by Anthony Loke, Special Assistant to DAP Secretary General
in Petaling Jaya
on 15th April 2002
KLIA Express Should Be More
Innovative in Pricing Strategies
The launching of KLIA Express by Prime Minister, Datuk Seri Dr, Mahathir Mohamad last Saturday should be noted as another milestone achieved by Malaysia as far as development of our transportation industry is concerned. Malaysians have the reasons to be proud of because the launching of the air-rail express have put Kuala Lumpur in par with other leading international cities in the world for having an advance transportation link in the city. Malaysia no doubts have the capabilities of building world-class facilities but nevertheless more importantly is how to make full use of the facilities to benefit the people and the nation. Building the City Terminal, the rail track and the trains is a big challenge that was solved but making the service as a magnet to air travelers is another big challenge for Express Rail Link Sdn. Bhd (ERLSB), the concessionaire for KLIA Express.
One of the major challenges that even worries transport
expert is that the ridership volumes may not achieve its target of 10,000
passengers per day. I personally think that the pullback factor is the price.
Although it claimed that itís the most economical way to travel to KLIA but I
feel strongly that the RM35 charge for one-way ticket is on the high side and
currently thereís no ingenious package to attract commuters. KLIA Express must
be more innovative in its pricing strategies to make it a successful public
transport service comparable to Hong Kong Airport Express or Londonís Heathrow
Express. Let me give a few suggestions to enhance the service and make it more
attractive for travelers.
Review the current price of RM35 and should be in the region of RM25 for one-way.
Introduce special rate for buying return ticket to encourage commuters to use the service for both way. Currently, buying return ticket is the same price ie. RM70 for return.
Introduce special rate for same-day traveler. For example, if a transit passenger arrived in KLIA in the morning and the next flight is only at night, the passenger can go to KL via KLIA Express with a special rate. This package should also attract non-flying commuters like those who accompanying air travelers to airport.
Special arrangements with tour operators like introducing special group scheme for group travelers. Itís too costly for tour operators to use KLIA Express to transfer their passengers to the city currently; imagine a group of 40 travelers (the usual numbers in one tour coach) will cost the operator RM1400 for one-way.
To enhance the image of a loving and caring Malaysian society, all disabled commuters and senior citizens above 55 years old irrespective of citizenships should be given a 50% discount for their travel fare.
Provide free shuttle busses service from the City Air Terminal to major hotels and major dropping points in the city. The ERL Management must ensure that this service must be reliable, convenient and frequent for the commuters.
Information kiosks must be set up around the terminal and friendly and multi-lingual customer service personnel must be stationed in various points around the terminal to help and give first-hand information to commuters.
Value added service like direct luggage transfer to the passengerís hotel will definitely give convenience to passengers who are rushing for meetings or other events.