉赖十一里,敦胡先翁镇,康乐花园和武吉杜港(Bukit Dukung)等。

    或许要真正地改变游戏规则,我们还要等待捷运路线2号(或3号)的最终落实和投入。而现在,我会尽量鼓励选民善用公共交通工具,特别是捷运服务,并同时将密切监察捷运是否能够成功地克服上述的挑战。在此,我衷心地祝福他们!

    王建民博士
    沙登区国会议员

    Selfie at Kajang MRT Station Names

    Long Escalator at Muzium Negara Station

    Inside the MRT train

    Screen above passengers showing next station

    Inside the MRT train

    [1] http://www.mymrt.com.my/en/sbk/the-mrt-sungai-buloh-kajang-line

    [2] http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/the-cheat-sheet-for-klang-valleys-newest-ride-the-mrt-sbk

    [3] http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/07/11/no-end-in-sight-to-kls-monorail-woes-as-scomi-prasarana-dispute-lingers/

    [4] http://www.mymrt.com.my/en/sbk/travel-info

    [5] http://penanginstitute.org/v3/research/penang-institute-in-kuala-lumpur/the-sunway-bus-rapid-transit-brt-line-lessons-for-the-future

    [6] http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/mrt-corp-keeps-sungai-buloh-kajang-line-within-rm23b-budget

    [7] http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/mrt-corp-keeps-sungai-buloh-kajang-line-within-rm23b-budget

    [8] http://ongkianming.com/2016/08/09/press-statement-five-reasons-why-public-transportation-in-malaysia-is-more-expensive-compared-to-singapore/

    [9] https://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/09/176703/bto-led-consortium-wins-mrt-advertising-concession

    [10] http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/07/11/four-mrt-stations-along-sbk-line-to-be-branded/

  • Challenges for the MRT and public transportation in the Klang Valley

    Media Statement by Dr. Ong Kian Ming, MP for Serdang, on the 24th of July, 2017

    Challenges for the MRT and public transportation in the Klang Valley

    The full MRT line from Sungai Buloh to Kajang has been operational for a week already. After the initial fanfare and trains packed with Ministers, MRT has to now face the challenges of (i) reaching its daily ridership targets (ii) ensuring accessibility, affordability and integration and (iii) maintaining financial sustainability.

    1) Reaching its daily ridership targets

    This may seem like an obvious statement but the main challenge for the MRT is to get more and more people to use it. According to MRT, the planned capacity for the Sungai Buloh-Kajang line (Line 1) is a daily ridership of about 400,000 passengers. Each train set has four cars with a total capacity of 1200 passengers and the trains will run at a frequency of approximately 3.5 minutes.[1] More recently, this figure has been revised downwards to a ridership of 150,000 a day.[2]

    It will take some time before users get used to taking the MRT including getting to know the MRT route, the feeder bus schedules and route, how to use the MRT to connect to other forms of public transportation such as the LRT, KTM and Rapid KL buses and the stations which have car parks.

    To put the 150,000 daily ridership number in context, it is useful to compare to the daily ridership numbers for the Kelana Jaya and Ampang LRT lines (See Figure 1 below)

    The Kelana Jaya line is the busiest with a daily ridership of 218,888 in Q1 2017 followed by the Ampang line with a daily ridership of 155,217. The KTM Komuter has a daily ridership of 111,163 and the KL Monorail trails behind with a daily ridership of 54,725.

    The daily ridership of the LRT, KTM Komuter and Monorail experienced a decline in Q1 2016 due to the significant fare hike which took place in December 2015. In fact, all these rail lines have not recovered from their pre-Q1 2016 daily ridership numbers even though the LRT extension to Putra Heights started its operations in June 2016. The increase in the daily ridership numbers from Q2 2016 to Q3 2016 was hardly significant. The daily ridership of the KL Monorail reached a four year low in Q1 2017 partly due to the delay in the delivery of the four car monorail by SCOMI to Prasarana (The dispute between SCOMI and Prasarana is still tied up in the courts).[3]

    The whole point of building an MRT line rather than a less expensive LRT line is to increase the passenger capacity. While the initial targeted daily ridership of 150,000 is a good target to aim for in the short term, in the longer run, the MRT Line 1 ridership should eventually exceed that of the Kelana Jaya LRT line. In the meantime, MRT has to face the challenge to increase its daily ridership by ten-fold, from 15,000 before the line was fully operational to Kajang to the targeted 150,000 now that Line 1 is fully operational.

    2) Accessibility, Affordability and Integration

    To increase its ridership, MRT has to be aware of the need for accessibility to its stations, the need to maintain affordable fares and integration to other Rail Lines.

    In terms of accessibility, MRT has done a decent job in its feeder bus network that connects nearby housing areas to its stations. (The feeder bus network to LRT stations in comparison is far more limited). The bus routes can be downloaded from the MRT website[4] although as far as I know, the routes and the bus schedules have not been installed at the bus stops yet. There is also no MRT app which shows these bus routes. Making this information more accessible will channel more people to take the MRT.

    In terms of affordability, the price of the MRT fares is not too different from the LRT. A cashless trip from Kajang to Sungai Buloh costs RM5.50 compared to RM5.30 for a cashless trip from Gombak to Putra Heights. SPAD set the MRT fares so that they would be in line with the LRT fares. Dollar for dollar, our LRT and MRT fares are still more expensive than Singapore especially since Singapore practices integrated fares where a journey from home to work involving a bus trip and an MRT trip counts as one trip whereas in Malaysia, one has to pay separately for a bus trip, an LRT trip and an MRT trip. Many people are taking advantage of the 50% discounted fare now, which lasts until the 31st of August. I think this is a good move in that it will allow more people to get used to taking the MRT during this period. The test will come after the 31st of August when fares revert to their normal rates. Will there be a significant fall in ridership similar to what was experienced by the Sunway BRT when ridership fell by more than 60% as a result of the imposition of ridiculously expensive fares?[5] Only time will tell.

    One way in which MRT can make it more affordable is to introduce a monthly pass at a cost of between RM100 to RM150 which entitles a passenger to make unlimited trips. Most metro lines in the world have some form of weekly or monthly pass with unlimited trips. My RAPID used to offer this card for the LRT but has since been phased out. One of the challenges in introducing this monthly card may be the fear of lost revenue on the part of My RAPID (more on this below).

    Finally, the MRT needs to be integrated with other forms of rail transportation in order to increase its ridership. For Line 1, there are numerous stations which connect to the KTM (Kajang MRT), to the Ampang LRT Line (Maluri MRT, Merdeka MRT), to the Sri Petaling LRT Line (Merdeka MRT), to the Kelana Jaya LRT Line (Pasar Seni MRT) and to KL Sentral (Muzium Negara MRT). As the rail network in the Klang Valley expands after the MRT Line 2 and the LRT Line 3 are built, more stations will be integrated with the MRT lines. This kind of integration not only increases ridership on MRT Line 1 but will also have a positive spillover effect on the other LRT lines. The only negative effect may be for some of the KTM stations such as Kajang since the frequency of trains for the MRT is much higher than the KTM Komuter.

    3) Financial sustainability

    Any discussion on the sustainability of public transportation has to involve the question of cost. The cost of constructing the MRT Line 1 has been the subject of public debate. The government announced that the total construction cost (not including land acquisition and the rolling stock i.e. the trains) was RM21 billion, two billion lower than the initially projected cost of RM23 billion.[6] Others have disputed this cost including how much was paid to MMC-Gamuda, the project delivery partner (PDP).[7]

    What is less well-known and less debated is the fact that MRT Corp, which is the asset owner of the MRT line, does not own the debt associated with the cost of construction. A Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) called Dana Infra have issued bonds to finance the MRT Line 1. At the time of writing, Dana Infra has issued a total of RM36.9 billion in bonds (We don’t have a breakdown of how much of this was spent on MRT Line 1). This amount is projected to increase as the construction of Line 2 begins.

    The advantage of the separation of debt and asset ownership is that MRT Corp does not have to worry about the debt servicing costs, which even based on the construction cost of RM21 billion, will amount to approximately RM1 billion a year. This way, MRT can focus on expanding its ridership and earning non-fare revenue through other means.

    As the asset owner, MRT has signed an agreement with Rapid Rail Sdn Bhd, which is owned by PRASARANA, to operate and run the train and feeder bus services. PRASARANA already has the experience and the facilities to hire and train both bus and train drivers so it makes sense for the operations to be given to Rapid KL. The agreement between MRT and Rapid Rail also states that MRT will receive all non-fare revenue while Rapid Rail will collect all fare revenue (MRT fare as well as feeder bus fare).

    The challenge for PRASARANA is to ensure that its MRT related operations are profitable. I had written last year regarding the financial challenges facing PRASARANA.[8] Because of its high accumulated debt, its revenue of roughly half a billion RM was barely sufficient to cover its financing costs. With the increase in PRASARANA’s debt from the LRT extension and from the ongoing construction of the LRT 3 line, its debt servicing cost will definitely increase. It remains to be seen if PRASARANA can earn an operational profit from its MRT operations. The feeder bus network is likely to be loss making, at least initially, while the train operations will only be profitable if the ridership targets can be met. How long will PRASRANA be willing to run these operations at a loss? How long will the Ministry of Finance subsidize PRASARANA while it is running up these operational losses for the MRT line? We have to wait and see.

    In the meantime, MRT faces the challenge of raising its income through non-fare revenue strategies such as property development around its stations, advertising and retail. Since MRT has no fare related revenue, this has put more emphasis on the need to look for non-fare revenue sources. MRT opened up advertising concession agreements for its interior, outdoor and train advertising packages. Big Tree Outdoor (BTO) which won the outdoor advertising concession, estimates that as much as RM300 million can be generated from this 10-year contract.[9]

    MRT has also sold station naming rights at four of its stations which costs RM1.2 to RM1.5 million a year.[10]

    According to MRT’s commercial and land management director, Datuk Haris Fadzilah Hassan, MRT Corp is expecting to earn between RM22 million and RM25 million from retail, advertising and parking revenue annually. Whether or not this is sufficient for MRT to cover its operational expenses remains to be seen especially since its administrative expenses for the Financial Year 2016 totalled RM53 million.

    Perhaps, MRT can supplement its income via transit oriented property development, especially in selected locations along the MRT Line 2 which runs from Sungai Buloh through Serdang and all the way to Putrajaya.

    4) Is MRT a game-changer?

    Some people have commented that MRT is a ‘game-changer’. I don’t quite agree, at least for now. There is no denying that the rail system in the Klang Valley has increased its area of coverage over the past 20 years. The introduction of the MRT should be seen as an additional rail service in this larger rail network.

    This is not to deny that taking the new MRT trains is a much more pleasant experience compared to the LRT. The stations are larger and better designed, there are more Park & Ride facilities available and the trains are wider. On Saturday, I parked at the Kajang MRT and took the train to Muzium Negara and then to Pasar Seni before going back to Kajang. I have also seen many of the MRT feeder buses going to previously unserved housing areas in my parliamentary constituency to connect passengers to the Cheras Batu 11, the BTHO, the Taman Connaught and the Bukit Dukung MRT stations, just to name a few.

    Perhaps the MRT can be called a game-changer when Line 2 (and perhaps Line 3) has been built and opened. But for now, I will do my part in encouraging the voters in my constituency to use public transportation especially the MRT and at the same time, monitor closely to see if MRT can successfully face the challenges I’ve posed in this statement. I wish them nothing but the best!

    Dr. Ong Kian Ming
    Member of Parliament for Serdang

    Selfie at Kajang MRT Station Names

    Long Escalator at Muzium Negara Station

    Inside the MRT train

    Screen above passengers showing next station

    Inside the MRT train

    [1] http://www.mymrt.com.my/en/sbk/the-mrt-sungai-buloh-kajang-line

    [2] http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/the-cheat-sheet-for-klang-valleys-newest-ride-the-mrt-sbk

    [3] http://www.freemalaysiatoday.com/category/nation/2017/07/11/no-end-in-sight-to-kls-monorail-woes-as-scomi-prasarana-dispute-lingers/

    [4] http://www.mymrt.com.my/en/sbk/travel-info

    [5] http://penanginstitute.org/v3/research/penang-institute-in-kuala-lumpur/the-sunway-bus-rapid-transit-brt-line-lessons-for-the-future

    [6] http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/mrt-corp-keeps-sungai-buloh-kajang-line-within-rm23b-budget

    [7] http://www.themalaymailonline.com/malaysia/article/mrt-corp-keeps-sungai-buloh-kajang-line-within-rm23b-budget

    [8] http://ongkianming.com/2016/08/09/press-statement-five-reasons-why-public-transportation-in-malaysia-is-more-expensive-compared-to-singapore/

    [9] https://www.nst.com.my/news/2016/09/176703/bto-led-consortium-wins-mrt-advertising-concession

    [10] http://www.thestar.com.my/business/business-news/2017/07/11/four-mrt-stations-along-sbk-line-to-be-branded/

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