First impression of Subang Airport Skypark Link

The new Skypark Link provides the missing link between Subang Airport and the network of public transport in the Klang Valley. The service should alleviate traffic congestion around the airport and reduce traffic jams on Subang Airport road, especially on peak hours. The pluses & minuses of the service are laid out in this article.

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Subang Airport is popular but… mind the traffic jams!

Many people living in the western and northern parts of the Klang Valley, Subang Airport will be their first choice for taking domestic flights. This is because of the relative proximity of Subang Airport to most parts of the Klang Valley.

When I was working and living in Penang, managing a university college, I tried to spend some time with my family at least once every 4 – 6 weeks. Subang Airport which is only 13 km from my home in USJ was my favourite airport to commute between Penang and home.

However, Persiaran Lapangan Terbang Subang (Subang Airport Road) is notorious for traffic jams, especially during peak hours and whenever there is a heavy downpour.

For my usual early morning flights to Penang, the same journey from USJ to Subang Airport would take only 15 minutes!  Because of this, I would usually plan my journey to depart from Subang Airport as early in the morning as possible. Likewise, I usually would try to arrive at Subang Airport from Penang after 8:30 pm to avoid the peak hour’s crawl, especially around the Citta Mall area.

Once it took my wife over 2 hours to travel the 13 km from USJ to pick me up at Subang Airport during off-peak hour of around 8 pm. There were two accidents, one of each side of the road! The return journey was a little better, it took just over 90 minutes.

Enter Subang Skypark Link

When news of the test run of Subang Skypark Link broke, I was naturally delighted. Although I no longer work in Penang, the introduction of this service from KL Sentral to Subang Airport (Skypark Terminal) via Subang Jaya station is a great development. Subang Skypark Link has the potential to reduce traffic on the Subang Airport Road and allows air passengers a more dependable mode of transport to other parts of the Klang Valley.

The intermediate stop at Subang Jaya station is a great move as this station is the interchange for both the LRT and KTM Kommuter services. Thus passengers have a choice of connections  from the Subang Skypark train where the LRT (Kelana Jaya Line) will link up with the Sri Petaling line at Putera Heights Station. For KTM Kommuter passengers, the train service to Port Klang is accessible via Subang Jaya station.

Test-riding Subang Skypark Link services

My wife and I decided to take advantage of the month-long free test-ride of Subang Skypark Link to check out the new rail service recently. We began our ride from Subang Jaya to Skypark Terminal. The KTM staff was polite and helpful. Of course KTM would not give us a free ride from Subang Jaya station to KL Sentral. There was already the LRT or Kommuter train that ply that route too (and we would have to pay!).

Here is my two cents’ worth on this service.

The confusing platform at Subang Jaya Station

Both KTM Kommuter heading to KL Sentral (opposite direction) & Skypark Link trains share the same platform, a bit confusing for commuters!

At the Subang Jaya train station, the Skypark Link train shares the same platform with KTM Kommuter train. This is fine as this is common practice for KTM Kommuter services and with good announcement system and signages on train, commuters will be well informed. However in this case the KL Sentral bound Kommuter train was using the same platform as Skypark Link train but travel on the opposite direction! So shall we look left or right for our train?

The 3-coach Skypark Link trains look refurbished!

Distinctive orange colour scheme, the 3-coach Skypark link train looks very unique.
The dull looking roof of the coaches of Skypark Link makes these look like refurbished rolling stock.

Skypark Link trains use a distinctive orange paint on its bodywork. This is good as it distinguishes the 3-coach trains from the normal Kommuter trains. However, looking at these Skypark Link trains from the outside, they look like refurbished rolling stocks where the top of the trains look dull giving the impression that these coaches have been lying around idle for a while!

However, once inside the coaches, the bench-type seats and railings are well designed, cleaned with the interior brightly lit.

Spacious interior of Skypark Link’s train. Bench-type seats give more standing & baggage room.

“Scenic” Route

The track from Subang Jaya station to Skypark Terminal actually first goes west, towards Batu Tiga station but veers to the right shortly after passing by Empire Shopping Mall (on the left) near Subang Racquet & Golf Centre. It traverses the Federal Highway and Persiaran Kerjaya via two “tunnels” . It then passes by two golf clubs on the right, with the Glenmarie industry area on its left. The track also rises above North Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) and Subang Airport Road (near Ara Damansara Medical Centre). After that it follows the course of Sungai Damansara on its right before arriving at Skypark Terminal, just opposite Subang Airport. Although the brochure indicated that the journey from Subang Jaya station to Skypark Terminal would take 7 minutes, our test-ride took about thrice as long, at around 20 minutes (the return journey took around 15 minutes).

The final stretch of the Skypark link route passes through some scenic golf courses before approaching Subang Airport. (Source of map: Google Map, the Skypark Terminal to Subang Jaya station route is highlighted in red)

The new track is built from Skypark Terminal station to Subang Jaya station. From Subang Jaya station onward, it shares the same track as the existing KTM Kommuter line.

Nice Skypark Terminal station but….

The Skypark Terminal station is very nicely built. It is spacious and well lit.

Spacious walkways of Skypark Terminal station.

But I wish there is more than just one escalator for each platform as many commuters will have baggage to carry and it is a pain to carry these while walking down the stairs. Of course there are the lifts for the disabled which is good.

Both platforms are served with only one escalator each!

The passageway leading to the exit is spacious. The Customer Service centre is located just at the exit.

Ticket machines are already installed. But on the day of our visit, none of these are operational. I think the ticket system will also accept Touch N Go cards.

Ticket machines are installed but as of May 18, 2018 fares have not been announced yet.

Clear LED information boards are strategically located in several places, informing commuters of the train services. I hope the information on this line could be “live” and constantly updated as in the LRT system.

LED signboards giving information on train services are strategically located.

Skypark Terminal Station is  located at the far end of the car park opposite Subang Airport terminal which means that commuters will have to use the single overhead bridge to cross Subang Airport Road.

Wide entrance to Skypark Terminal.
Skypark Terminal station, viewed from the car park which looks neglected.

Although the “direct route” from the entrance of Skypark Terminal Station to the overhead bridge to reach Subang Airport is around 300 m, if one is to use the covered walkway, the distance will be another 200m at least.

A pre-existing overhead bridge links the car park plus Skypark Terminal walkway to Subang Airport. This allows travellers to cross the busy Subang Airport Road & access roads within Subang Airport safely.

Hence there is no fully enclosed (and sheltered) walkway between Subang Airport and Skypark Terminal. And the walk from Skypark Terminal station to Subang Airport can be very taxing for those who are travelling with a lot of baggage.

The walkway running the perimeter of the car park to the overhead bridge, has only a roof which does not fully protect the travellers from the elements.

The overhead bridge to cross Subang Airport Road is serviced by a lift which is a little bit on the small side, especially troublesome for those with large-sized luggage.

The walkway is joined with the overhead bridge where a lift helps travellers to move up 3 flights of stairs.
A small lift is provided at both ends of the overhead bridge. These are a bit small for those with a lot of baggage.

The overhead bridge is facilitated with ramps on both ends which means that commuters with bags or those on wheelchairs can roll up or down the staircase at both ends.

A ramp is found on each end of the overhead bridge.

Once you have arrived at Subang Airport, you need to remember that the overhead bridge brings you to the first floor of the airport. Again, if you have a lot of baggage, you will need to navigate to the escalator to get down to the ground floor for check-in etc.

The overhead bridge ends at the first floor of Subang Airport terminal building.

Plus points

  1. The Skypark Terminal Link provides a more reliable (compared to cars) for air passengers to get to / from Subang Airport.
  2. The journey time (when fully operational) of less than half an hour from the heart of KL (KL Sentral) and 7 minutes from Subang Jaya station means the “last mile” for air travel using Subang Airport is that much more certain. This is provided KTM does not practice train cancellations, delay etc. that are the common grouses of commuters relying on KTM Kommuter services.
  3. The link provides a much needed linkage between Subang Airport and KLIA / KLIA2 via the combination of ERL-Skypark Link. This will facilitate travellers that need to shuttle between the two airports to catch flights, especially domestic flights via Subang Airport.
  4. Skypark Terminal station, aside from some minor quarks (lack of escalators for both “going up” and “going down”, is spacious, with good LED signages.

Minus points

  1. Skypark Link needs to share the rail track with KTM Kommuter from Subang Jaya Station towards KL Sentral (and vice versa). This means any delays due to congestion on this track will have an impact on the timing and reliability of the service.
  2. The lack of a seamless linkage between the Skypark Terminal Station and Subang Airport present a challenge for travellers with young children and lots of baggage. The designated partially-covered  walkway, requires users to go around the perimeter of the car park, adding considerable distance for travellers to walk. As this walkway only has a roof, travellers are exposed to the elements if there is a heavy rain.
  3. The sharing of KTM Kommuter’s rail track from Subang Jaya Station towards KL Sentral means that Skypark Link’s train services will be subjected to the congestion experienced by KTM Kommuter users currently. Thus travellers using this service, compared to the ERL, will have to budget at least another 30  to 45 minutes extra time to use Skypark Link if they do not wish to run a risk of missing their flights at Subang Airport. A simple solution may be to just concentrate the Skypark Link trains to ply between Subang Jaya station and Subang Airport, where the track (aside from a small stretch between Subang Jaya and Batu Tiga station) is fully dedicated for the Skypark Link. This will inconvenient travellers who have to transfer either from KTM Kommuter or the LRT (coming from KL Sentral).  However the LRT service is a lot more reliable. The journey via LRT from KL Sentral to Subang Jaya will take around 35 minutes which is not too long compared to having the risk of delays.

A good addition to public transport

Despite the shortcomings, I think the Skypark Link train services is a good addition to the Klang Valley’s public transport network. The interchange with other mode of public transport  at KL Sentral and Subang Jaya stations provide more travel options to travellers compared to the current over reliance on road transport. It will be better if the reported service intervals of once every hour (from June 01, 2018) could be increase during peak hours for flights (such as early in the morning and from 6 pm to 8 pm).

At the time of writing this article, the fares for the two stages of Skypark Link services have not been announced. I would expect that a fare of  RM10 or lower for the full KL Sentral to Skypark Terminal (Subang Airport) and RM3 or lower between Subang Jaya and Skypark Terminal will be fair and will attract good ridership.

RapidKL needs more feeder bus services to link up LRT & MRT

Why’s RapidKL, having a great cross link feeder bus route like T807 that links up a LRT station with a closeby MRT station, has chosen to keep so quiet about it? How come RapidKL can design a great linkage route in T807 and not able to do the same for other feeder bus routes to link up more LRT stations with closeby MRT stations? Why RapidKL launched the MRT feeder bus service with a cashless system that does not accept your own Myrapid cards but “traditional” TouchnGo cards only?

Please put up your hands if you have taken any RapidKL feeder buses? What about the spanking new and very comfortable RapidKL MRT feeder buses?

I have not done any survey, but unless one is seriously planning to use the LRT, MRT or buses or a more likely scenario, a combination of two or more of these, you may not have bothered to notice what is available. Here is one little story on how I discovered a gem in RapidKL which I would like to share with my readers.

My daughter has just started her college in early January 2017. As luck will have it, her college is not one of the many located in the “college belt” of Subang Jaya – Bandar Sunway any of which would have been just at most 10 km or one RapidKL bus away. Hers is located in Kota Damansara, which is over 20 km away, near where I used to work! At first, I would drive her to college from USJ every day, then I would drive home, repeating the same in the evening. Thus I would often get caught in the daily peak hours traffic jam which is the fact of life for many Klang Valley residents. On a good day, I would spend around 4 hours doing the two round trips. On a bad day (especially on a rainy day), I could add at least another hour to my commuting hours just to play chauffeur to my offspring (well this is not entirely true as I would make her drive me back in the evening to give this “P” plate, a.k.a probationary driver more practice!).

Our (actually, mainly mine) daily drive would start from USJ in the morning (we had to hit the road by 08:30 to make it on time), then mainly we would use the North Klang Valley Expressway (NKVE) from Subang Jaya exit to Kota Damansara exit and would get stuck in the famous “Surian squeeze” at Persiaran Surian heading towards our destination near Sunway Giza. The journey back for me would take a bit shorter, mostly because I would be using the smaller roads that link Kota Damansara to Ara Damansara passing by Tropicana Golf and Country Resort. This would be the same route I would choose in the evening to and from Kota Damansara.

As my daughter got settled into her college life, she would not be finishing classes “on time” in the evening and would be having the usual college student’s activities outside the lecture rooms. Thus we knew that with the rise in my own business activities (after my stint in Penang which ended in early Dec 2016), it would come a time that she would need to rely on public transport to commute to and from her college. So I went on to discover what were available from RapidKL. Although “USJ-ians” like us are fortunate to have the LRT now practically near our doorsteps, and the MRT phase 1 linking Kota Damansara to Semantan is now operational, it is not easy to find a direct link up between the two systems. If you do a cursory search on the internet, you will know that Klang Valley’s existing LRT, Monorail, the new MRT systems plus most of the RapidKL buses have many direct routes to different parts of KL city centre from the suburb like “the spokes of a bicycle wheel”. But there are precious little linkages at the suburb to connect any two systems. A good public transport system should be like a spider web, with spokes and lots of cross links which sadly the current Klang Valley system just does not have.

We tried  RapidKL’s “traditional” feeder bus service 802 which was supposed to link up Kelana Jaya LRT station with Kota Damansara. On the morning of our “trial”, we started our journey a bit earlier than usual, leaving Taipan LRT station at 07:15 and arriving at Kelana Jaya by 07:40. I was happy to notice that the LED signboard said that there would be a 802 bus arriving in 5 minutes and one more in 18 minutes. But little did I know that those busses were the “planned” services. What actually happened was purely depending on the number of buses (I presume, the drivers turning up for work) available and the prevailing traffic congestion on key roads.

The information on the LED signboard at Kelana Jaya LRT interchange is not an accurate reflection on the buses available on the ground!
The information on the LED signboard at Kelana Jaya LRT interchange is not an accurate reflection on the buses available on the ground!

When I went to the information counter, where one RapidKL staff was sitting and eating to enquire about the no-show of 802 buses, I was ignored by the man. I then tapped on the counter’s sliding window and the man went berserk and scolded me in Malay (“Are you blind? Can’t you see I am eating”).

The information counter is used as a canteen by RapidKL bus drivers who would not be pleased if you disturb them enjoying their meals while on duty!
This information counter in Kelana Jaya interchange is used as a canteen by RapidKL bus drivers who would not be pleased if you disturb them enjoying their meals while on duty!

To me, he was sitting at the information counter and so he was on duty to serve customers like me. I did not mind that he was eating, so long as I got my answers. There was no reason for him to be so rude. As far as I know, the information counter was not a rest area nor was it a canteen for the staff on duty. When the man saw me taking photographs of his “canteen” and the LED signboard he calmed down a bit and came out to tell me that bus 802 should be starting ‘soon” and pointed to one of the stationary buses to say, “that’s your bus, wait for the driver and let me eat my food.” 45 minutes after the first bus 802 was supposed to arrive, we finally got onto the bus that was pointed to me earlier. It took about 80 minutes for us to get from Kelana Jaya LRT station to Surian MRT station and my daughter arrived just in time for her class. I took the same bus which was on a loop service back to Kelana Jaya LRT station which took about 60 minutes. With so many uncertainties and variables, we needed to find an alternative to this travel route!

Next, we tried out RapidKL Bus 780 which we could only take at Asia Jaya LRT station in Petaling Jaya (three stations further away from Kelana Jaya station). The bus took about 1 hour to get from Asia Jaya LRT station to Surian MRT station and the return journey took about the same time. We had to wait about 20 minutes each way. There was however one major problem. On the return route (from Kota Damansara to Petaling Jaya), bus 780 did not pass by Asia Jaya LRT station. I had to alight at the bus stop next to Sri Petaling school, cross the busy Jalan Semangat and walk about 800 meters to Asia Jaya LRT station. This option was a bit better than the RapidKL Bus 802 route as there were more bus 780 on the road and hence the wait was more manageable. But it was still not ideal as we would be travelling extra distances needlessly and the return trip involved a long walk.

It was then that I remembered on my many car trips to and from Kota Damansara I saw the new RapidKL MRT Feeder Bus, T807 and often wondered what route did this bus serve. After several searches of both RapidKL’s site and many transport related sites, I had the mini-Eureka moment! T807 is one of the very few cross links that RapidKL’s MRT and LRT have. For those who are not familiar, RapidKL, for reasons known only to itself, has two types of feeder buses. The old RapidKL buses with the “T” prefixes and the ultra comfortable RapidKL MRT feeder buses with a different outer paintwork but bearing the same “T” prefixes. One thing is strange. RapidKL MRT feeder buses do not accept RapidKL’s own Myrapid cashless cards!

T807 links up the depot of Kelana Jaya LRT line at Lembah Subang LRT station to Surian MRT station, serving both the Ara Damansara residents as well as those living around the Tropicana Golf and Country Resort. My daughter only needs to wait at most 20 minutes for T807 at both ends of this route (as show below).

Extracted from Myrapid’s website.

The T807 journey takes from 15 minutes off-peak to 25 minutes at the peak hours of the evening. On average, she will now take around 1 hour to travel from Taipan LRT station to Surian MRT station followed by a 15-minutes walk to the college. I am happy. I need not pay too much attention to the traffic news on Melody FM each morning now! And I do not have to clock in 80 plus kilometers on my car each day! My daughter is happy. She does not feel guilty for having me wait in the car for her to finish her day  (sometimes the wait could be up to 40 minutes) at the college and thus giving her more time and flexibility to socialise with her college mates. As T807 takes on mostly “inner” roads, apart from the stretch close to Lembah Subang LRT station where the “tunnels” which allow cars to get across the NKVE are located (which jams up at peak hours), can promise commuters with a pretty accurate timing of its services.


One must pose this question to the power that be who runs RapidKL… If you have a great cross link feeder bus route like T807 that links up a LRT station with a closeby MRT station, why keep so quiet about it? I would have expected RapidKL to publicize this route to the maximum! My second grouse with RapidKL… how come you can design a great linkage route in T807 and not able to do the same for other feeder bus routes to link up more LRT stations with closeby MRT stations? T807 serves a great link for people on the Kelana Jaya Line LRT to take the MRT at Surian Station. My third grouse with RapidKL… why launch the MRT feeder bus service with a cashless system that does not accept your own Myrapid cards but “traditional” TouchnGo cards only?

My daughter’s feedback on T807 service, “The bus drivers of T807 are very nice to the riders!” should be something that RapidKL should take pride in and gloat about! I just hope that RapidKL does not take away this gem of a feeder bus service or change its route unnecessarily in the future!

My final grouse (actually 2 grouses) with RapidKL…Do check that you have accurate information posted on your LED signboards and remove non-existing bus services so that your customers are not misled. Please make sure that your staff on duty at the information counter at the Kelana Jaya interchange do provide friendly and accurate information services to bus users and remind them that this location is not their canteen.  They should take a leave from the guys manning the T807 service and learn to be courteous to their customers!