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Tuesday, 18 July 2017 | MYT 12:00 AM

More to come for commuters

KUALA LUMPUR: The country’s Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) system is a world-class infrastructure project that is just the beginning of more good things to come for Malaysia’s commuters, said Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak.

The Prime Minister said the 51km MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) line that opened to the public yesterday was a game-changer in the daily lives of Klang Valley commuters and for Malaysia as a whole.

“From 4pm, all 31 stations of the newest and most modern rail system in the world will open their doors to commuters in Malaysia,” Najib said when launching Phase 2 of the SBK line.

The completed SBK line opened to the public two weeks ahead of schedule and was RM2bil below its RM23bil budget.

Phase 1 of the line, from Sungai Buloh to the Semantan station in Kuala Lumpur, was opened in December.

Among the many benefits of the MRT, Najib said, is the time saved by commuters.

For example, a bus ride from Sungai Buloh to Kajang would take two-and-a-half hours, compared with only 88 minutes on the MRT.

By saving time, the MRT could help raise worker morale, increase productivity and lead to a more dynamic economy, he added.

Commuters could also save money by using the MRT, he said.

Citing an example, he said a ride-hailing car ride from Sungai Buloh to Kajang would cost RM54 while the MRT fare was only RM6.40, or an even lower RM5.50 if the commuter pays with a Touch ‘n Go card.

The MRT project also created 130,000 jobs, 70,000 of which are in the direct employment category.

The Prime Minister said 41 retailers have set up shops in the 31 stations along the SBK line, with more on the way.

The MRT project would also help reduce pollution, with up to 160,000 fewer cars on the road.

“This translates to a reduction of 752,000 tonnes of CO2 emissions each year.

“When the MRT3 Circle Line is completed in 2027, there could be up to 700,000 fewer cars on the road with CO2 emissions cut by up to 3.3 million tonnes,” he said.

The SBK line will serve up to 1.2 million commuters residing in areas along its route.

“It will, among others, give people in Sungai Buloh easy access to the city centre.

“Some people say it could lead to a boom in business among satay sellers in Kajang,” Najib quipped, referring to the fact that the Kajang Stadium MRT station is a stone’s throw away from the town’s popular satay restaurants.

The Prime Minister said he had spoken to someone who had used other MRT stations in the world.

“I said, let’s try to do a ranking of MRT stations. Where do we stand in the world?

“The person said we are better than London, we are better than New York, we are better than Hong Kong and we are on a par with Singapore.

“As Malaysians, we can stand tall today because we have a world-class infra project for the people,” he said.

Najib said he felt enormous pride and personal satisfaction over the completion of the MRT project.

“We are seeing not just the MRT but the shape of the future of Malaysia before our very own eyes,” Najib said.

Also present at the launch were Deputy Prime Minister Datuk Seri Dr Ahmad Zahid Hamidi and several Cabinet ministers.