It should be a habit to look to another nations for inspiration, especially where their innovations or advancements are something to be admired and spread. In the case of RapidKL, they’re looking to Japan’s Tokyo Central Railway station - the kind of station that has everything.
Should this ambitious undertaking come to form, Malaysians will (in a few years) be able to do a lot more at their nearest rail station - things like buy air tickets, renew road tax, pay bills, get their favourite coffee, or do a little light shopping, all in addition to commuting.
“We are re-engineering ourselves to meet the demand of users. We’re going for all the stations by 2020,” Prasarana group chief executive Datuk Azmi Abdul Aziz told The Star.
If they do base their likeness for this project to the Tokyo Central Railway Station, it could be that they intend to offer shops and services even beyond the ticket barriers.
“In Tokyo, you have people converging there not for the train but for the services,” he said.
It seems that Prasarana has already taken the first steps to this upgrade by reaching out to specific businesses. One example of this would be the Bukit Bintang Monorail station which has been recently renamed with AirAsia and as such has an airline ticket sales centre within it.
While this undertaking does not have a proper name just yet, Prasarana will reportedly be pursuing this concept of a more integrated hub-like station “aggressively” starting from 2016. Datuk Azmi admitted that many stations had a lot of empty and unused spaces both before and after the ticket gates.
He hopes that this would make the public, apart from encouraging the use of public transportation, view the stations as much more as mere transit points and that it would bring much more convenience to different parts along the various rail routes.
By 2020, when the transformation is slated to be completed, there are expected to be more than 130 RapidKL stations within the Klang Valley thanks to the addition of the MRT Line 1 and LRT3.