Prasarana Malaysia Bhd is buying 27 new light rail transit trains costing RM1.7bil from Bombardier Transportation and its local partner Hartasuma Sdn Bhd, which are currently being manufactured in Plattsburgh, USA by the Canadian company.
Its chairman Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman said the new four-coach trains would be acquired in stages by 2023, replacing the trains that were already in service for over 20 years.
“The new trains are meant to accommodate the increase in ridership as we expect an annual increase of 5% to 7%.
“We hope that with the new trains, the arrival frequency can be reduced from three to 2.5 minutes, ” he said, adding that Prasarana currently operated 74 four-coach trains and 35 two-coach trains.
The four-coach and two-coach trains can accommodate about 700 and 240 passengers respectively.
Despite some 40% drop in passengers when the movement control order (MCO) started on March 18, Tajuddin is optimistic that ridership will pick up in two months.
“We are confident that public transport use will increase again post-MCO, ” he said, adding that Prasarana recorded RM59mil in profits in 2019, an increase from the RM21mil in the preceding year.
Its busiest line — the Kelana Jaya line that connects Gombak to Putra Heights — accommodated an average of 300,000 passengers daily before the MCO.
Tajuddin said service duration of trains spanned 30 years and the trains underwent regular maintenance.
“The trains are checked monthly and refurbished after 15 years to maximise their lifespan, ” he told reporters after a work visit to Kompleks Rapid Rail Subang in Petaling Jaya, Selangor.
Tajuddin also said the ongoing construction of new Prasarana’s headquarters in Lembah Subang would be reviewed.
“I will discuss the matter with the management as it is unsuitable to have the headquarters located so far away from the capital city.
“We will still ensure the ongoing project will be completed but we will identify a different use for it, ” he said.
On another matter, Tajuddin said plans were in the pipeline to send Prasarana employees for training with Bombardier.
“We cannot depend on foreign suppliers for technological components and equipment indefinitely.
“It is time that we produce these technologies locally, ” said Tajuddin.
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