BUTTERWORTH: Nine new Electric Train Service (ETS) units will be operational by December.
Transport Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said the new trains would be added by Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) to the existing 15 trains, bringing the total to 24 ETS trains, operating in the existing routes.
He said the additional trains would provide convenience for commuters to make it as a popular mode of transportation.
“We understand that the ETS has high demand in all the routes, from south to the north, and the additional trains will see more people using the ETS.
“The ETS train is a popular mode of transportation, especially for those travelling from Kuala Lumpur to Butterworth, Ipoh and Padang Besar,” he said after a working visit to Penang Sentral here today.
Loke said the double track route from Gemas to Johor had yet to be completed while from Gemas heading to the north was already in use.
He said the ministry was considering adding more trains due to its overwhelming response from users.
“In line with the imminent operation of Penang Sentral by December, improvements to the existing ETS will be able to cater to the demands of the public,” he added.
Meanwhile, Loke said KTMB would also consider reintroducing the Nibong Tebal stops for its ETS due to request made by Jawi assemblyman H’ng Mooi Lye.
The train used to stop in Nibong Tebal between 2016 and 2017. However, KTMB decided to bypass the route due to low ridership.
“We can reintroduce the ETS service here but it might not be for all trips. It is a non-issue for KTMB but the problem is the low ridership.
“It will be unfair to have stops here as it will take additional one or two minutes, and only few people use it.
“So the locals should play their part to promote this if the service is reintroduced,” he added.
In a related development, Loke also lauded the punctuality of the ETS, which was maintained between 99 per cent and 100 per cent.
He said that such good service could attract commuters to use the train and reduce congestion on the North-South Expressway, especially during festive periods.
On the 350km HSR (High Speed Railway) project connecting Kuala Lumpur and Singapure, Loke said: “We already made a decision on HSR yesterday and are now focusing on ETS train projects. We will be making announcements on HSR later.” © New Straits Times Press (M) Bhd