PETALING JAYA: Investing in public transport is an expensive endeavour for any government but having a seamless network for commuters is worth the cost, says Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

The Transport Minister said most governments, even those in advanced countries, would suffer losses in building and operating their public transport systems.

“We need to view the whole issue of public transportation in totality, not merely on how much capital expenditure was invested in a project.

“It is almost impossible to recover the money spent on public transportation and this is something that happens even in advanced countries.

“But good public transportation will help reduce traffic congestion and this will help people save time and money. All that time spent being caught in traffic is a big loss.

“So the expenditure on improving public transportation to ease people’s journeys will be worth it,” Dr Wee told a press conference after announcing a reduction in KTM Bhd’s Skypark Link train fares here yesterday.

He was answering a question on how much the government was spending on subsidies in order to offer fare discounts to users of the Skypark Link, an express service from KL Sentral to the Subang Skypark Terminal via the Subang Jaya KTM station.

Starting yesterday, it costs only RM3.50 for a passenger to use the service, compared with RM10 previously.

Likewise, the journey between the Subang Jaya KTM station and Skypark Terminal now costs RM2, down from RM4.50, while the non-stop journey from KL Sentral to Subang Jaya costs RM2.60, down from RM4.50.

Dr Wee said children aged two to six, primary and secondary school students, senior citizens as well as persons with disabilities would enjoy a further 50% reduction.

“The government is always committed to helping vulnerable groups, especially those in the B40 category, as it wants to provide inclusive development without marginalising any section of society.

“The cost of public transportation is a major factor that affects a person’s cost of living in this country.

“We have introduced various initiatives to help elevate the people’s socio-economic status, so we urge all to take advantage of them,” Dr Wee said, adding that KTMB had also increased the number of trips on the Skypark Link from 25 to 32 daily.

He said that with the fare discounts, the ministry was hoping to see ridership on the Skypark Link increase to 3,000 passengers daily by next year.

“The Skypark Link resumed operations on Oct 15 last year after the pandemic situation improved. At that time, the ridership was around 1,120 daily,” said Dr Wee.

The Skypark Link began operating in May 2018 and is made possible by a branch line from the Subang Jaya KTM station that allows a journey from KL Sentral to the Skypark Terminal station to be done in 37 minutes, including a stop in Subang Jaya.

Two stagecoach services operated by Rapid Bus Sdn Bhd also began stopping at the Skypark Terminal station yesterday to provide wider connectivity.

Operated as one-way loops, RKL772 serves passengers all the way to Pasar Seni, while T804 connects people to the Kwasa Sentral MRT station and the Subang Perdana areas, among others.