No news on free MRT rides yet

PUTRAJAYA: Public transport users hoping for free train rides in conjunction with the opening of Phase 2 of the Putrajaya MRT line on Thursday will have to wait until that morning to know whether their wish will be fulfilled as the gesture may cost more than RM160mil.

“This matter is under the purview of the Prime Minister, you’ll have to wait,” said Datuk Mohd Zarif Mohd Hashim, CEO of Mass Rapid Transit Corporation Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp), the MRT asset owner, in a media preview of the line at the Putrajaya Sentral MRT station here.

System-wide free rides have been the norm with the MRT, beginning with week-long free rides when the Kajang Line opened in full in July 2017.

Check points: The media members looking at the route board, as they rode along with Mohd Zarif (below) during the preview of the Putrajaya MRT line.Check points: The media members looking at the route board, as they rode along with Mohd Zarif (below) during the preview of the Putrajaya MRT line.

In June 2022, the government gave free rides on trains and buses operated by Prasarana Malaysia Bhd, along with KTM Komuter trains in the Klang Valley, for a month to mark the Phase 1 opening of the Putrajaya line from Kwasa Damansara to Kampung Batu.

The then prime minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob said the free rides would cost the government some RM155mil, with RM140mil for Prasarana’s RapidKL services and RM15mil for KTMB.

During the preview of the Phase 2 segment of the line yesterday, the media was shown the features of the Hospital Kuala Lumpur underground station, which is characterised by wide walkways, generous provision of walkalators, and properly built ramps for wheelchair users.

The new trains are also well designed, and they feature emergency ventilation through hopper windows that can be easily opened by users in the event of a power failure in the train.

Another welcome feature is the removal of the underseat ambient lights seen on the Kajang MRT trainsets that cast a glare at passengers seated on the opposite side of the train car.

However, much work remains to be done at the Putrajaya Sentral transport terminal, which is not under the jurisdiction of MRT Corp.

A quick check by The Star found no signage at the terminal directing commuters towards the MRT station, even though Putrajaya Sentral will soon be a very important touch point for commuters and tourists who are on the way to KLIA or KLIA2, or those trying to reach the city from the airports.

The Putrajaya MRT provides a highly affordable way for the budget-conscious to reach the airport, with cash fare from the city to the MRT station that is almost adjacent to the ERL station costing only a few ringgit, depending on where one enters the MRT/LRT network.

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