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Brt – Sunway Line: the winds of change

Is it the time to embrace change yet?

 

Who’s up for a change? I definitely am! A few days ago, I tried and experienced the latest infrastructure in Klang Valley; the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) – Sunway Line. The BRT Sunway Line is a public-private partnership project between Prasarana and Sunway Group to provide a better and integrated transit service to residents and commuters of Bandar Sunway and USJ.

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I allocated my whole day to try the BRT – going back and forth from one end to the other because I thought, I would be facing a hard time queuing up and looking for space on the bus. But guess what? I thought wrong! BRT is not like other public transportation systems and it is very efficient. The bus comes in every four minutes during peak-hours! I was so impressed.

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According to the Managing Director, Property Development Division of Sunway Berhad, Sarena Cheah, “The BRT-Sunway Line connects our communities to the rest of the nation, providing convenient, eco-friendly travel that is accessible, and affordable for everyone within Sunway Resort City.”

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The BRT service was officially launched on 2 June 2015 and opened its doors to the public on the same day. Rides on the BRT were free for the first two months beginning 2 June 2015. A flat rate of RM4.00 was charged at the SunU-Monash station park and ride facility from 2 June to 1 August 2015. The latest fares announced on 1st Aug 2015 are as follows:

 

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The dedicated elevated busway runs isolated from traffic congestion, from the Sunway-Setia Jaya Station, which is located near the KTM Setia Jaya Komuter station (linked by covered pedestrian walkways), and ends at the USJ 7 Station of the Kelana Jaya Line extension. There is ‘paid area to paid area’ integration between the LRT and BRT service by virtue of the BRT platform sharing the paid area of the concourse at the LRT station.

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THE STATIONS & FEATURES

There are a lot of payment modes you can use when you buy BRT tickets from the machine, and you can even use debit and credit cards as well. How convenient is that? One doesn’t have to worry about having enough small change anymore. Other than that, you can also use the RapidKL card or a Touch N’ Go card.

 

It is also convenient for people with disabilities. BRT’s station is designed with prioritising the disabled. The elevator is set up to be used by those who are elderly or disabled, while the rest of us can use the staircase or escalator.

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These BRT stations are built with a modern and contemporary design, which include universal access facilities for the disabled community such as tactiles for the blind, ramps as well as low ticket counters. Safety features at the stations consist of closed-circuit TV cameras as well as pedestrian bridges so that commuters can cross from one platform to another with ease.

 

The Sunway-Setia Jaya station is linked to the Setia Jaya KTM station which improves the connectivity of the township to other cities, especially to the city centre – Kuala Lumpur. At the first BRT station, I found a lot of parking lots nearby the Sunway-Setia Jaya station, so people can park their cars at that area and go anywhere they want to for a short span of time. This is the station that KTM users usually get down and walk towards to get to the BRT station to take the bus to work.

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The next station was Mentari which is located in front of Sunway Mentari Business Park and is walking distance to Makmur Apartments on Jalan PJS 8/9. I had to pay RM1.60 for a less than five minutes trip, which I think is not really affordable. If someone uses the BRT from Sunway-Setia Jaya to Mentari twice daily, that will cost them RM3.60 in one day just for a very short trip. If I were a student who was on a tight budget, I would rather walk and save around RM96 per month.

 

However, it is a different case if you use the BRT from Sunway-Setia Jaya to other stations such as to Sunway Lagoon. Nonetheless, if you are planning to go to Sunway Lagoon theme park and Sunway Pyramid shopping centre from that station, you still have to walk 300 meters. It is quite a long walk especially if you are walking alone at night.

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Then, after the Sunway Lagoon station, I came to the SunMed station which is located close to Sunway Medical Centre.

 

From SunMed station, I went to observe the SunU-Monash station. It is the station closest to Sunway University and adjacent to Monash University. This station has park-and-ride facilities with a total of 1,153 car park bays, which includes 102 special bays for lady drivers and 23 for handicapped drivers, and another 121 bays for motorcycles.

 

According to Prasarana, “SunU-Monash station was chosen as the ideal location for the multi-level car park and its strategic pick up point. “ The BRT Depot is also located beside this station. From my observation, this station is the most frequently used one compared to the rest. It is where I interviewed a few users and asked them their opinions and what they thought of the BRT service.

 

The sixth station would be the South Quay station which is located behind Mydin USJ 1. It is close to Casa Subang Apartments and Impian Meridian, and there is a large population there with nearby amenities and facilities.

 

The last station is the USJ7 station which is the interchange to RapidKL’s Kelana Jaya Line. Prasarana stated that, “At the moment, there are no plans as yet to extend the existing line. It should be noted that the BRT line is connected to the LRT Line Extension Project for Kelana Jaya, which is scheduled to be opened June 30th, this year. The opening of the extended Kelana Jaya line will translate into an additional 170,000 passengers daily. At present, Kelana Jaya Line manages some 280,000 passengers daily.”

 

Another feature that I need to mention – the buses use a lithium iron phosphate battery which is fire-safe and non-toxic, in-wheel hub motors and regenerative braking. There are no caustic materials contained in the battery and no toxic electrolytes or heavy metals and the battery can be completely recycled. The buses are extremely quiet which ensures a comfortable ride without much vibration or noise that is usually associated with conventional buses and combustion engines.

 

INVESTMENTS

The BRT – Sunway Line benefits home buyers and investors by amplifying accessibility to and from the area. Besides enhancing accessibility to other parts of Klang Valley for residents and homebuyers, businesses will gain more foot traffic to the area – thus ensuring the sustained growth and vibrancy of Sunway Resort City. In the long run, this sustained vibrancy also ensures capital gains for both buyers and investors.

 

Even the Managing Director of Knight Frank Malaysia, Sarkunan Subramaniam mentioned at a recent event ‘Office Market Performance and Outlook’ at the 9th Malaysian Property Summit 2016 (9MPS), “I really admire Sunway for building their BRT – Sunway Line, it enhances accessibility that really contributes to the demands of office buildings within their developments.”

 

BRT – Sunway Line has really became one of the unique selling points around Sunway and it could increase the value of developments in the area. When talking to Prasarana they did say this, “We hope that this project will be a breakthrough and inspire similar projects. Using eco-friendly electric buses is indeed in the interest of environment preservation.”

 

I personally think that the BRT – Sunway Line is a great idea and it will further enhance our public transportation system, to be more like developed countries such as Singapore or Hong Kong. As the saying goes, ‘A developed country is not a place where the poor have cars. It’s where the rich use public transportation’. However, there are still a lot of people who are not utilising this facility when it should make their lives a lot easier. Why do you think this is?

 

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