MALAYSIA’S first elevated Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system is currently under construction in the bustling Sunway area in Subang Jaya.
A public-private partnership between Sunway Berhad and Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad (Prasarana), the project aims to improve the connectivity of Bandar Sunway as a social, education and business hub.
BRT is a transit system that utilises dedicated busways, with modern and universal access stations, integrated pedestrian access, rapid boarding and high service frequency.
Although it is a relatively new concept introduced in Malaysia, it has been successfully implemented in many cities such as Bogota (Colombia), Adelaide (Australia) and Xiamen (China), with the mutual aim towards improving public transport accessibility.
The BRT Sunway Line is designed to enhance travel convenience and mobility for residents in the area, making travelling via public transportation a breeze as it connects them to the key areas within Bandar Sunway such as hospital, commercial areas, shopping centres and universities.
The alignment runs from the KTMB Setia Jaya commuter station and ends at USJ 6, where the future Kelana Jaya (KLJ) LRT extension station will be located.
Construction for the BRT Sunway Line began in March 2013 and is expected to be completed in the second quarter of 2015.
The BRT project executive vice-president Mohamed Ibrahim Packeer Mohamed said the BRT Sunway Line project was already in the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) masterplan and was part of the National Key Result Areas’ scope to improve public transportation.
The idea, he said, was to create an integrated, modern and convenient transport solution for the people of Sunway and Subang Jaya.
“The Sunway BRT project is all about integrating the existing and upcoming public transport network, that includes KTM Komuter and the LRT extension, to improve mobility and reduce dependency on private vehicles.
“Once operational, it will serve more than half a million people,” he said.
In line with the Government’s aspiration towards improving the public transportation network, integration between the different systems is the key that will enhance the public’s accessibility.
This is how BRT Sunway Line will complement the existing KTM Komuter network and the upcoming LRT extension line, by providing the linkage to various forms of public transports.
“Nowadays, people have the option of driving to KL International Airport (KLIA) or take the ERL from KL Sentral if they are travelling to the airport, but this may not be the most convenient option.
“With the Sunway BRT Line, a Bandar Sunway resident has a convenient alternative to park his car at the Park and Ride BRT Station, hop on the BRT and head towards the Setia Jaya commuter station or the KLJ LRT to KL Sentral before taking the ERL to the airport,” Mohamed Ibrahim said.
Travelling will also be a breeze he said, since the BRT that runs on electric buses are on time at five minutes apart between each bus and traffic congestion will not be a problem, as the BRT will have dedicated and elevated busways that will operate independently from the traffic at road level.
The BRT Sunway line will have seven stations that include a Park- and-Ride Station with 1,150 parking bays for commuters, that will also serve as a depot.
All stations will also have universal access facilities, providing convenience to the public from all walks of life, including people with disabilities.
Such facilities include tactiles for the blind, ramps as well as low ticket counters. Feeder bus services will also be provided for the convenience of the communities residing nearby the BRT Sunway Line alignment.
Commenting on the design of the stations, Ibrahim said: “The stations have a modern look that is similar to LRT stations to attract the younger crowd. We hope this will help to change their perception so that they feel public transport is comfortable and convenient for everyone.”
The design for the electric buses is unique, as the front mimics the look of a tram while the body is that of a bus.
“The bus is powered by battery cells and operated by a driver. There are no emissions and it is very quiet. This supports the national Green Technology Policy and contributes towards improving the environmental condition of the surrounding communities, added Mohamed Ibrahim.
To ensure the safety of the commuters after alighting from the buses, there will be pedestrian bridges to cross from one platform to the other.
Apart from comfort, safety and security are equally important aspects that are included in the design and construction of the stations.
“The stations will be equipped with closed-circuit TV cameras (CCTV) at the stations as well as the pedestrian bridges,” said Mohamed Ibrahim, adding that the buses would also be fitted with CCTV units.
Currently approaching the halfway mark in terms of its progress, the project team is working hard to ensure that the BRT Sunway Line project is carried out in a systematic manner while applying the best construction practices.
Mohamed Ibrahim also remarked that early engagement with the stakeholders and nearby communities has certainly helped towards building their support and understanding on the project.
“The construction is running smoothly and is nearly 46% complete. Through regular engagement with the residents, we look for innovative solutions to resolve the residents’ concerns and ease their discomfort during the construction period.
“At the end of the day, this project will be the game changer that will contribute towards reducing traffic congestion and improve travel convenience, especially in a densely populated area such as Bandar Sunway, which we hope will ultimately improve the quality of life for the communities along the alignment,” he added.