MRT Putrajaya Line opens tomorrow – we've tried it; here's our experience and guide to KV's new rail line – paultan.org
After much anticipation and some delays, Klang Valley will finally have its second MRT line. The MRT Putrajaya Line will be officially launched tomorrow, March 16, by prime minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim at the Serdang MRT depot, and trains will be open to public at 3pm.
We’ll bring you updates from the launch, but here’s all you need to know about the MRT Putrajaya Line, or PYL as they call it internally. MRT Corp held a media preview yesterday where we were learned all about the new line from them and Rapid Rail, sampled the train and stations, and enjoyed fresh views of familiar places from above. It’s truly worth the wait.
The MRT Putrajaya Line is a 57.7 km line with 36 stations. It starts at Kwasa Damansara (a new township next to Kota Damansara and Sungai Buloh), which has been operating since December 2016 as part of the MRT Kajang Line, and ends at Putrajaya Sentral in Malaysia’s administrative capital.
Tomorrow is the launch of the full line with the opening of the 38.7 km section Phase 2. The first phase of PYL from Kwasa Damansara to Kampung Batu has been running since June 2022, but it has seen limited use as those living in Kepong/Jinjang and Bandar Sri Damansara couldn’t get to KL CBD directly with the line. As for those living in the south of the Klang Valley, finally.
Of the 57.7 km, 44.2 km is elevated, while 13.5 km of the alignment – in the city centre – is underground. There are nine stations below ground, and they are from Sentul Barat (along Jalan Ipoh) to Chan Sow Lin. The stations between these two are Titiwangsa (a big bus/rail hub, Rapid KL is eyeing this as a ‘Second KL Sentral’), Hospital Kuala Lumpur, Raja Uda (where Jalan Tun Razak meets Kg Baru), Ampang Park, Persiaran KLCC, Conlay and Tun Razak Exchange (TRX).
The new MRT line connects many dots in Klang Valley’s rail network. There are a total of 10 interchange/connecting stations linking PYL with every existing train line in KV, from the Monorail to the ERL.
For starters, the PYL and the MRT Kajang Line meet at Kwasa Damansara and TRX in the city centre. This means that those in the south can reach PJ/Damansara seamlessly by MRT – for instance, our photographer Pat, who lives very near the Taman Equine station, can take the PYL to TRX and switch to the Kajang Line. From there, it’s not a long ride to 1 Utama, one of the more popular places for car launches and roadshows. That’s time and cost saved.
Conversely, my home station is Pusat Bandar Damansara (Kajang Line) and I can now switch to the PYL at TRX and head to Putrajaya for a run. I have to try this someday; it surely beats that slog of a drive home on the MEX, where I have the tendency to microsleep after a morning run. These are just two examples of actual scenarios I can think of, off-hand.
The possibilities will be enormous once we factor in all the connections. The other interchange stations are at Titiwangsa (KL Monorail, LRT Ampang/Sri Petaling), Chan Sow Lin (LRT Ampang/Sri Petaling) and Sungai Besi (LRT Sri Petaling). Ampang Park (LRT Kelana Jaya Line) is a connecting station and not an interchange station. The difference is that you can change lines at connecting stations, but you’ll have to tap out and in again. No tapping when you switch trains at interchange stations.
The other connecting stations are with lines not operated by Rapid KL. They are at Sungai Buloh and Sri Damansara Timur on the same stretch of road (KTM Komuter Tg Malim – Port Klang Line), Kampung Batu (KTM Komuter Batu Caves – Pulau Sebang Line) and Putrajaya Sentral (KLIA Transit). Everything, everywhere, just not all at once!
Before I share the train/station experience, let’s talk about Park & Ride and feeder buses, as getting to the MRT station is an important part of the commute. Rapid KL says that there are 31 feeder bus routes covering over 350 km, so there are no shortage of buses to ferry you to stations. Fares are from RM1 to RM2.40 (cashless only) and concession card holders get 50% off. If there’s a route that passes your taman, give the buses a try before dismissing it outright.
If buses aren’t your thing, you can always drive to the station. The PYL has 17 stations with Park & Ride facilities, with a total of 6,416 bays. More bays are coming as we speak – for instance, a multi-storey carpark adjacent to the Putrajaya Sentral station is currently under construction.
The parking charge is RM4.30 per entry per day (RM16.10 maximum if you park overnight), but to enjoy this very reasonable rate, one must use the same Touch n Go card to tap in and out of the MRT. This way, they can weed out non-MRT users, which will have to pay RM3.30 for the first hour and RM1.10 for every subsequent hour. If you tap in and out of the same station without actually taking the train, you’ll pay the standard hourly rates. Don’t try.
Want to makan or get groceries in the area before collecting your car? You have two hours to exit the car park after tapping out of the station – those wearing diver watches, make use of your bezel. Motorcycles pay RM1.10 per day, so if you have a scooter or kapcai at home, fantastic.
Our media preview session started at the Putrajaya Sentral station, which is connected to the ERL’s KLIA Transit station – no long walk, under one roof, very convenient. The ticketing machines are an upgrade from those on the MRT Kajang Line. They have much larger screens, three languages (BM, Mandarin, Tamil) and best of all, the acceptance of debit/credit cards! Yup, just wave your card to pay for tickets, or reload your TnG card here.
You will also see the Visa and Mastercard logos at customer service counters, which are OKU friendly and come with hearing loops. There are also OKU toilets, tactile paving for the blind and a ‘gapless’ (my word, not theirs) and illuminated transition from train to platform for wheelchairs.
Aside from the route map and overall rail network map, stations have a location map to show you the local area around the station. We took the train to Chan Sow Lin (track goes underground near Taman Desa), and that underground station has a signboard to guide you to the correct exit, with each landmark/building having a small picture next to it. Neat.
Chan Sow Lin is an interchange station with the LRT Ampang/Sri Petaling Line, which is on ground level just across the namesake road – once again, the walk is fully covered via a jejantas. Also, both male and female toilets have flip down baby changing tables, which is nice, but the Chan Sow Lin male toilet had only two sinks for a big room, which felt a bit stark.
Last but not least, the trains. The MRT Putrajaya Line has 49 units of electric trains and each train set has four cars with a capacity of 1,200 passengers. It’s a fully automatic driverless system, but the train can be driven manually if needed – at the preview, staff, led by Rapid Rail COO Ramli Shafie, opened a panel at the head of the train that revealed all the controls. Another ‘secret panel’ on the sides of the train hides a wheelchair for emergencies. Also of note are the wheelchair safety belts and CCTVs in the train.
The PYL trains are distinctive. A cute red face with a ‘duck bill’ has brought about the nickname ‘Duckie’; perhaps Rapid could have painted the bill yellow to match the doors and to double down on the duck look! This is in contrast with the MRT Kajang Line’s sleek, futuristic look, a difference that is also reflected in the station design – SBK stations look more atas, PYL stations more square and functional.
It’s more than just aesthetics, though. As someone who likes to stand by the doors to survey the ground from above (you’d be surprised at how different familiar places look from a higher perspective), I appreciate the SBK train’s significantly larger door windows. When standing facing the normal windows, the view out is not good either, obstructed by the frame of the top vents. Anyway, very few people do what I do in trains, so this observation is moot.
It didn’t detract from excitement I had riding the new line, and I’m sure that many will be raring to get on it tomorrow. For many city workers, the PYL will be a game changer that saves so much time and money (RM50 a month for the My50 travel pass across the Rapid KL network), and the Hospital Kuala Lumpur station will benefit senior citizens and those who go to the GH regularly (KPJ Tawakal Hospital is also nearby). The HKL station is equipped with airport-style travelators, too.
Operation hours are from 6am to midnight. The frequency for weekday peak hours is every four to six minutes, while it’s seven to 10 minutes during off-peak hours. On weekends and public holidays, the interval is seven to 15 minutes.
As for journey time, Rapid KL says that an end-to-end ride from Kwasa Damansara to Putrajaya Sentral will take 84 minutes. We didn’t time our preview trip from Putrajaya to Chan Sow Lin as it was a special express journey without stops.
For some, the only question is ‘got free trial?‘. For that, we’ll have to wait for PMX to make the announcement tomorrow, if any. For now, does the MRT Putrajaya Line open up a new commuting route for you? If yes, would you make the switch and roughly how much will you save a month by doing so?
Browse the gallery below for shots of the PYL stations, facilities, train and also views of neighbourhoods and landmarks from the elevated portion of the track. Some of you might even spot your home. Also check out the ‘official product video’ featuring train users from all walks of life – office lady to fitness guy. We hope that you enjoyed this rather different kind of review from the ones you’re used to on this channel. Yours truly and photographer Pat certainly did. Come back tomorrow for the official launch.
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