PETALING JAYA: The fare increase for Express Rail Link (ERL) passengers' one-way trips to Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) was in order to keep the company sustainable, claimed the company running it.
Express Rail Link Shn Bhd said that the RM20 increase on one-way tickets between KL Sentral and KLIA/KLIA2 was needed as it faced increasing costs.
“The fare revision announced yesterday was necessary to ensure that it (ERL) remains sustainable in the face of rising operating costs,” said the company.
It said that shareholders injected an additional RM72mil in new capital into the company in July.
“The ERL project was implemented at the cost of RM2.4 billion, and the company has been suffering losses over the years accumulating to RM671.7 million,” it added.
In order to cater to its growing customer base, the company said that it had invested in new systems and train sets, which it expects to be progressively delivered, starting from May 2016.
Deputy Transport Minister Datuk Abdul Aziz Kaprawi said the fare hike was part of a cost rationalisation plan on the part of Express Rail Link (ERL), which operates the line that runs from KL Sentral to KLIA and KLIA2.
“The Government agreed to allow the price increase after 14 years, because ERL’s previous applications to revise prices as per the contract agreement, were not approved by the Government.
“They were making a loss all this while, and after 14 years, operational costs have also gone up,” Aziz told reporters at the Dewan Rakyat on Wednesday.
Asked why the fares were not increased in stages, the deputy minister said that ERL had been able to justify its operational costs, which had doubled in recent years.
He said the price increase, from the current RM35 (KL Sentral - KLIA) to RM55 for a one-way journey, did not necessarily apply to all consumers as there were travel cards which offered discounts up to 40%.
He also said the published price of RM55 was meant primarily for foreigners and non-frequent users.
“If you want cheaper, for example, there are three travel card packages offered by ERL with up to 40% discounts from the published price,” he said.
Asked if the ministry would ask ERL to revise its decision, Aziz said the matter needed to be referred to the Land Public Transport Commission (Spad).