A congestion charge for vehicles entering city centres is not a new concept, having been implemented in cities from London to Singapore. The idea is to reduce congestion, improve air quality and encourage people to use public transport – driving into the city is a luxury; if you want to do so, pay up.

Someday, Kuala Lumpur might impose a congestion charge, and this will be considered once the public transport network is complete in 2030. Transport minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong said so in parliament today, in response to a question from Lembah Pantai MP Fahmi Fadzil.

“Once it (MRT3) is completed in 2030, we will look back at the fee structure for vehicles entering the city. When we have a completed public transport network system, then it is time to look at this particular component. This is the correct trend (to introduce the fee), not only for entering vehicles, but in terms of environmental protection too,” he told the Dewan Rakyat, reported by The Vibes.

MRT Kajang Line – Taman Pertama station in Cheras

The Ayer Hitam MP added that congestion charge is already in place in major cities around the world, with exemption given to electric vehicles. He also said that the proposal to implement a congestion charge, or environmental fee, will be deliberated when the MRT3 Circle Line is completed. MRT3 is expected to be fully completed by 2030, with the first phase of the loop line to be operational as early as December 2028.

Already approved by the government, MRT3 is set to be the finishing piece in the Klang Valley’s rail public transport network. The loop line will be around 50 km-long, running along the perimeter of KL city and linking together places that aren’t connected in the current “spokes”. I’m thinking of Tokyo’s indispensable Yamanote Line.

It was revealed in April last year that MRT Corp is looking at 30 stations for the Circle Line, including some 10 interchanges with existing rail lines. Some of the proposed stations are Bukit Kiara, INTAN (National Institute of Public Administration), Sri Hartamas, Mont Kiara, Jalan Duta, Matrade, Jalan Kuching, Sentul West, Sentul East, Ayer Panas, Semarak, Setiawangsa, Ampang Point, Desa Pandan, Pandan Indah, Taman Perdana, Taman Midah, Hospital Canselor Tuanku Muhriz UKM (previously known as HUKM), Kuchai Lama, Old Klang Road and Pantai Dalam.

The project will be built in five phases over 10 years, but each completed phase will be able to operate independently, since the Circle Line links other stations/lines together. Wee said that 80% of the new line will be elevated while 20% of it will be underground.

What do you think of the idea of congestion charge?