A boon for commuters

KUALA LUMPUR: The My30 unlimited travel pass will continue into 2021 and will also be expanded beyond the Klang Valley to Penang and Kuantan.

In the Budget 2021 announcement yesterday, an allocation of RM300mil will allow commuters unlimited use of bus and rail services provided by Prasarana Malaysia Bhd (under the Rapid brand) as well as KTMB for only RM30 a month.

My30 was first announced in June 15 to recover lost ridership in the Klang Valley following the severe impact brought on by the Covid-19 pandemic and was supposed to run until Dec 31 this year.

At the moment, Prasarana has an unlimited travel pass in Penang branded as Mutiara Pass that costs RM50 a month.

Pensioner Joseph Cheah, 62, who has a car, regularly uses his Mutiara Pass to board the bus from Tanjung Bungah to Campbell Street in George Town.

“If only there were rail transit in Penang, then the My30 pass will really be worth it,” he said, adding that he is nonetheless happy to hear that Penang will get the My30 pass soon.

“It costs me less than RM1 to get to Campbell Street by bus. If I drive, I would be spending several ringgit in parking and petrol.

“This sounds like a small amount for others but it is something important to me,” he added.

Another piece of good news for rail users was the announcement of a new unlimited travel pass that costs only RM5 a month for students from Year One until Form Six, as well as for those who are disabled.

This pass is valid for KTMB services in the Klang Valley as well as the Komuter Utara service in the northern region of Peninsular Malaysia.

Komuter Utara consists of two routes: the Butterworth-Padang Besar route and the Bukit Mertajam-Padang Rengas route.

Students living along the KTMB’s East Coast Line in Pahang and Kelantan will also benefit from this RM5 pass if they need to travel anywhere along the network between Kuala Lipis and Tumpat.

This RM5 monthly pass also serves those living along the sole railway line in Sabah operated by the state railway, with the pass valid for travel between Beaufort and Tenom in the Interior Division.

The upgrading of stage bus services will also continue via the Stage Bus Transformation Programme (SBTP) that has so far been rolled out in Kangar, Seremban, Ipoh and Kuala Terengganu.

In yesterday’s announcement, SBTP will be expanded to operators in Johor Baru, Kuching, Kota Kinabalu and Kuantan with an allocation of RM150mil.

Another benefit for bus operators is the extension of sales tax for locally built buses from Jan 1, 2021 to Dec 31, 2022.

Datuk Ubull Din Om, managing director of Gamuda Engineering, lauded the decision to proceed with MRT3.

“Given our extensive experience having delivered MRT1 and the work we are doing on the MRT2 which is on track to be operational by mid-2022, MMC-Gamuda stands ready to assist the government and Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd to accelerate the implementation of MRT3, so it can have the maximum impact for job creation and economic stimulus as early as Q3 2021,” he said in a statement.

Ubull said the entire construction industry would be uplifted by this news, as the MRT value and supply chain covers over 1,800 enterprises and would provide at least 35,000 local jobs to Malaysians throughout the project.

“The multiplier effects on the economy would be substantial. Not only is MRT3 a mega infrastructure project for economic stimulus, but it also is a stand-out ESG (environmental, social and governance) project as its implementation would complete the Klang Valley’s existing public transport network which would enable the government’s vision for a 40% public transport modal share.

Other major infrastructure projects that will continue include the Pan Borneo Highway Sabah, the (ongoing) double-tracking and electrification of the KTMB single-line track from Gemas to Johor Baru, the completion of the first phase of the rehabilitation of the Klang Valley Double Track (KVDT1), the Johor Baru-Woodlands Rapid Transit System, and the MRT3 (or Circle Line of the Klang Valley MRT).

“In principle, the government desires to proceed with the (Kuala Lumpur-Singapore) high-speed rail (HSR) project as the project is expected to have a huge positive multiplier effect for the economy, though this is subject to negotiations with Singapore,” said Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz.

He added that seven projects worth RM3.8bil will also be rolled out.

These are phase 2 of the Third Klang Bridge in Selangor, the continuation of the Central Spine Road in a new alignment in Kelantan and Pahang, upgrading of the bridge across Sungai Marang, Terengganu, upgrading of the federal road Route 4 between Gerik, Perak and Kulim, Kedah, the continuation of Phase 3 of the upgrading of the Pulau Indah ring road in Selangor, construction of the Serusop-Pituru package of the Pan-Borneo Highway Sabah, and the environmentally sensitive construction of a bypass in Cameron Highlands.

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