KTMB (Kereta Api Tanah Melayu) hurt by Move to Woodlands


October 31, 2011

http://www.nst.com.my

KTMB hurt by Move to Woodlands

by Sim Bak Heng (10-30-11)

The shifting of KTM Berhad’s railway operations to Woodlands in July following the closure of the Tanjung Pagar railway station has taken its toll on the revenue of the rail company.

Checks showed the company has incurred an average monthly loss of RM1.8 million since July as a result of a decline of between 20 and 30 per cent of passengers using train services to the republic.

KTMB believes most of its customers are instead opting to travel to the republic by express buses, and some by planes, as the Woodlands station is not quite convenient for travellers.

There are seven train services to Singapore daily, and all services stop at the Woodlands checkpoint.All the trains will make a brief stop at JB Sentral before moving towards Woodlands, which is about one kilometre away.

Industry sources said it is economically not viable to have two stations located too near to each other, more so when both are located near the border of two different countries using different currencies.

In the case of Woodlands, alighting passengers who turned to other modes of transport to reach their destination will have to pay for their fare in Singapore dollars. For those who travel to the republic by express bus, the problem does not arise.

KTMB president Dr Aminuddin Adnan told the New Sunday Times that there are no plans to stop all seven trips to Woodlands despite the losses. “It is too early to conclude the whole picture. We will wait and see before planning the next course of action.Our customers are basically from the middle-income bracket. We believe those who have abandoned our service are those who do not want any inconvenience throughout their journey, especially when they reach Singapore.”

The Tanjong Pagar station became part of KTMB’s history following the departure of the last train piloted by the Sultan of Johor at 11.03pm on June 30.

Dr Aminuddin said KTMB is trying to offset the losses by capitalising on the Johor Baru market. It plans to introduce an additional train service from Tumpat to Johor Baru from next January.

Called the Malayan Tiger, the 14-coach service is believed to be an impetus for the tourism industry in Johor in view that more tourism products are coming up in Iskandar Malaysia.

Meanwhile, Dr Aminuddin said the stripping of the 23km railway track from Tanjong Pagar to Woodlands had been completed.  He said the track weighed a total of about 2,500 tonnes, of which about 70 per cent had been transported back to Malaysia.

The rest, which was still being placed at a temporary storage area in Kranji, will be sent back to the country by the middle of next month.

“We are now demolishing all the locomotive shades and depots and we hope to complete the work by December 22,” he added.

It was reported that part of the track would be showcased in KTMB museums as a historical exhibit while others would be kept for future use on KTMB tracks throughout the country. The first museum to display part of the track is the former Johor Baru railway station, which will be turned into a museum soon.

11 thoughts on “KTMB (Kereta Api Tanah Melayu) hurt by Move to Woodlands

  1. I have always felt that there is something fishy about the transfer of the KTMB Station from Tanjung Pagar to the Woodlands Checkpoint. Najib cannot be trusted. I see KTMB is being shanted aside purportedly in the interest of better bilateral relations with Singapore and the development of the Iskandar region. The NST article clearly shows that the train services to Singapore is no longer viable. Anyway, our leaders should tell us what plan they have to compensate KTMB for this loss of business.

  2. Based on our testy relations with Singapore our leaders should have seen this coming many many moons ago. Right from the start double tracking was the wrong option. KTM was already making losses then. It is still not too late to change direction. I am inclined to belive that given KTM track record it should be left to focus on transportation of cargo only on the existing single track. There will be no pressure of time as most of the cargo will be bulk cargo.The money poured into double tracking would be more cost effective in we build a new a high speed rail (300KPH) or medium speed (160 )KPH rail link to JB.

    I still do not understand why we agreed for the service to terminate at Woodland. Can you immagine what it will do to property prices in Kuala Lumpur if you have a high speed rail between Kuala Lumpur and Tanjung Pagar.

    That is all water under the bridge now and we have missed the boat.We need new thinking. Terminate the service at JB where we have a State of the Art Terminal there. Over to you EPU put on your thinking caps, if you have not done so yet, and come up with a solution that will stand the test of time for the next 100 years. That is what you call Vision with a capital “V”.

  3. I would have thought that KTMB and the army of experts in our GLCs, especially financial genius, Tan Sri Azman Mokhtar, could have advised the need for a sensitivity study to see the impact on revenue if services stopped at Woodlands. That loss should have been factored in and compensated by Singapore at the very least. Now I don’t see why KTMB has to serve Woodlands. Like you said we should pull out to JB or Tumpat to cut losses for KTMB. Future generations will curse Najib for the KTMB decision.

    This matter should be debated in Parliament and we can only hope that someone from the Opposition will be able to request for a debate on this land swap deal and put Najib on the stand. I also do not whether Dato Seri Azmi Khalid, as Chair of Dewan Rakyat’s Public Accounts Committee will have the courage to summon the Prime Minister to appear before his committee to explain this deal so that it can be recorded in the Hansard.

  4. “This matter should be debated in Parliament and we can only hope that someone from the Opposition will be able to request for a debate on this land swap deal and put Najib on the stand.” ex-diplomat

    Put the PM on the stand?? You can’t be serious. He cannot be called to testify in a murder trial when his hand was clearly involved.

  5. webelos,

    Glad you said it. Most Malays and some non-Malays think the Tanjung Pagar KTM station is Malaysian sovereign territory. They conveniently forget KTM only owns the right to use the Tannjung Pagar land as a railway station for 999 years. The right to use a piece of land DOES NOT mean you own it. This same rule applies to all land in Malaysia. Now Malaysia wants to develop the land but balks at the conversion premium charged by the Singapore government. Oi ubah syarat kegunaan tanah tak ada bayaran ke? Negeri mana diMalaysia kos ubah syarat tiada caj kerajaan?

  6. Informatif Bro!
    Semoga pemerintah punya pemikiran untuk memperbaiki sistem transportasi masal kita, dan tak terus-terusan menyerahkan hajat hidup rakyat ke otoritas swasta.

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