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MRT to serve 1.2 million people [20-01-2011]  
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The mass rapid transit (MRT) system will serve 1.2 million people with a daily ridership of 442,000, according to a source familiar with the project.

It will have 50% more carrying capacity than the current light rail transit (LRT), which has a capacity of about 30,000 passengers at present per hour per direction, although it is carrying about 35,000 people currently per hour per direction.

The MRT rail car would also be 50% wider with a frequency rate of every two minutes, she said.

Construction work on the MRT, one of Malaysia's largest infrastructure projects to date at a cost of RM36.6bil for civil works alone, without factoring in the cost of trains and land acquisition, is scheduled to begin by July this year on what is currently known as the Sg Buloh-Kajang line.

The source said the Sg Buloh-Kajang line was known as the optimum line because of the masses it would serve along the route.

The route would span Kota Damansara, Bandar Utama, Pusat Bandar Damansara, Kuala Lumpur's Golden Triangle area, Cheras and Kajang. Tenders for the project are expected to begin in April or May. There will be 35 stations, four of them interchanges, on this line.

The source said the sites for the stations were chosen based on several criteria, one of which was ridership.

Although the alignment and siting of the stations were provisional at this point in time, the source said this was based on several criteria.

“It must serve a densely populated area because it is expected to have a 442,000-person ridership,” she said.

“It must also be a commercial area and the station located in an area with dense population,” she added.

The source revealed that “the alignment should also pose minimal negative social and environmental impact on the people in the area.”

“This social environment impact includes noise and vibration, traffic congestion, land acquisition and excavated material management where tunnelling and underground works are needed.

“Other concerns include accident risks, visual impact and water and air pollution,” she added. The alignment and siting of the stations were also based on the need to have an even network coverage, taking into consideration the present LRT, monorail and Komuter rail lines.

The objective, she said, was to have the MRT “converge into the city” and complement the present LRT and monorail lines.

“It must be sustainable, in the event there is a need for expansion.

“Other considerations include connectivity, social impact and constructability,” the source said.

The route is still undergoing preliminary study at present.

It can be adjusted after taking into consideration factors such as the social impact cost, ticket sales and demographics.

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