SUNGAI BULOH: The much-awaited Klang Valley MRT has kicked off, providing fast and efficient public transport to city folks at RM2bil less than the targeted cost.
Adding to the good news is that the public can enjoy a month of free rides on all the trains and feeder buses along Phase One of the Sg Buloh-Kajang (SBK) MRT Line.
From 6am today, 24 trains – each comprising four carriages that are able to carry 1,200 passengers – will ferry commuters to 12 stations located between Sungai Buloh and Semantan.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak said the project, which took five years to build, was not just completed on time but below budget at a cost of about RM21bil, RM2bil less than the initial target of RM23bil.
“As a New Year gift to the rakyat and to give everyone an opportunity to try out this new, modern and efficient mode of public transport, I hereby announce that Rapid Rail will give free MRT service from tomorrow (Friday) for one month, including the feeder bus services.
“Fares will only be implemented from Jan 17,” said Najib.
Also present at the ceremony were Transport Minister Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai, Second Finance Minister Datuk Johari Abdul Ghani and Chief Secretary to the Government and MRT Corp chairman Tan Sri Dr Ali Hamsa.
Nepal Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara also attended the ceremony as a guest of Pemandu chief executive officer Datuk Seri Idris Jala.
Najib said that according to estimates, there could be about 400,000 fewer cars on the roads once Phase Two of the project was completed.
Phase Two of the SBK Line is scheduled to be operational by July 2017 with 19 more stations between Semantan and Kajang.
Improving public transportation, said Najib, would help ease congestion and enable urbanites to enjoy a better quality of life.
With the MRT, he said it would only take about 30 minutes to travel between Sungai Buloh and Semantan, while the trip from Sungai Buloh to Kajang under Phase Two would only take about an hour.
“This is an iconic project that we have all dreamed about for so long and today, that dream has become a reality that we can be proud of,” he said.
Najib said Malaysian companies involved in the development of the MRT could now compete for similar projects anywhere in the world due to the experience gained.
“Do not see this project just in terms of public transportation but also in terms of job creation, productivity increment and creating an image of Malaysia as a modern, progressive nation moving forward,” he said.
Bumiputra companies, added Najib, had also benefited from the MRT, achieving the target of an average 43% in the projects awarded to them.
“I have also made sure that we give out contracts fairly to retailers operating shops at the MRT stations so that this reflects the participation of all communities.”
Did you find this article insightful?