Media Statement by Johor DAP Policy Director and Senai State Assemblyperson Wong Shu Qi on 11th June 2015 (Thursday):
KTM should provide at least 3 shuttles per hour between JB Sentral and Woodlands upon cancelling southbound intercity service to Singapore
It is another shocking news to train commuters that all southbound intercity train will only stop at JB Sentral, hence commuters will need to take the shuttle train to Singapore from there. KTM owes the public especially its riders a thorough explanation about plans to improve its service.
China Press revealed this latest change on June 9 and many riders were left disappointed. According to KTM, the change will be effective from July 2015 onwards and it is part of its rescheduling plan. The company claimed that very few riders would be affected since currently there are only few southbound intercity train services going into Singapore daily.
However, the frequent changing of plans in the pretext of improving its services has caused dissatisfaction among KTM passengers who found themselves having to change their commuting schedule and pattern every now and then.
To assure its riders that services will not be interrupted by the latest changes, I propose that KTM to roll out 3 shuttles per hour during the morning and evening peak hours. More importantly, the price of the shuttle journey must be reasonable and affordable. The earlier proposal of RM5 or S$5 for a single trip is way too high.
There are more than 200,000 Malaysian citizens commuting daily between Johor Bahru and Singapore. Hence, a JB-Singapore shuttle service will definitely be a profitable venture if managed well. If KTM can cater for 900 to 1000 passengers in an hour with 3 shuttles, the train company will be looking at about 4,000 passengers just during the peak hours, merely 2% of the daily commuters. In turn, the provision of such public transport service will improve the wellbeing of residents of Johor, by providing convenience and lowering the cost of commuting whether for work or recreation.
The fact is, train service in Johor has been under-utilised and the potential of railway is not optimised. I urge the Minister of Transport Datuk Seri Liow Tiong Lai and Chairman of SPAD Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar to “turun padang” and do a field visit to understand the situation better and to ensure our public transport is fully integrated. Since last December, there have been several announcements about the hourly shuttle train between JB Sentral and Singapore Woodlands. Yet, the hourly shuttle train is still not operating due to insufficient coaches and track.
I fully understand the limitation of KTM in improving the service between JB and Singapore before the double track rail is completed. Nevertheless, I hope that the potential of railway can be maximised and fully utilised to serve the people at its best even before the planned hardware upgrade is completed.
Wong Shu Qi