It is untrue that the tickets of the East Coast Rail Link (ECRL) will be six times that of airfares, as its fee structure is set to be as affordable as Keretapi Tanah Melayu Berhad (KTMB) fares, said Datuk Seri Dr Wee Ka Siong.

The Transport Minister also took to task Terengganu PKR chairman Azan Ismail for claiming that the ECRL tickets were to be priced exorbitantly.

“Azan’s claims that ECRL passenger tickets will be six times of air fares is purely speculative, baseless and devoid of any hard facts.

“The ECRL passenger fee structure will be similar to KTMB’s fare structure, which will be affordable to the public, from those living in the East Coast all the way to the Klang Valley.

In essence, Dr Wee said the fee structure of ECRL tickets would be based on affordability and effective for operations and maintenance at the same time.

“Most importantly, it should not pose any undue burden to the public,” added Dr Wee.

Dr Wee also stressed that Putrajaya had no intentions of developing public transport infrastructures that did not serve the public well, or were priced too exorbitantly.

“In recovering the development costs of for the ECRL, there will be other business that should generate revenue in tandem with the cargo component to serve a multitude of industries from manufacturing to fabrication, which should comprise more than 70% of ECRL’s revenue source once it is expected to be operative in 2027,” added Dr Wee.

Dr Wee also stressed that ECRL’s fare structure would need to obtain the government’s approval prior to operations.

“This is in line with the Land Public Transport Act’s requirements and the Railway Operator License under the purview of Apad as the regulator,” added Dr Wee.

On May 3, Dr Wee had said traffic congestion on the east coast, especially during the festive seasons, was expected to be resolved once the ECRL was completed in 2026.

In response, Azan told MalaysiaKini on May 5 that the ECRL tickets could be expensive due to costly construction costs.

Azan had claimed the ECRL tickets could be more than six times the amount of a regular flight ticket to the same destination.

ECRL is a 665km route that runs through Kelantan, Terengganu, and Pahang, and then linking to Port Klang via the northern part of Selangor.

It is expected to be completed in 2026 and it is set to be operational by January 2027.

– The Star –