The Best Public Transport To Get Around In The Klang Valley
About 1,000 cars are registered daily in Kuala Lumpur alone, which is why the roads today have been increasingly congested. A survey found that traffic congestion in the Malaysian capital was up by 34%.
It’s so bad that Malaysians have complained of being stuck in traffic for so long that it’s become the worst part of their day.
So it goes without saying that the best option here is to look for other modes of transportation. The good news is in the last few years, we’ve seen an upgrade on major rails and links with new laws being passed for ride-sharing services. But with such an intricate system, where does one start?
Fret not, we’ve got you covered. Below, we break down the cost and time it takes using these services so that you’ll have it easier the next time you traipse across the Klang Valley.
Rail transport in Malaysia consists of heavy rail, light rapid and mass rapid (transit), and monorail. There’s also the airport rail link and a funicular railway line.
1. KTM Komuter
Introduced in 1995, the KTM Komuter provides local rail services in Kuala Lumpur and the surrounding Klang Valley suburban areas. The KTM is commonly used by the locals as it reaches a lot of key areas from Klang right up to the neighbouring state of Negri Sembilan.
Tickets and fares
Tickets are sold at counters and through vending machines available at all stations and halts. Fares start as low as RM1.20 and can go up to RM21 per trip, depending on the location. For detailed schedule, visit the KTM Komuter page.
A one-way ticket to Mid Valley Mega Mall from Subang Jaya, or vice versa, would cost RM3.20, while fares from KL Sentral to Seremban would cost RM9.20 one-way, which is pretty affordable.
Pros and cons
The KTM has one of the biggest reach in terms of intercity stations, as it goes all the way to Negeri Sembilan. It’s ideal for people living in the suburbs, especially in reaching the city centre.
But it does have a reputation of having technical issues where the trains would stop midway, causing plenty of delays and missed appointments for many. So it’s not the best option if you’re in a rush.
2. LRT & MRT
The LRT and MRT are extensive light and mass-rapid train systems and will be continuously growing for years to come. The current lines for the LRT are mainly the Kelana Jaya Line (formerly known as PUTRA) and the Ampang Line (formerly known as STAR), which began operation in the 1990s.
In 2016, both lines were extended to cover more areas within Subang Jaya and Putra Heights, giving a total of 73 stations, with two more reserved to be used in the future on the Ampang line.
They have a combined ridership of 160 million as of 2017, making it one of the most popular modes of public transport in Malaysia!
The MRT is a newly developed rapid transit that span from Sungai Buloh to Kajang. As of July 17, 2017, there are 31 stations that cover areas such as Bandar Utama, Mutiara Damansara and TTDI with three more stations planned in the future.
More lines are expected in the future to reach areas such as Putrajaya and Cyberjaya, so watch out for those!
All of these trains are connected at various stations, with KL Sentral being the most popular due to having all the lines within or nearby the station. There’s also Masjid Jamek, Pasar Seni and Subang Jaya (for those taking the KTM) as other exchange areas to look out for as well.
Tickets and fares
Tickets are sold at all the stations via the counter and machines available. Tickets are as low as RM0.80 and as high as RM9.70 one-way depending on where you’re going. For detailed information, you can check out the RapidKL website.
If you’re taking the MRT from TTDI to KLCC LRT station, you will need to pay RM4.30 but you will have to change stations at Pasar Seni.
Thankfully, there’s no extra payments during the exchange and you will just need to walk to the station! But if you’re taking the LRT all the way to KLCC on the same Kelana Jaya line from Bangsar, it will only cost RM2.70 per trip.
Pros and cons
During non-peak hours, the wait can last up to seven minutes, which may not mean much if you’re not in a rush but the opposite for those on a tight schedule.
And while most of the interchanges do not require you to change tokens, there are some where you are required to. For example, if you’re changing from the LRT at KL Sentral to either the monorail or MRT, you will have to walk from the main station to the monorail or MRT station, and you will also need to purchase new ticket or token at the respective station.
The Kuala Lumpur monorail opened in 2003 and links areas within the centre of Kuala Lumpur that were not served by the other urban rail systems. It’s the best train to use within the city centre with 11 stations, connecting areas such as Bukit Bintang, Sungai Wang, Berjaya Times Square and more. The monorail is also under the RapidKL, which means it is possible to do interchanges to other trains at certain monorail stations.
Tickets and fares
You can purchase monorail tokens over the counter or at the machines in the station. The price ranges from RM0.90 to RM6.70. For fares for a specific destination, check the RapidKL website. Ticket from KL Sentral to Bukit Bintang would cost RM2.50 one-way.
Pros and cons
The monorail is perfect for tourists who would like to explore the city centre as it covers key areas such as Bukit Bintang and Chow Kit. However, the monorail trains are a lot smaller in comparison to the LRT and MRT, which means it can get overcrowded easily.
Before trains, the only public transport available (other than taxis) were buses. Unlike the olden days of having mini buses that could get into smaller roads and more neighbourhoods, the buses today are bigger and have a wider reach compared to before. There are even electric buses on the road today! So, here’s what you need to know.
1. RapidKL Bus & MRT Feeder Bus
Today a majority of the buses are operated by RapidKL and the MRT Feeder buses. The RapidKL buses cover areas from Ampang and Cheras, to Damansara and Puchong.
These buses have a wider reach and will also have a stop at a nearby LRT or MRT station if you need to get to one. But they stop at many popular places that are not linked by trains such as shopping malls and recreational centres.
The MRT Feeder Bus’s goal is to help people get to the closest MRT station with ease. As not everyone can live close to the MRT station, these buses aim to bridge that gap for those who would like to use the MRT.
Tickets and fares
The bus driver will take both payments of cash and Touch n Go, though it’s advisable to have exact change. Depending on where you’re going, the fares can cost from RM1.00 to RM5.00. Check your fares on RapidKL website. A bus ride from SMK Taman Tun Dr Ismail to the Bandar Utama MRT will cost RM1.00, if you are paying by cash.
Pros and cons
Buses are the most affordable mode of transport among all public transportation,
However, be prepared to brace traffic jams just like all other road users. And they have a reputation of not being punctual, which can be frustrating if you’re in a rush.
The BRT is a special closed bus system where they have an elevated guideway that does not use the same road as other vehicles — this means they are spared from the nightmarish traffic congestion that we see everyday. They also use battery-run electric buses instead of the usual buses.
There is only the Sunway Line for now, which covers the popular theme park, Sunway Lagoon and shopping mall, Sunway Pyramid. It currently only has seven stations, but more BRT stations are set to be built in the future.
Tickets and fares
As they share the same line as the LRT, you can buy a ticket at the combined LRT station (which is the USJ 7 LRT station currently) and at the other BRT stations. They’re available at the machines and over the main counters of each station. If you take the BRT from the USJ 7 LRT station to go to Sunway Lagoon station, it would cost RM4.00.
Pros and cons
Because the BRT uses an elevated track for only BRTs, there’s no issues with delays or being stuck in traffic. But this is also why the BRT can be pretty expensive compared to the other trains and buses. The higher cost is also due to its high maintenance and initial cost of the system.
Malaysian taxis are easily available around the Klang Valley, making it a great go-to option when you need transport ASAP. They (typically) use meters to calculate the overall cost of your transport, and these calculations also depend on the type of taxi you get.
The difference in these taxis are that they offer different levels of comfort and space. The budget taxis are smaller and are the best for transporting up to four people and medium-sized luggage and baggage. The TEKS1M and Executive Taxis are bigger and they can transport up to six people and/or carry more luggage.
Fares and fares
The cost of a taxi depends on the type of taxi, distance and time it takes to reach your destination. Here’s how the current calculations are done for these three common taxis:
|Taxis||Initial fare |
(Inclusive of 1st km
or first 3 minutes)
|Subsequent distance||Subsequent time|
|Budget Taxi||RM3||RM0.25 / 200m||RM0.25 / 36sec|
|TEKS1M||RM4||RM0.30 / 200m||RM0.30 / 36sec|
|Executive Taxis||RM6||RM0.20 / 100m||RM0.20 / 21sec|
Here’s an example of how taxi fares are calculated: The initial cost of a budget taxi (inclusive of the first KM or first 3 minutes) would be RM3 and would go up by RM0.25 for every 200m or for every subsequent time of 36 seconds.
For example, a 15-minute budget taxi ride with smooth traffic from KLCC to Mont Kiara could be around RM16.45. However, if you find yourself in slow traffic, you could see yourself paying up to RM20 and more.
There are also additional costs to look out for such as an additional 50% for trips between midnight and 6am, an additional RM2.00 for advance phone booking, and you even have to pay for toll charges unless you book your taxi using authorised coupons.
If you’re trying to get a taxi to and from the airport, the price ranges as well though they are set depending on the different zones. A budget taxi from the airport to the city centre of KL could cost around RM80 or more, and the cost will depend on the type of taxi you get as well.
Pros and cons
Taxis are useful as they’re more easily available in areas that you may not get other public transportations.
Even with the occasional drivers who haggle, Malaysian taxi fares are still among the most affordable in the world!
Want to reach your destination comfortably without having to spend a lot? Then e-hailing services is the way to go. Now that e-hailing services are legal in Malaysia, it’s commuters’ favourite way of getting around in the Klang Valley.
Currently the big names in e-hailing services are Uber and Grab (formerly known as MyTeksi). While they are the same in many ways, they have distinct differences, such as:
Regardless of your choice, you will need to download their app on your smartphone and register in order to use their service. You will also need an internet connection when booking an e-hailing service, so all of this will need to be considered if you do not have a Wi-Fi connection or mobile data. As long as you have the app and your phone is connected to the internet, getting a driver is simple and fast.
Fares and charges
The best part about e-hailing services is that rates are often fixed, so you don’t have to worry too much about having to pay more than the expected fare stated. But you may be paying more than usual if the service is in high demand or due to traffic, but the surged prices will be shown when you are booking the ride.
|Per KM Rate||RM0.60||RM1.30*|
|Per Minute Rate||RM0.25||RM0.00|
For example, if you’re living in TTDI, taking any e-hailing service to KLCC, it would cost about RM13 to RM18. But when there is a high demand, it could cost over RM20. The fares do not include any toll charges incurred.
The trip would take about 20 minutes (depending on traffic), and would likely still be a lot more affordable than taking a taxi. On the plus side, you do have the option of either paying via cash or credit card, so you don’t have to worry too much about having enough change.
Pros and cons
E-hailing services are incredibly popular these days, especially since they come with frequent promotions that could make your rides more affordable. Grab now comes with reward points with every ride you take, which you can accumulate and redeem in other ways such as free rides or even discounts at certain stores or restaurants.
They also get you to the place that you want as fast as a taxi for a lower price. But if it’s peak hour or if it’s in high demand, the cost can be as much as taking a taxi, or even more. If the driver who accepted your request is further than expected, you may see yourself waiting up to 10 minutes, and if it’s the same cost as taking a taxi, it’s a loss on your part.
The best way to optimise your transport experience
While taxis and e-hailing services allow you to pay by cash or credit card, almost all of the available public transport encourage you to use a Touch n Go card. Not only is it the most convenient payment option to use across all platforms, it also gives you cheaper rates compared to using a token!
A Touch n Go card costs RM10 and can be bought at any train station. You can fill it up with as much credit as you would like and use it across all the different trains and buses around in Malaysia. That bus trip goes down from RM1.00 to RM0.80 when you use a Touch n Go card. A trip from Bangsar LRT to KLCC LRT would cost RM2.70 if you purchase a token by cash, but using a Touch n Go card would only cost RM2.40. Taking the MRT from the TTDI station to the KLCC LRT station will cost RM3.80 using a Touch n Go card, but cost RM4.30 with cash.
You can also sign up for special packages with the RapidKL Touch n Go card, which will give you even more savings. Like that trip from Bangsar LRT station to KLCC LRT station would cost RM2.30 with the MyRapid SMART30 package.
The downside to the Touch n Go card though, is that reloading may cost you RM0.53 service charge when you do it over the counters in the train stations.
Here are some places you can reload your Touch n Go with no reload fees:
- Selected shops or pharmacies
- Touch n Go reload machines
- CIMB ATM
- Tambah nilai toll booth
- Touch n Go customer service
- Selected petrol stations
For the full list of places to reload your Touch n Go with no reload fees, go to Touch n Go website.
If you’re figuring out how to make the transitions between trains and buses, you can use RapidKL’s Plan My Journey website to help you prepare for your trip. You can select your current location and your destination, and it will show you which transport to take, how long it will take and an estimated fare. For the e-hailing services, look for promo codes to save on your fares.
Choosing the best mode of public transportation can be a challenge, but it all boils down to your level of comfort, security and budget. You can always mix and match the options above to make your travel experience comfortable and within your budget. For example, if waiting for a bus isn’t for you, consider taking Uber, Grab or taxi to bring you to the closest train station.
With all of these options, you’re bound to find the one (or many) type of transportation that suits you the most. So, go out there and explore the Klang Valley the best way you like!