It used to be RM2.50 for a single journey ticket Kelana Jaya LRT (Rapid KL Light Rail Transit) from Terminal Gombak compared to its price of RM3.70 now.
That is a train ride from one end to the other – before Prasarana Malaysia Berhad extended the line to Putra Heights – which to most is a redundant extension as not many will utilise the route since the Star line also ends up at Putra Heights.
All of a sudden now most train routes have an increase of RM1 per station.
A train ride from Wangsa Maju to Bangsar from the Kelana Jaya line used to cost only RM2.30 and today even that has increased to RM3.70.
While Prasarana has introduced discount cards, it is still pricier than the previous fare system. To most, the current single journey fare is way more pricey and it limits one’s travel routes.
The previous monthly card system allowed unlimited rides on the train (on all Rapid KL lines), which saved commuters quite a bit, especially for those who do not own personal vehicles.
It was also a convenience for those who rely solely on the train line as their main mode of transport to get to work and run errands – they cannot do that today, not anymore with the current fares.
Once upon a time the train system was a relief for those who cannot afford their own vehicle, but it looks as though the commuters would have to resort back to hopping on public buses to cut cost.
That, however, would also mean spending hours on the road travelling and walking as buses no longer connect locations directly as compared to back in the day.
If one were to travel from Terminal Gombak to say Bangsar for work, in a day he or she would have to spend RM4.40 for a single journey ticket. Surely he or she needs to return home, and that would be another RM4.40 home.
This does not include transportation to the train station and back, ot taking into consideration that the workplace is right where the station is located or walking distance.
However, this is not a luxury that most Malaysians can afford to enjoy – pick a job where it is only a minute or two-walk to the office from the train stations.
As compared to driving to work, it would cost only slightly more now (in comparison to the current train fares) but one would have their own private space without having to risk being pickpocketed or molested while travelling on the trains.
But there are parking fares to be considered – working in the Kuala Lumpur city centre would require for one to spend a minimum of RM15 per day for parking while in Petaling Jaya RM10.
Even public parking prices have also increased just beginning of this week.
It is almost like a robbery, some would say, as it feels as though the government is running out of money and when it hits them, the fastest way to recover is to impose price hikes on public transport and toll fares.
It feels as if the government knows that because people have to no choice but to commute or take tolls to avoid traffic congestion, therefore these are the two avenues which the government had decided to “attack”.
When Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) chairman Tan Sri Syed Hamid Albar said “People still using public transport despite price hikes” and “The recent increase in public transportation fares has not deterred the public from utilising these services”, proves that the government knows where Malaysian’s weaknesses lies.
Knowing that there are no alternatives, Syed Hamid can say that, and even if there was a decrease in commuters would it change SPAD’s decision to consider fare reductions or toll prices?
The answer is most likely a ‘no’ as SPAD had already given reasons to these hikes blaming it on rise on operation costs.
No one’s salary has seen an increase despite the Goods and Services Tax (GST) or the removal of fuel subsidies and several other government subsidies which all happened in the last one year.
This includes toll price hikes and train fares that happened last December.
Maybe this is a reason why the government has advised Malaysians to spend less on the recent Hari Raya celebrations and had also previously asked Malaysians to ‘ikat perut’ (eat less).
With the amount of money an individual needs to fork out for his daily expenses on transportation alone, there is no other way but to actually consider to ‘ikat perut’.
Soo Wern Jun