Bringing KTMB up to speed

  • Business
  • Saturday, 02 Aug 2014

BESIDES the high-speed rail, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) is looking at improving the service level of KTM Bhd in its bid to revive the performance of the pioneer rail operator in the country.

According to SPAD chief executive Mohamad Nur Ismal Kamal, KTMB has just finished a lab session together with the Performance Management and Delivery Unit, a unit under the Prime Minister’s Department, and other stakeholders to transform the rail operator.

“KTMB is facing a steady cycle of decline where the fare structure does not help much to cover its maintenance cost. The Government has been pouring a lot of money into it but it is not fully reflected in terms of productivity,” he tells StarBizWeek.

Mohamad Nur says there is a need to reset KTMB,

“All the key stakeholders are in the lab session and we have identified things that need to be done in the medium and long-term. We will now present our proposals to the Government for approval,” he says.

KTMB operates inter-city services from the north to the south of Peninsular Malaysia. The rail operator also runs the electric train service from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh as well as the Klang-Kuala Lumpur-Seremban Komuter train service. It is also the main operator that carries cargoes on rail.

KTMB suffered a loss of RM275mil in 2012, while its cumulative losses came up to a staggering RM900mil in the same year.

The Government has reportedly invested RM35bil to improve KTMB’s infrastructure that includes the Ipoh-Padang Besar and Gemas-Johor Baru double-tracking projects.

Commenting on the service level of KTM Komuter, Mohamad Nur admits it has made great strides since it first started operations in 2009.

“The availability has improved to every 15 minutes, but it has yet to live up to the amount of money that we have invested in it.

“We need to do a lot more to uplift the KTM Komuter service level to a metro standard where the train interval must be at least every five minutes during peak hours.

“We are looking at lifting KTM Komuter’s service level to be on par with the light rail transit services operated by Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd,” he says.

Apart from this, it has also been reported that there might be a RM400mil tender to refurbish KTMB railway stations and tracks this year.

According to the news report, Pemandu has approved a plan to refurbish 13 stations and 300km of tracks between Gemas, Negri Sembilan, and Gua Musang, Kelantan.

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