KUALA LUMPUR MASS TRANSIT
Map in PDF format
INTEGRATED URBAN TRANSPORTATION SYSTEM
RIDING THE RAILS
Light railway systems now criss-cross some of Asia's megacities - including bustling Kuala Lumpur - allowing you to keep your trip on track and sometimes, get a spectacular view of the snarled traffic below.
Malaysia is a land full of continual change and surprise. The development of its capital, Kuala Lumpur has been adventurous, rapid and impressive. Few cities in the world can boast the alluring sight of the city at night approached from the airport highway which takes you through an illuminated ravine and then reveals the now internationally recognized skyline of KL with Petronas Twin Towers, Menara KL Tower and the daily-developing Menara Telekom in Bangsar.
Given its low population density, remote residential areas, and the government's emphasis on promoting Proton, the national car, it's no surprise that Kuala Lumpur is one of the most car-dependent cities in the world. Public transportation in this city of nearly two million people comprise only 20 percent of total motorized travel as compared to 62 percent in Manila (population: 10.2 million) and 80 percent in Hong Kong (population: 6.5 million). The end result: increasing road congestion and street-level pollution.
Traveling from one appointment to another in this bustling metropolis - just like in most other Asian capitals - can be difficult. Bus transportation is mediocre. And taxi drivers are notorious for haggling over fares. But, thankfully, a light railway system now criss-crosses the city, allowing even harried business travelers to keep their trip on track - away from snarled traffic and car fumes.
Favorite topics of conversation are what you had for lunch and the traffic - ooh, the traffic. My first experiences of public transport in KL were on the exhilarating but occasionally somewhat terrifying pink buses, where you certainly got to meet a lot of people at one time on each journey and had the added fascination of the possible change of destination if one route was particularly jammed, or the driver recalled that there was a more accommodating traffic light sequence in another direction. Now all has changed, the Intrakota bus service has put air-conditioned and smooth buses on the routes, keeping fares low and the STAR LRT is open to the public with new stations and routes appearing all the time.
With a booming economy comes increased car ownership and traffic congestion. The Government has taken steps to alleviate this escalating problem with the implementation of the Light Rail Transit System or LRT. The LRT system will form the central feature of an integrated transportation network, combining with feeder buses and commuter rail services to offer an efficient alternative to the current limitations of road travel.
The Malaysian capital has a new three line metro system. Kuala Lumpur's light rail transit (LRT) system connects some key districts where banks, offices, hotels and shopping malls are concentrated. Although it's called LRT (Light Rail Transit) it is a fully independent metro network. There are three lines operated by different companies. A company called STAR (Sistem Transit Aliran Ringan Sdn Bhd) manages the 27-km track that comprises of a north-south line and another going eastward. PUTRA (Projek Usahasama Transit Ringan Automatik Sdn Bhd) runs the 29-km line that connects the city's northeastern section to the west. The two intersect in the central financial district at Masjid Jamek.
Northward from here, STAR has two stations near several office towers before PWTC, which takes its name from the Putra World Trade Centre where The Legend and Pan Pacific hotels are. Southward, the line connects Bukit Jalil, at the doorstep of the National Sports Complex, and Seri Petaling. The eastward line goes to commercial and light industrial areas at Pudu and Chan Sow Lin.
Northeast from Masjid Jamek on PUTRA, there is a stop near the Renaissance and New World hotels before KLCC, named after the Kuala Lumpur City Centre where the world's tallest buildings, the Petronas Twin Towers, are located together with the Suria KLCC shopping mall and Mandarin Oriental hotel. The next station is Ampang Park, near more shopping malls and the Nikko and Crown Princess hotels. The same line goes south with stations including Central Market, popular with tourists, before swinging west through parts of the suburb of Petaling Jaya.
The STAR line, an overhead railway system, started operations nearly three years ago and became hugely popular with visitors to the 16th (British) Commonwealth Games in 1998. PUTRA, a combination of overhead and underground track completed only last year, is reputedly the world's longest fully automated driver-less metro system.
The total Kuala Lumpur LRT network is a multi-billion Ringgit project that uses modern, electrically-powered trains operating on double tracks to offer a reliable and comfortable alternative by bus, taxi and car within Kuala Lumpur's urban area. The KL LRT is a closed system whereby a ticket is required to get access to the platform and also to leave the station. The fare collection system uses plastic tickets with magnetically stored information. Both single and stored value tickets are available at the ticket booths at the stations. Tickets will be purchased from ticketing booths in the station concourses. Once in possession of a valid ticket, passengers will be able to pass through an automatic barrier. Once on the platform, it is just a matter of waiting for the next train.
Route and fare maps are displayed at all stations. The stations have ticket vending machines and public telephones and are located near bus and taxi stands. For the handicapped, there are special lifts, ramps and sitting space on the railcars, which are designed very much like metros elsewhere.
One-way fares range from RM0.70 to RM2.90. Return and stored value tickets are available. traveling across the city could take about 30 minutes, but within its commercial center, the average is closer to 10 minutes. Trains leave approximately every three minutes during peak hours and about eight minutes apart during non-peak. PUTRA operates from 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily while STAR's hours are from 6 a.m. to midnight on weekdays and from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. on Sundays.
The LRT is planned to be a part of Kuala Lumpur's Integrated Transit Network, the implementation of some elements of which has been delayed following the 1997 economic crisis. A proposed 16-km monorail service by KL Monorail Sdn Bhd through popular districts like Bukit Bintang is now slated for 2002 at the earliest.
A more ambitious project is KL Sentral, which would serve as the hub for LRT and monorail services as well as the KTM Komuter, a fast train already operating from stations in the city to Rawang in the north, Port Klang in the southwest and Seremban in the south. (KL Sentral was opened on April 16, 2001)
The rail project linking the city center to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport, however, has already missed its deadline. It was originally scheduled to be up and running when the new airport opened in June 1998. Through KL Sentral, also dubbed as an "aero city," international airline passengers will be able to check-in their baggage before boarding an express rail link (ERL) to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport. According to a KL Monorail official, work on this rail project "is progressing, but slowly." It has been re-scheduled for completion by the second quarter of 2001. Hopefully by then, doing business in KL, will truly be a breeze.
Line 1 - STAR Route (WEBSITE)
STAR stands for "Sistem Transit Aliran Ringan" and is an elevated driver operated system.
Line 2 - PUTRA Route (WEBSITE)
PUTRA - Projek Usahasama Transit Ringan Automatik. This 29km (18 mi) line is actually the world's longest fully automated line. Mainly elevated, 4 km underground (Dang Wangi - Ampang Park). Subang - KL Sentral Station operating in 1999, northern branch also opened June 26, 1999.
Line 3 - KL Monorail Line (WEBSITE)
KL Monorail is an inner-city public transit system that serves the central business, hotel and shopping district of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
SUNWAY CITY MONORAIL (WEBSITE)
Taylor Woodrow, a British company, financed and constructed the 850 million STAR LRT in Kuala Lumpur, creating one of the largest privately financed infrastructure projects in the world. And they didn't take long about it. In 1990, Taylor Woodrow developed the proposal for a total rail system in the rapidly developing capital. Construction started in 1993 and the full 27 km system opened to the public in 1998. It is now a familiar and readily accepted sight to see elevated trains whizzing around in many parts of KL, forming part of the much improved transport scene and the ever-changing city view.
On July 11, 1998, Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Mahathir Mohamad launched the LRT System I, Phase I and II Network at the RM23mil Bukit Jalil LRT station, built by Sistem Transit Aliran Ringan (STAR), in Kuala Lumpur.
Built with the objective of providing fast, comfortable, reliable and efficient public transportation for city residents, work on STAR's LRT Phase I (= STAR Ampang Line) began in August 1993 and was completed in December 1995. Covering a distance of 12km (7.5 mi) and comprising 13 stations, the Phase I line began commercial service in December 1996 between Ampang and Jalan Sultan Ismail. Of the 12km, 9.5km (6 mi) is at ground level, on former railway reserve land. The remaining 2.5 km (1.5 mi) is elevated approximately 5m (16.5 ft) above the city's streets, running from Puduraya, along Jalan Tun Perak crossing Jalan Raja Laut and then following the eastern bank of Sungei Gombak terminating opposite the Sime Darby Building along Jalan Sultan Ismail.
It takes 15 minutes to cover the entire 12km journey on the STAR-LRT and the fare is RM2.50 (approx. US$0.70). The LRT will initially operate every five minutes from 7am to 8pm, and every eight minutes off-peak, before the frequency is increased to three minutes during peak hours. The STAR-LRT trains, with a 792-passenger capacity, can ferry 16,000 passengers per hour in each direction. By January 1997 one million commuters had paid to ride on the LRT and the two millionth passenger used the LRT on July 10th, 1997.
The STAR-LRT's Phase 2, which was operational since early 1998, incorporates a 9.5km extension from Chan Sow Lin station in Kuala Lumpur to the National Sports Complex and the Games Village at Bukit Jalil. For the duration of the Games, train services will be upgraded to keep up with the increased capacity of commuters.
Under Phase II (= STAR Sri Petaling Line), a 15km (9.3 mi) track with 12 stations was built. The stations that opened in July 1998 include Chan Sow Lin, Cheras, Salak Selatan, Bandar Tun Razak, Tasik Selatan, Sungai Besi, Bukit Jalil and Seri Petaling; the other four being PWTC, Titiwangsa, Sentul and Sentul Timur began operations towards the end of 1998. Phase II trains have also been upgraded to carry double the capacity of the Phase I trains per trip.
The STAR Ampang Line is yellow and the STAR Sri Petaling Line is green. The LRT network was built well within the budgeted cost of RM3.5 billion (US$920mn). The whole network is also expected to be fully operational by the end of 1998 according to schedule.
(excerpts from the British-Malaysian Chamber of Commerce website)
In 1990, Taylor Woodrow and Adtranz formed a Consortium to promote the project. Led by Taylor Woodrow, the Consortium developed the system through to an operational concept and formed the operating company, STAR. In December 1992, the Malaysian government signed a 30-year franchise, authorizing STAR to build, own and operate the system. The 27 km route begins with Phase 1, linking the central business district with the eastern suburbs. Much of the line follows the route of abandoned State Railway corridors, rising onto an elevated viaduct as it enters the city centre. Phase 2 consists of a southern link to the Commonwealth Games village and a northern extension of the city centre viaduct. Journey times from the outer suburbs to the city centre take less than twenty minutes - and no traffic, except that in view through the window.
The cost of construction was privately financed through a Build, Own and Operate concession and consisted of 24%equity, 60% commercial loans and 16% government loans. Malaysian companies represent 55% of the investors, with the remainder made up of international companies including a 30% share held by the Consortium.
Taylor Woodrow undertook all building and civil construction, including trackworks. Adtranz undertook all electro-mechanical works and the supply of rolling stock. The system design concept and route layout were devised by Taylor Woodrow during the promotional phase, and developed during the detailed design and construction period. The LRT is a blend of modern, efficient rail network with local architectural and cultural influences. Exciting station designs, a high standard of architectural finish and extensive tropical landscaping provide a striking backdrop for passengers.
The construction of the project was implemented under two overlapping design and construct contracts of 34 and 40 months. Over 100 major works package subcontracts were let over the course of the project. At the peak of construction, Taylor Woodrow employed over 600 workers and 180 management and administrative staff, along with a subcontract labor force of 1500. The company employed many innovative techniques, and in keeping with local tradition achieved several 'firsts' for construction in Malaysia. The use of glued segmental viaducts for much of the elevated section was one of the most successful aspects. These segments were erected by a 101 meter long overhead launching gantry which operated independently of the ground and has become a familiar sight when driving around KL. This technique minimized disruption to traffic flow and allowed construction over mixed terrain, including existing railway lines, rivers and areas with restricted access at ground level. Another unique structure was the East West Link crossing a push launched steel truss bridge with spans of 94m and 102m, constructed over a six lane highway with minimal interruption to traffic flow below.
The system underwent a period of intense testing and trial running and a full complement of staff was recruited and trained before being handed over to STAR ahead of schedule. The LRT formed the main public transport link during the Commonwealth Games, carrying 70% of all visitors to the stadia, and proved an early test with successful results. Everybody uses it - even Sean Connery and Catherine Zeta Jones arranged to meet at Pudu, separated fleetingly by the recognizable LRT rolling stock and ensuring international coverage. Wonder what they had for lunch?
The PUTRA-LRT network has 24 stations (5 stations underground, 18 elevated, 1 at-grade) at 1.1km intervals along its 29km (18 mi) length, and was constructed in two sections: Lembah Subang to Pasar Seni/Central Market (14.1km = 21 mins), and Pasar Seni to Ampang Park and Terminal Putra in Gombak (14.9km = 24 mins). The system will provide commuters between the city's eastern (People's Park) and western suburbs (Gombak) with a fast, efficient east-west route bypassing some of the most congested roads in the world servicing some of the most affluent and heavily populated areas. Total travel time on the 29km route is 45 minutes cutting short the travel period by car by at least an hour. When completed by 1999, the system will be the longest fully-automated driverless metro system in the world. Each of the vehicles used will be powered by two linear induction electric motors, which are claimed to keep noise levels to a minimum.
All of the first phase was built on elevated single-track bridge sections, which was also used for 8.17 km of the 14.9 km of the second phase. (Picture of an elevated section). The second phase features five underground stations - Masjid Jamek, Dang Wangi, Kg Baru, KLCC and Ampang Park - and one at-grade station (Sri Rampai). The 4.4km underground section starts north of Pasar Seni station next to Central Market following the course of Sungai Kelang, resurfacing just at the Damai portal, north of Jalan Ampang. The at-grade section of the second phase totals 2.33km.
The Masjid Jamek station is located near the mosque and Bank Bumiputra headquarters while the Kampung Baru one is opposite Wisma Denmark. KLCC station will have an underground access to the world's tallest twin tower complex while the last underground station is opposite the Ampang Park complex.
The tunnels which are 12m to 20m in depth, are designed with emergency evacuation shafts and ventilation systems that serve to draw smoke away in case of an underground fire.
The 14.1km Lembah Subang (Kelana Jaya) to Pasar Seni (Central Market) route started operations on 1 September, 1998. Commuters in KL traveled in Malaysia's first underground rail subway on June 1, 1999, with the opening of the Central Market to Gombak route.
PUTRA-LRT operates with 35 two-car fully air-conditioned units traveling at an average of 40 kmph (max = 80kmph). The initial capacity is 10,000 passengers per hour perdirection and is expected to increase to 30,000 in the near future. Information systems on board each vehicle will allow each station on the system to be illuminated on a map display as the train approaches it.
The fare for the full stretch will be RM4.50, compared to about RM25 by cab. The service is provided from 6am to 12 midnight, 7 days a week. Commuters will be able to enjoy discounts of 20% during peak hours. Peak hours are from 7am to 9am and 4pm to 7pm from Monday to Friday, and Saturday from 7am to 9am and noon to 2pm. Frequency of service during peak hours is between 90 seconds and 3 minutes. All other hours are off-peak hours where frequency of service is between 5-10 minutes and passengers are entitled to a 50% discount of the regular fare. On Sundays and public holidays, commuters can enjoy a 30% discount throughout the day.
The PUTRA-LRT will form part of the city's integrated transportation network, linking up with the Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) line in KL Sentral (KLS) in Brickfields, the Sistem Transit Aliran Ringan (STAR) line in Jalan Tun Perak (Masjid Jamek) and the Express Rail Link (ERL) to the Kuala Lumpur International Airport (KLIA) in Sepang.
For the convenience of commuters, PUTRA-LRT provides dedicated feeder bus service within 3-km radius from each station. It has a 10-min headway during peak hours and does not take more than 15 mins round trip traveling time.
PUTRA - Projeck Usahasama Transit Ringan Automatik, was incorporated on 24th October 1994 to design, construct, operate and maintain the LRT System 2 for Kuala Lumpur and is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Renong, a 100% Malaysian-owned company with a good track record in engineering, project management and construction of highways, power facilities and infrastructure works.
- Picture of a PUTRA
- Another PUTRA Train
- PUTRA Train pulling into a station
- Interior of a PUTRA Train
- PUTRA Trains in station
- Another PUTRA Train in station
- Automatic gates at a PUTRA station
- PUTRA station platform
- Artists impression of Setiawangsa and Benteng station
Kuala Lumpur 's 3rd Light Rail Transit (LRT) system, The People-mover Rapid
Transit (PRT) system, commonly known as the Kuala Lumpur Monorail, began construction in
Kuala Lumpur in January 1997. The RM1.18 billion KL Monorail privatization
project is an inner-city public transit system that serves the central business,
hotel and shopping district of Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.
The 8.6km long, dual guideway, straddle-beam elevated monorail system will begin from the Pekeliling bus Terminal at Jalan Tun Razak in the north, pass through Kuala Lumpur's 'Golden Triangle' (central business district) before reaching KL Sentral in Brickfields.
Fully elevated with 11 stations - each between 600 to 1000 meters apart - the KL Monorail is capable of handling up to 18,000 passengers per hour per direction, operating at up to 2 minutes headway between trains. Traveling time along the 8.6km route from Titiwangsa station to the KL Sentral station would take about 19 minutes.
The KL Monorail is designed to complement and integrate with the existing and planned urban transportation systems for Kuala Lumpur. It interfaces with the other rail systems at the following locations:
- Integration with LRT1 (STAR) at
Titiwangsa and Hang
- Integration with LRT2 (PUTRA) at Bukit Nanas station and KL Sentral
- Integration with ERL (Express Rail Link servicing the KLIA) at KL Sentral
- Integration with the KTM electrified commuter system at KL Sentral via a KL
Work on the
project was interrupted by the economic crisis in 1998. However,
construction resumed in July 1999 after the government injected 300mn
ringgit into the project in the form of a soft loan and since then, construction work on
the guideway columns and stations has been progressing rapidly at
several locations in the city centre.
The KL Monorail construction is expected to complete at the end of 2001, while revenue service is targeted at July 2001.
A concession agreement was signed on 29th October 1996 between The Government of Malaysia and KL MONORAIL SYSTEM SDN BHD (controlled by tycoon Vincent Tan of the diversified Berjaya Group), formerly known as KL PRT Sdn Bhd, to undertake the development, construction, management, operation and maintenance of this public transportation system from Jalan Tun Razak Bus Terminal to KL Sentral. In return, KL MONORAIL SYSTEM Sdn Bhd will be allowed to retain all income collected from the provision of railway services and facilities for a period of 40 years.
The KL Monorail project involves the construction of:
- 8.6 km long dual monorail guide
- 11 stations and 5 associated power sub-stations
- 1 depot
- and 12 monorail trains