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Thursday December 31, 2009

Four-star ride on LRT with longer coaches

PETALING JAYA: Commuters using the Kelana Jaya LRT line can now expect more comfortable rides — three new four-coach trains are now in service.

Each of the new trains can take 800 passengers comfortably, and a maximum 950 passengers in “crush mode”, and will bring relief to the line which has been running above capacity.

Currently, 35 two-coach trains carry about 170,000 passengers daily.

Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd group managing director Datuk Idrose Mohamed said 35 four-coach trains, costing a total of RM1.5bil, had been ordered.

“The remaining trains will be delivered in stages until April 2011,” he told reporters during a briefing session at the RapidKL headquarters in Lembah Subang here yesterday.

Idrose said the trains were the newest version of Canadian company Bombardier Transportation’s Advanced Rapid Transit Mark II driverless trains.

They were designed in Canada and assembled in Mexico and Malaysia. He said about 35% of the assembly work was carried out in Malaysia.

Besides carrying more passengers, the new trains have additional features like a special area for wheelchair-bound passengers, alarm lights for the benefit of the hearing-impaired and flip windows for emergencies.

He said the current fleet of two-car trains would still be in use but would be refurbished progressively.

As for the the Ampang line, Idrose said there was no need for new trains at the moment because it still had spare capacity of 30%.

Prasarana infrastructure division group director Zulkifli Mohd Yusoff said that with the new trains, there should be less service disruption as a better signalling system has been put in place.

“The old trains were bought in 1998.

“These new trains use better technology and passengers can enjoy better ride quality, better seating arrangement and less disruption,” he said.

The first batch of passengers on the four-coach train were all smiles yesterday.

College students Sacha Wong and Wen Lian, both 18, said the line’s capacity should have been increased a long time ago.

“I find the LRT service quite efficient.

“The only setback is that it is too crowded during peak hours and I am glad this has finally been addressed,” said Wong.

Jackie Khoo, 77, who was heading to KL Sentral and then Seremban with wife Alison, 75, said the other train services should emulate Prasarana as they were also suffering from overcrowding.

“I hope they can do the same for KTM Komuter,” he said.

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