PETALING JAYA: More folks are opting for KTMB’s electric train service (ETS) than road travel, especially for trips to the north, this Hari Raya.
To Nur Adibah Mohd Amin, 25, a Master’s student, ETS is “fast, easy and safe”.
“The journey is more relaxed, too. My friends and family are also taking ETS to avoid the jams and fatigue from the long drive,” she said.
Using her KTMB I-Card Student, Nur Adibah said she only spent RM44 for her return ticket to Ipoh after a 30% discount.
Nordiyana Zaldi, 25, a university student in Kuala Lumpur, said she used to travel by bus back to Ipoh.
“Now, I find it easier to take ETS and there’s no jam. It takes only two-and-a-half hours,” she said.
KTMB confirmed that more than 92,500 or 52.1% of ETS tickets for the Gemas, Kuala Lumpur, Butterworth and Padang Besar sectors are sold for June 18 to July 3.
“Before Hari Raya, we see a pattern of more demand for ETS trips to the north,” said a KTMB official, adding that the ETS intercity service for the Johor Baru-Tumpat and Johor Baru-Gemas sector, 43% or more than 8,200 tickets were sold.
Transnasional Express business operations head Mohd Kamal Muda said there was a 10% dip in ridership for this Hari Raya Aidilfitri compared with the same period last year.
“This is due to competition from KTMB’s ETS trains and airlines, which have also increased the frequency of their services,” he said yesterday.
He said about 80% of tickets for its long-distance routes such as to the east coast and northern states were already snapped up, with peak days stretching from a week before Hari Raya until July 7.
“We have increased the number of balik kampung trips with 220 buses,” he said.
Transnasional is one of the biggest express bus companies in Peninsular Malaysia.
In a recent interview, Pan Malaysia Bus Operators Association president Datuk Ashfar Ali said its members had complained of an average 20% to 30% drop in passengers.
He said although ETS tickets are costlier than bus fares, bus operators have been losing north-bound passengers due to logistic reasons because train stations such as those in Ipoh are more strategically located within the city.
For this festive season, Ashfar said the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has allowed bus companies to charge 10% more for bus fares and assured passengers that its members would ramp up travel safety this year with pre-trip checks by SPAD and the Road Transport Department.