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According a report by The Sun, the impending fare hike for the KLIA Express and KLIA Transit rail services will be subsidised by KLIA/KLIA2 passengers. Earlier in the month, Express Rail Link (ERL), the operator of the rail services, announced that its fares will be increased for the first time since it began operations 14 years ago as a means to keep the company sustainable.

An officer told The Sun, “the sad thing is that even people not using the ERL are subsidising its operations and the operator feels that it is justified in increasing the fare from RM35 to RM55.” He agreed that the operator had the right to raise the fare under the concession agreement it had signed with the government.

The officer pointed out that every passenger coming through both airports, whether domestic or international, contributes to the ERL’s treasury. “Whether or not a passenger to KLIA or KLIA2 uses the ERL service they still pay airport taxes from which RM6 (international) and RM3 (domestic) goes directly to ERL,” he said, adding that these passengers were obliged to do so.

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He added that on a daily average, 10,000 people travel to KLIA and KLIA2. This allows ERL to collect an estimated RM350,000 daily, translating to a yearly collection of RM128 million. The fare revision without the “subsidies” from KLIA/KLIA2 passengers would have seen commuters on the KLIA Express pay RM64 instead of the “discounted” rate of RM55.

The ERL project was implemented at the cost of RM2.4 billion, and the company has been suffering losses over the years, accumulating to RM671.7 million, it said, adding that ERL had invested in new systems and train sets which would be progressively delivered, starting next May.

In an earlier announcement, ERL stated that a 30% discount will be offered to 1Malaysia Students Discount Card (KADS1M) holders, the disabled and senior citizens. Discounts will also be available to customers who purchase tickets online, at the ERL kiosks as well as with selected credit cards.