PETALING JAYA (THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK) - The first phase of the MRT in Greater Kuala Lumpur will be opened on Friday (Dec 16).
The first MRT line in Malaysia will have 12 stations and travel between Sungai Buloh in Selangor into the residential areas of Bandar Utama and Damansara. Greater KL is currently served by an extensive LRT system and KTM's Komuter line.
The new line is part of the government's push for more rail transport links in the city's most populous districts.
However, the first phase of the MRT line is not expected to be heavily used for the moment, said Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) Corporation strategic communications and stakeholder relations director Datuk Najmuddin Abdullah .
He said this was partly because, at present, the KTM Komuter at Sungai Buloh is the only connection to the new line under Phase 1. "The line does not connect to other rail-based services and it does not come into the city centre," he said on Saturday (Dec 10).
Once the entire line is fully operational, however, it will serve some 400,000 passengers.
The 12 stations on the line are Sungai Buloh, Kampung Selamat, Kwasa Damansara, Kwasa Sentral, Kota Damansara, Surian, Mutiara Damansara, Bandar Utama, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Phileo Damansara, Pusat Bandar Damansara and Semantan.
The 23km-long alignment is expected to be launched by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak who took a preview ride on the train with several bloggers and social activists on Friday (Dec 9).
When the MRT's Phase Two - which stretches for another 19 stations to the town of Kajang - is completed, its operations would begin to serve the estimated 1.2 million people living along that that corridor.
"This means they will have easy access to the line. We expect around 400,000 passengers to use it (daily) when it is fully operational," he said.
The line is expected to help reduce the number of cars from the roads, especially for residents commuting in areas such as Sungai Buloh, Kota Damansara, Bandar Utama, Cheras and Kajang and those working in the city centre.
"The capacity of the line is 20,000 passengers per hour per direction. Each MRT train, which has four coaches, can carry 1,200 people," he said.
"During peak hours, the frequency of trains is one every 3.5 minutes," said Najmuddin.
At present, driving from Sungai Buloh to Phileo Damansara during the morning rush hour can take up to 90 minutes.
Commuters using the MRT will be able to travel from as low as RM1 (S$0.32) for a single stop based on the cashless fare structure.
Rapid Rail Sdn Bhd said the maximum fare will be RM6.40 based on the cash fare structure and RM5.50 based on the cashless fare structure.
Some 120 feeder buses will also be deployed on 26 routes to service the 12 stations between Sungai Buloh and Semantan that make up the first phase of the MRT line.