Mass Rapid Transit Corp Sdn Bhd (MRT Corp), which just delivered the first phase of the maiden Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) project, said more savings can be accrued from the initial target cost by skipping the land acquisition process.
Chief executive officer Shahril Mokhtar said savings arising as a result of excluding land acquisition from the first phase of the Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) MRT line could probably be more than the RM2 billion announced earlier.
"It could be more, because initially we budgeted for land acquisition.
"What the team did was to go beyond the acquisition, where some mutual agreements were made with land owners without acquiring (the land), that’s why we saved some money.
"By the time phase two is completed by the end of next year, we will know the actual figure," he told Bernama after the launch of the first phase of the SBK MRT project by Prime Minister Najib Abdul Razak at the Kwasa Damansara station near here today.
A milestone to the public transport system in the country, Najib said the SBK line could be implemented at a cost of about RM21 billion compared with the initial target cost of RM23 billion.
As a New Year gift to the people, the prime minister announced that commuters would get to enjoy free MRT rides and feeder bus service for one month, beginning tomorrow, until Jan 16, 2017.
Shahril urged commuters to fully make use the trial period.
"Have a feel of the system, it will benefit all of us. Once it starts, we will have more than 8,000 bays at the park-and-ride facilities.
"Use it, don't waste it, because the government invested a lot of money on the MRT and its facilities for the people," he said.
First phase of the SBK line involving 12 stations between Sungai Buloh and Semantan (21km) would start operating at 6am tomorrow with fares ranging between RM1 and RM3.90.
As for phase two of the SBK line, which would cover the underground and southern elevated sections until Kajang, Sharil said it was progressing well and should be ready for operations by July 2017.
"We are very confident that phase two can commence operations by July 31, 2017, insyaAllah (God willing)," he said.
As for MRT Two, which is also known as the Sungai Buloh-Serdang-Putrajaya (SSP) line, Shahril said construction of the project was now under way.
"Out of 10 main packages, seven have been awarded. Total awarded contracts now amount to RM27 billion.
"The remaining three packages will be announced by early March," he added.
MRT Corp had estimated the total cost of the SSP MRT line at between RM35 billion and RM40 billion.