PETALING JAYA • The RM8 billion (S$2.7 billion) extension of two LRT lines serving downtown Kuala Lumpur and the Greater KL districts has been completed with the opening of 25 new stations this week, giving public transportation a boost.
The Light Rail Transit (LRT) system run by Rapid Rail has 85 stations now, including the KL Monorail line, according to its website. The network is the main rail system serving the capital and its suburbs.
The new RM22 billion MRT system, expected to be ready by next year, will add 68 more stations and cover a wider area.
The capital and Greater KL - also called Klang Valley - with a total population of some seven million people is also served by inter-city KTM Komuter lines.
"If we can create an efficient public transport system, the GDP will then increase by 2 per cent," said Prime Minister Najib Razak at the launch of the extension line at a key station in Putra Heights, Subang Jaya township, on Thursday.
The new LRT phase began operations on Wednesday. The new stations are expected to get more people to use the LRT to go downtown and help ease traffic jams in suburban areas such as Bandar Kinrara, Puchong and Subang Jaya.
Cash fares on the Rapid Rail network are from 80 sen to RM11.20, with discounts given to those who use stored-value cards like Touch 'n Go.
The Land Public Transport Commission (Spad), Malaysia's land transport authority, said the opening of the 35km extension is a major milestone to turn Greater KL into a world-class city.
Spad chief executive officer Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah said: "With this in place, we are confident that we will get closer to increasing our public transport modal share from the current 20 per cent for urban public transport towards the targeted 40 per cent... by 2030."
Datuk Seri Najib, at the launch ceremony, could not resist attacking former premier Mahathir Mohamad, a harsh critic of the Najib administration which pumped in billions of ringgit to promote Malaysia's national cars under the Proton and Perodua brands.
"One of the challenges we face is that of our transport system and this is because my predecessor, who ruled for 22 years, did not pay attention to public transport.
"And because of that, we face under-investment in the sector and an unintegrated system that was owned by many parties, rendering the transport system unable to support the needs of a town and resulting in massive traffic jams," Mr Najib said.
THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK