Current Affairs

In high speed railway project, don’t neglect commuter connectivity

The n700_big

The N700 bullet train from Japan

The High Speed Railway (HSR)  scheduled to be completed before 2020 would elevate Malaysian train system to a whole new level; acquiring high speed train technology that would shorten the distance from Kuala Lumpur to Singapore to a mere 2 hours and 30 minutes.

However, the push for development has left the nation void of any emphasis on connectivity to ease travelling for commuters.

When Kluang MP Liew Chin Tong asked the Transport Ministry whether the Kuala Lumpur Singapore High Speed Rail would be connected to other existing railways, the ministry had replied that there were no plans to integrate the high speed rail services with existing modes of transportation.

“Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) has organized a detailed discussion with State Governments to finalize the HSR railway stations in the identified area based on the state development plan.

Currently, the southern corridor of HSR is not projected to be located next to existing Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) railway route. Hence, the HSR project would not connect to other railway services,” read the answer from the Ministry.

As pointed out by the Kluang MP, oversights on the part of the government has led to disastrously disconnecting railway routes such as was done in the 1990s when the Putra LRT, Star LRT and Monorail built in Kuala Lumpur did not have sufficient integration points. For instance, Monorail commuters were forced to walk 500 metres to the KL Sentral main station without a covered walkway.

“This problem would not arise if the monorail station was built to stop inside the KL Sentral building for convenient integration with the LRT and KTM lines,” said Liew Chin Tong.

kl to singapore hsr

(pic from

He believes that both the Bandar Tasik Selatan Bus Station (TBS) and KL Sentral are ideal connections for the end terminals of HSR. TBS is the bus terminal for all southern bound buses while the latter is the main railway hub. However, commuters who wish to board the HRS would need to travel to Sungai Besi, where the Royal Malaysian Airforce base (TUDM) would be replaced by the Bandar Malaysia- yet another 1MDB project.

It is haphazard endeavors like this that according to Liew exposes the government’s failure in transport system planning.

Liew urged the government to come up with a holistic HSR plan which includes KTM intercity train services and bus services for the publc, especially for the southern states of Johor, Negeri Sembilan and Melaka. He asked that there be a 50 km link built from Kluang, one of the main KTM stations, to the proposed HSR station in Batu Pahat.

“This would not only create a spillover benefit of HSR to railway towns in the vicinity, but increasing its ridership would make the HSR fare cheaper and cost viable,” he opined.

If it is not integrated with other public transport modes for the convenience of commuters, Liew says that the HSR would be yet another expensive white elephant and loss-making project. -The Rocket

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *