Friday, July 1, 2022

MRT extension to Rawang, a ticket out of traffic jams in the Klang Valley?

But extending the MRT line to Rawang would require studies on travel demand to determine the extent of the route alignment and station location.

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For five years, Aliza Shah Muhammad Shah travelled from her home in Rawang to the capital city nearly every day.

This gave her ample time to get used to the bad traffic – and to try out different ways of getting to work and back.

She tried taking the nearest public transport to her home – the Rawang commuter station – but found this less efficient than she would have liked.

“The Rawang KTM station is only a five-minute drive away from my house, but the KTM service has scheduling problems, unlike the MRT or LRT which come at closer frequencies,” she said.

Aliza, who now works in Petaling Jaya, also tried taking the MRT from the Sungai Buloh station, but the trip from her home to the station took half an hour.

“When I sat down and counted, the MRT fare and the parking fee was more than it would have cost for me to drive to work,” she said.

“It also took a lot longer than it would have by car.”

Rawang, a city to the north of the Klang Valley, has long struggled with traffic problems, especially in front of the Seri Garing school.

It has two KTM stations: Rawang and Kuang. Both are located along the Rawang-Seremban line.

According to the 2014 consensus, Rawang, which has a land size of 1,065.7 sq km, has just under 200,000 residents.

It is linked to the Klang Valley by the New Klang Valley Expressway or NKVE and the Rawang Bypass which connects with Jalan Kuching in Kuala Lumpur.

Jalan Kuching itself is notorious in the capital city for traffic congestion.

The situation has given rise to suggestions for an extension of the MRT or LRT lines to Rawang to ease congestion on the roads for those working in Kuala Lumpur.

The closest terminal station for the MRT in Rawang is Sungai Buloh, while the LRT equivalent is Gombak.

Even so, the Sungai Buloh station is 18km from the Rawang city centre while the Gombak station is 26km away.

Traffic engineering expert Munzilah Md Rohani said it made sense to extend the MRT and LRT lines to Rawang.

“But studies must be done on travel demand to determine the extent of the route alignment and the location of the stations, to ensure that the services offered will be effective and efficient,” Munzilah, of Universiti Tun Hussein Onn, added.

She also suggested that other public transportation systems such as bus lines be made more efficient, especially in terms of travel time, capacity and passenger comfort.

According to the Selangor State Public Transport Master Plan, 12 proposed public transport corridors have been identified but will require costs of up to RM65 billion.

The goal is to increase the ratio of public transport to private vehicle use to 60:40 by 2035.

The plan also includes an LRT line from north Rawang to Shah Alam.

Munzilah said the government could also introduce a ride-sharing scheme for road users in the Klang Valley.

“Incentives can be given to those who share vehicles to commute to work,” she said.

On the suggestion of extending the MRT line to Rawang, she said it would help to have a station in the town.

“If there was a station in Rawang, there would be no need to switch stations or travel to Sungai Buloh anymore,” she said.

“The existing facilities have not been improved, and only add to the cost of travel. How are we supposed to encourage people to use public transport if it doesn’t benefit them?”

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