Tram expansion project in Malacca will cover the whole state and serve 11 tourist destinations.MALACCA: The Economic Planning Unit (EPU) has identified five additional corridors for the tram expansion project in Malacca.
In November 2010, Perunding Zaaba has been commissioned by EPU to undertake feasibility study in Alor Gajah, Merlimau, Jasin, Durian Tunggal and Masjid Tanah.
Given the ridership figures and sustainability, the study indicates that the tram network could be extended to cover these areas.
If the EPU gives the go-ahead for the extension project, effectively the tram will cover whole state.
“We will be happy to carry out the tram extension if granted the concession,” a director of MRails International Sdn Bhd, Charles James told FMT.
MRails Tram (Malacca) Sdn Bhd, a subsdiary of MRails International, has been given a 25-year concession in collaboration with Chief Minister Incorporated (CMI) to design, build and manage the RM272mil Malacca tram project running from Air Keroh to Bandar Melaka, covering a distance 40km with 52 stops.
It serves 11 of 14 major tourist destinations. MRails Tram (Malacca) holds 65% equity while CMI holds the rest.
“We have also been invited by the Johor, Kedah and Penang state governments as they have shown keen interest in tram as the mode of choice for public transport. We have conducted a feasibility study in Langkawi.
“Since public transport in Langkawi is inefficient and fares for taxis and pirate taxis are expensive, tram is a viable option.” said James.
Currently, the tram project in Malacca, the first of its kind in the country is awaiting approvals from the relevant authorities before work can commence.
“We are waiting approvals from SPAD’s legal department, AG Chambers, Public Works Department, Majlis Perbandaran Hang Tuah Jaya and Majlis Bandaraya Melaka Bersejarah,” he added.
“We want to ensure that there are no hiccups when the project in implemented. A major concern is the safety aspects of road users.” Once the approvals are in place, it takes only 12-15 months for the tram to be operational.
The speed of construction, as compared with LRT or MRT, is due to their tracks are partly or wholly laid on roads which they share to a greater or lesser extent with other road traffic. A tram car is a rail-borne vehicle, lighter than a conventional train.
The tram enables virtually complete integration with other forms of transport. The company is working with CNR Tangshan Railway Vehicles Co Ltd, a China-based locomotive manufacturer for the building of coaches.
Run on liquefied natural gas to keep operational costs low and being environmentally-friendly, the tram is expected to ferry 24,000 passengers a day, chugging along at 40km per hour. The two-car tram’s maximum capacity is 120 passengers.
While schoolchildren in uniform and handicapped people ride for free, each hop-in and hop-off passenger pays RM2 fare. For those who opt for unlimited ride per day pay RM5.