KUALA LUMPUR - Malaysia is looking to price the new high-speed rail (HSR) service linking Kuala Lumpur to Singapore at under RM400 (S$148) for a round trip ticket, according to a report citing the country's Land Public Transport Commission.
Malaysia's Business Times newspaper cited its Land Public Transport Commission chief executive Mohd Nur Ismal Mohamed Kamal as saying that tickets would be priced affordably to accommodate all market segments, including business and leisure travellers.
"We foresee a much lower average price to make the HSR project feasible. It would cost less than RM200 for a single trip. Although the return on investment will take a longer time, the operator will have several options to recoup its investment in the project," Mr Mohd Nur Ismal was quoted as saying in the business pullout of the News Straits Times.
The planned high-speed rail from Jurong East in Singapore to the Malaysian capital Kuala Lumpur is expected to shorten travel time to as little as 90 minutes. There will be seven stops in Malaysia and the 340km line is estimated to cost RM40 billion to build.
There had previously been speculation that the Malaysian round trip ticket could cost around RM600 and RM800.
"The company will be allowed to take on yield management similar to how an airline operates. This is one area we are looking at and it will not be strictly regulated like our LRT (light rail transit) and train services."
Transport industry players The Straits Times spoke to on Monday had estimated that commuters in Singapore may pay between S$80 and S$90 a trip - although the pricing system may be similar to that of airlines, where fares change daily depending on demand.
In comparison, the price of a standard full-fare HSR ticket from Taipei to Kaohsiung - a distance of about 345km - is NT$1,630 (S$70).
Currently, people travelling from Singapore to KL pay between S$25 and S$50 for a five-hour bus ride, about S$80 for a 45-minute budget flight, and about S$250 for a full-service flight.
For Malaysia, the terminus will be in the area of Bandar Malaysia, about 3km from the financial district. Singapore announced on Monday that its terminus will be located at the site of the Jurong Country Club in Jurong East.
Mr Mohd Nur Ismal said he expected the HSR to give a massive boost to the local tourism industry. "It would allow tourists to visit both Malaysia and Singapore as one package," he said.