Tiga SCS

Keretapi Tanah Melayu (KTM) has come out to defend the recent fare hike for its KTM Komuter service, saying that the move would not increase profits but rather lessen the losses that the service is incurring, Malay Mail Online reports.

On November 2, KTM had announced a fare increase from 11 sen per kilometre to 15 sen effective December 2, a move it said was necessary to prevent further losses being incurred by the company – KTM said fares are supposed to cost at least 20 sen per km, and its operating couldn’t cover its operating cost.

Its president Lt Col (Rtd) Sarbini Tijan said the rail operator was expected to make losses of RM55 million this year despite the fare increase, the first such revision for the KTM Komuter service since February 2003.

He said that the firm had requested RM200 million this year to cover the funding gap for all its operations, and the government had only allocated RM60 million. As such, the fare hike is anticipated to reduce the funding gap for its Komuter service component from RM150 million to around RM106 million.

He added that the increase in ticket prices was offset by a vastly improved service, which has seen Komuter trains become more reliable in terms of scheduling, with a 97% on-time service compared to before – the company showed through a fact sheet that only 17% of its Komuter trains were on time in 2011, but this was now 97% as of October this year.

Sarbini disagreed with the notion that the hike in Komuter ticket prices will lead to more commuters switching to other forms of private transport. He said that the increase will be offset by multiple discounts given to regular users of the Komuter service as well as those with Touch ‘n Go cards.