The Malaysian government has introduced a range of measures that it says will reduce the total cost of the Light Rail Transit Line 3 (LRT3) commuter train line by nearly half (47%), saving the Malaysian taxpayers that will be co-funding it £2.8 billion (15.02 billion M. Ringgit), in the process.
In order to bring the savings of the line that will cut congestion in some of the most congested areas of the country, the government said in an official statement it will cut the number of trains it orders from 42 to 22, as well as amending the design of the depot that will house and maintain them. Under the plans, five stations with a predicted low ridership will be put on ice, while a planned 1.2-mile tunnel will no longer be built.
However, the changes being made to the 23-mile LRT3 line that will improve congestion to the west of the nation’s capital, Kuala Lumpur, will push the project back four years behind the initial schedule. It is now due for completion in 2024.
Before making the near-50% cut to its train order, the Malaysian government carried out a feasibility study that found that the two-million-passenger local population would be adequately served by 22 trains until around 2035, from which point it will order more three-car trains. Speaking on the predicted numbers that the new line would serve, a spokesperson from the government said: “During peak hours, the forecasted maximum number of passengers per hour per direction is 6,185 in year 2034. This ridership can be accommodated by 22 three-car trains which can carry 6,210 passengers per hour per direction.”
In addition to the five stations now no longer being built (Lien Hoe, Temasya, SIRIM, Bukit Raja and Bandar Botanic) until they are deemed necessary as ridership number in the area increase, the design on existing stations were changed to better resemble the smaller stations, presumably bringing down costs thanks to the cut in materials and time required to build them. Helping to ensure that LRT3 costs don’t creep up, the Malaysian government has said it has signed a fixed-term agreement that will mean no cost overruns with the company responsible for its construction, MRCB-GK JV.
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