Friday March 9, 2012
High-speed rail link holds great prospect
I’M looking forward to the potential high speed rail (HSR) link between Kuala Lumpur and Singapore “High speed rail-ity?” (The Star, Mar 5).
As a frequent traveller to Malacca, Johor and Singapore, I would greatly appreciate an additional option to travel down south.
Air travel, with all its perceived luxury, still brings with it delays, long wait times and the inconvenient (though admittedly necessary) security screening.
All these on top of the 40-minute travel time to KLIA/LCCT from Kuala Lumpur or Petaling Jaya.
If it’s true that the high speed rail journey would only take 90 minutes, we could be looking at significant time saving in our travels.
Some, like me, can still remember the days before we had the North-South Expressway.
Narrow roads and slower speeds had a big impact on whether we would travel.
Since the NSE opened, people get to see more of their extended families, businesses have flourished along the highway, commuting has become more common and we have generally seen a significant overall improvement in our lives.
With the NSE becoming congested, it is timely for the Public Land Transport Commission to consider high speed rail as an alternative.
Taiwan HSR is an apt comparison, given the relatively similar population size along the Taipei-Kaohsiung corridor as the KL-Singapore route.
If Taiwan can generate over 30 million passengers annually, and with an operating profit, why can’t we?
In our case, HSR may be even more catalytic than the NSE, given the significant journey time reduction and the convenience it provides.
I can only imagine how extensive the effects can be on the wider economic sectors, namely tourism, retail, construction and property, not to mention the broad-based productivity improvement.
Although I am as equally wary as the next Malaysian of yet another mega project, I also think that the high speed train will be one mega project that the country needs.