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MRT3 Circle Line – Build the demand or let demand build the need?

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MRT3 Circle Line – Build the demand or let demand build the need?

Ever wondered what would have happened if we were to build all those nice high-rise units around KLCC FIRST and then only we build KLCC? Ever wondered what would have happened if we listened to some argument years before KLIA was completed that Subang Airport was all we needed? Ever wondered what would have happened if our PLUS expressway was not built yet until we are certain that the number of cars in Malaysia has reached a certain threshold?

Looking a little further. Ever wondered what would have happened if Singapore waited until its population grew to a certain threshold before they started reclamation projects? Ever wondered what would have happened to London if Heathrow Airport in London was built ONLY after London’s population has risen a lot and they have ascertained that there are indeed the demand for that airport? All these would be disastrous for the city planner and indeed, damaging to the economy and even inflating the cost of development too.

This was the reason Petronas Twin Tower is the catalyst for all the developments after it was built. PLUS was the catalyst for all the connection and economic integration between different states. This was also the reason why Singapore is still able to build affordable HDB flats for its people versus having to suddenly needing to look for land when it’s too late. This was also the reason why Heathrow Airport is one of the catalyst to all the economic activities from within UK and outside UK as well.

Yes, MRT3 Circle Line is needed and demand needs to be built, not the other way round

In an article slightly earlier in themalaysianreserve.com, this was what some experts said. Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport international president Datuk Ts Abd Radzak Abd Malek said modern infrastructure facilities such as MRT3 could be constructed ahead of the ridership demand before it becomes too late and the cost would be a lot higher at the time. Economically, he said MRT3 would encourage new transit-oriented or transit-assisted developments that will attract new investments along the alignment seen in the case of MRT1.

CGS-CIMB Securities Sdn Bhd analyst Sharizan Rosely said in a report that the overall cost of the MRT3 project could be reduced substantially by 30% to 40% of the total original cost of RM45 billion, mainly attributed to the reduction of certain underground scopes. Thus this could bring the total estimated revised cost to between RM27 billion and RM32 billion. Please feel free to read the article in full here: themalaysianreserve.com

Drive or public transport?

Frankly, if given a choice, I would drive because it gives me the convenience. I could start my journey anytime, I could drop by many places before my final destination versus being confined only the stations long the line. However, I do realise that if I drive, the cost of owning the car would set me back hundreds, followed by petrol another few hundred and then there’s the toll as well as parking which will be another few hundred every month. This is one determining factor and this is also one reason why demand for public transport will increase in the future.

Petrol Prices will continue to be very volatile. It may not be today but if there are some unforeseen circumstances, then it would suddenly go up and if we take out the subsidy totally, many would have to spend even higher. Let’s not forget the tolls which will also be increasing and definitely not reducing every year.

Last but not least, when the price of land keep increasing, the opportunity cost of NOT converting the car parking space into a new development is super high. The land owner will prefer to convert versus earning parking fees slowly… This is why if they did not convert, they would raise the parking fees. When we travel, do look at the parking cost per hour in Melbourne, Tokyo, Hong Kong and even Singapore for an idea how high could parking fees go to.

Public transport would become a choice for many when all the costs become unbearable

Please do not tell me that Singaporeans love the MRT because they love the MRT or that the MRT stations are all right next to their HDB flats. I have been to Singapore at least 30 times in the past 23 years. Most of the time, wherever you stay, you will still need to walk a certain distance to the nearest MRT station and for some areas, the bus stop which will then bring you to the MRT station.

As for the car prices, please do go and check it out yeah. While SGD is 3x more than RM, it’s also true that owning a car can only be afforded by few people. Sometimes, just paying for the Certificate of Entitlement alone would have cost the buyer many international vacations. This is why most Singaporeans take the MRT. Imagine if our Honda City which is RM80,000 here is priced at SGD26,000 there and they have a 5-year loan which meant the monthly instalment is just SGD400 or lower? Everyone would buy a car… Simple fact. We have not yet started on the car park fees in the CBD within Singapore as well as the “toll” for passing along certain streets too.

I would love to take the MRT3 Circle Line in the future

I will still be taking the MRT on an occasional basis. Will not stop driving at the moment. However, I am supportive of MRT3 Circle Line. Let’s take the MRT3 Circle Line when it’s available yeah. Please stop pushing this back again even if the government of the day changes. There are things which should continue. There are no politics needed. At the same time, please start thinking about the GST too. When they are needed, they are needed. Cheers.

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