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Ipoh Is Getting Its Own LRT, And Netizens Are Puzzled

Ipoh Is Getting Its Own LRT, And Netizens Are Puzzled

Is Ipoh’s LRT ride on a track to nowhere?

Fernando Fong

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Recently, it was announced that Ipoh will have its own Light Rail Transit (LRT) service.

Doubts have been raised about the project which has been touted to transform how Ipoh folks commute.

The promised service frequency of six minutes, with two routes of 16 stations each covering a total length of 58 kilometres, have been thrown into question.

The project supposedly covers the Ipoh city centre and surrounding suburbs.

Ipoh Locals Are Unimpressed

Facebook user WJ Wong questioned the price tag of the project.

He said the project is likely to incur unexpected change in its budget that ends up increasing the total project cost. 

Steven Lee, a Green Project Management (GPM) consultant and assessor, said the geologic conditions in Ipoh may not be suitable for tunnels and underground excavations.

Ipoh rockbed is near the ground level. Only Yik Foong Complex has two levels of basement parking and this was because they were extracting tin ore. Other buildings have sub-basement parking or above ground parking. To build a tunnel under Ipoh will be very, very expensive.

Steven Lee, a Green Project Management (GPM) consultant and assessor
An artist’s impression of the Ipoh LRT project. (Credit: Facebook)

The project, however, did not specify if it would involve underground construction.

Others are concerned if there will be sufficient demand for that mode of transportation to recover the cost, especially for a city as large and widespread as Ipoh.

Facebook user HY Takada said it would be difficult to get people to move away from using cars and motorcycles in Ipoh. 

Everything is within a 20 minute drive and it’s far easier to use a car than to drive to station / park your car /go onto the train and reverse the process when you are done in town.

Facebook user HY Takada

Some Ipoh folks are also against the project because it might cut through the city’s beautiful landscapes of limestone hills.

The public also expressed concern that corruption and wastage are particularly rampant in large and uncommon projects where the government is the client/owner.

Netizens criticising the Ipoh LRT project on Facebook.

Meanwhile, Supporters Have Also Dug In.

Dr Ho Tak Ming from the Perak Heritage Society told The Rakyat Post that the project, despite being a demand on public resources, is a necessity.

However, it must be implemented properly, he stressed.

Public transportation contributes to a healthier environment by improving air quality and reducing oil consumption. Furthermore, the infrastructure of Ipoh – once the centre of one of the world’s biggest tin mining communities – had remained the same for 40 years since the tin industry collapsed in the late 1980s.

Dr Ho Tak Ming to TRP
Proposed routes of the Ipoh LRT project. (Credit: Ipoh City Council)

Still A Distant Dream

The LRT, announced by the Ipoh City Council (MBI) recently, is part of the Draft Ipoh City Local Plan 2035 (Replacement).

The proposed routes are Meru Raya-Ipoh-Batu Gajah (30km) and Bandar Sunway-Ipoh-Simpang Pulai (28km) and the service frequency is six minutes.

The stations planned for the first route are in Meru Raya, Jelapang, Manjoi, Silibin, Medan Kidd, main stations, UTC Ipoh, Pasir Puteh, Pasir Pinji, Falim, Menglembu, Pengkalan, Station 18, Lahat, Batu Gajah Perdana and Batu Gajah.

For the second route, the planned stations are in Bandar Sunway, Tambun, Ipoh Garden, Stadium, Hospital, Medan Raya then through the main station and to Maju Rapat station, Medan Gopeng, Gunung Rapat, Taman Chempaka, Ampang and Simpang Pulai.

Netizens expressed hope that it would also cover neighbouring satellite towns such as like Menglembu, Lahat, Batu Gajah, Gopeng and Chemor with their industrial base.


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