LETTER | Last year, I had written about the lack of an increase in the ridership of the LRT, MRT and KTM Komuter despite the billions of ringgit of investment poured into new projects.
The recently released Quarter Three 2017 rail statistics by the ministry of transportation confirmed my fears that the LRT and MRT ridership spike in July and August 2017 was due to the half-price fares and were only temporary.
The Sungai Buloh-Kajang MRT line reached a peak daily ridership of 135,112 in the month of August when fares were 50%.
But once the fare discount period was over, the daily ridership dropped down to 103,345, which is significantly less than the target of 150,000.
Similarly, the daily ridership for the Kelana Jaya and Ampang LRT lines spiked up to 262,606 and 195,536 respectively in the month of August but once the discount period was over, the daily ridership numbers fell down to 219,568 and 157,533 for the Kelana Jaya and Ampang LRT lines respectively.
In fact, the LRT ridership numbers for the month of September is even lower than that for March 2017 which averaged 238,602 and 169,057 for the Kelana Jaya and Ampang LRT lines respectively. (See Figure 1 below).
The drop in the daily ridership on the LRT and MRT clearly shows that passengers are price-sensitive.
This is why it is necessary to introduce an affordable monthly public transportation pass to allow passengers to have unlimited rides on the LRT, MRT, Monorail and Rapid KL buses as a way to increase public transportation usage.
Rapid used to have an RM150 monthly travel pass for the LRT but this was eliminated as part of the LRT fare hike in December 2015.
Pakatan Harapan has proposed in our alternative budget to introduce an RM100 unlimited travel monthly public transportation pass.
I am confident that with the introduction of this pass, public transportation usage especially on the LRT, MRT and Rapid buses will increase significantly, perhaps even beyond the daily ridership figures set in August 2017 when the LRT and MRT fares were reduced by 50%.
The writer is MP for Serdang.
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