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Transportation in Kuala Lumpur

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If you are moving to Kuala Lumpur, then you'll be happy to know that it's easy to move around the city. If you are planning to live in the capital for a while, and have a family or pets, it's worth considering buying a car and obtaining a valid driver's licence. Cars are quite expensive in Malaysia but can be a convenient means of exploring your surrounds and commuting to work if you are willing to wake up early to beat some of the traffic.

However, congestion and parking is an issue in some parts of the city, particularly at peak hours from 7am to 9am, and 4pm to 7pm, which can be frustrating. The government is working on expanding lanes but, in the meantime, there are luckily many other means of public transport that are often preferable to driving. Thanks to a variety of developed transport networks, you can get from different parts of the city and even to other parts of Malaysia with relative ease.

Rail services in Kuala Lumpur

There are five main rail services in Kuala Lumpur the monorail, the LRT, the MRT, the KTM Comuter, and the KLIA Express. For those who need to drive a bit before they can jump on either the LRT or MRT, most stations have a secure Park 'n Ride facility, so you can park at the multi-level parking complex next to the LRT or MRT station that is most convenient for you. Entrance for LRT users is RM4 per day and is valid for 24 hours, whereas rates vary for MRT users, from no charge to RM6.50 per day.

Monorail

There is one monorail line in Kuala Lumpur, which operates from 6am each day between 11 elevated stations from KL Sentral (the largest railway station in South-East Asia) to Titiwangsa. You can disembark at various stops along the line to connect to different LRT lines, and this line serves some of KL's busiest neighbourhoods. Trains come every five minutes during peak periods, so this is a very convenient way of travelling to and from Kuala Lumpur's popular districts.

Light Rail Transit (LRT)

The LRT is a public rail transport service operated without a driver that runs along three routes the Kelana Jaya line, the Sri Petaling line and the Ampang line. The lines do get busy during peak periods, but they serve a lot of neighbourhoods and have been able to satisfy much of the transport needs in the capital for locals, expats and tourists alike. It is an affordable and comfortable mode of transport, and the compartments are air-conditioned and clean. The LRT system is being developed to include more stops and more services to the surrounding suburbs.

Mass Rapid Transit (MRT)

The MRT is a fully automatic, remotely-operated train service that runs between 31 stations from Sungai Buloh to Kajang, over a distance of 51km. It comprises of a 41.5km elevated guideway with 24 stations, and a 9.5km tunnel segment with seven underground stations. From July 2017 all its stations are open to the public from 6am every day, and trains are expected to operate at a frequency of 3.3 minutes during peak hours. Seven MRT stations are connected to other transit services, such as the LRT, monorail and airport trains, and 16 of the stations have Park 'n Ride facilities.

KTM Komuter

The KTM Komuter train covers over 280km and accommodates 57 stations. It has two lines the Port Klang (Pelabuhan Klang) line and the Seremban line making it a popular mode of transport for professionals commuting between other areas of the Klang Valley and the city centre. You can transfer between the two lines at KL Sentral station and Putra station, and there are also interchange stations at which travellers can connect to LRT lines.

KLIA Ekspres and KL Transit Train

The KLIA Express service is arguably the most convenient way to travel to and from the airport. Trains come every 15 minutes in peak periods, and the journey takes just 30 minutes from the centre of Kuala Lumpur to KLIA, and 33 minutes to KLIA2.

Alternatively the KL Transit Train is another way to travel between the city centre and the airport. However, it makes more stops along the way and the journey is slightly longer. This is a good option if you need to travel to areas on the outskirts of the city, such as Bandar Tasik Selatan, Putrajaya and Cyberjaya, as well as Salak Tinggi.

Bus services

There are a network of public and private bus services that run reasonably efficiently in Kuala Lumpur, and there are five main bus hubs in the city centre KL Sentral, KLCC, Maluri, Titiwangsa and Pudu Sentral. Travel schedules are hard to predict due to congestion during peak periods, but they start running from 6am every day. Fares depend on zones but can cost from RM1 to RM5 for a journey.

RapidKL is the largest single bus network operator in the country and it currently runs 177 routes around the city. Its BRT Sunway line comprises of seven stops from Sunway-Setia Jaya to USJ7.

The airport bus shuttle is the cheapest way to travel from the aiport to KL Sentral, but the journey takes an hour and operates at 30-minute intervals, so isn't quite as convenient as the train.

Transport costs in Kuala Lumpur

You can pay for the Park 'n Ride, monorail, LRT, MRT, and BRT using a MyRapid TnG card. The ticketing systems on these modes of transport have recently been upgraded to a Touch 'n Go platform to ensure passengers can travel easily on all Rapid KL services.

From July 2017, you can purchase the new MyRapid TnG card at all LRT/ Monorail/ BRT stations for the price of RM15. You can reload your card at Rapid KL Customer Service Counters or any TNG reload point, and the minimum reload is RM10. To save money, you can buy weekly or monthly 'smart packages' to travel by LRT, monorail or BRT Sunway, and it's worth noting that there is a 50% discount on LRT and Monorail between 6am and 7am.

Concession cards that provide a half-price discount are available for Malaysian citizens who are either over 60 years old, have a disability, or are students.

Taxis

If you don't need to avoid traffic, then taking a taxi is a convenient way of travelling to your destination, especially if it's late in the evening or you're travelling in a group as this will make it more cost efficient. Taxis are plentiful in Kuala Lumpur and operate around-the-clock from most busy places, and rates tend to start at about RM3 for the first kilometre and RM0.87 per kilometre thereafter. You can expect a surcharge after midnight.

Although much cheaper than in most Western counrties, taxi drivers can sometimes try to set a higher fixed price for tourists and expats, so be prepared to either negotiate or ask for the meter to be turned on before you sit in the taxi.

If you find a taxi driver who you like, then it's worth asking for their business card so you can call them directly to collect you. This is particularly useful if you live in a rather isolated housing development.

 Useful links:

KLIA Ekspres
Kuala Lumpur Light Rail Transit
My Rapid

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