ETS Experience: Arau - KL Sentral - Arau

UPDATE (July 2018)
1) The KTMB ETS student card is now virtual/card-less! Application is here (click)
Now they require a verification letter (again) from students aged 24 years old and above before applying for the card. Form can be downloaded at the link above. The annual fee is still the same old RM35.
When asked by train conductor during ticket checking for verification (that you bought the ticket with a student card), you can show the virtual card on smartphone and/or your IC
I've kena several kinds of conductor when they check the ticket, some just trust me and don't require to see the card and IC, some asked for IC, some asked for the card, some asked for both. It all depends on luck.

UPDATE (Sept 2017)
1) All trains to-fro Padang Besar no longer stop at Penang, which means no more forward facing then back all the way to KL yay!

2) TIPS in selecting forward facing seats!!!
The nice blogger from lensakami provides this crucial info!
Simply put:
Southbound (from north to south) - coach AB 1 - 8, C 1 - 7, D 7 - 11, EF 9 - 15
Northbound (from south to north) - coach AB 9 - 15, C 8 - 11, D 1 - 6, EF 1 - 8

Do note that seats 14 and 15 at coach ABEF, seats 10 and 11 at coach C and seats 1 and 2 at coach D are facing each other, so unless you travel in group or family, try to avoid this seats as it can be uncomfortable.
Also, for those with luggage, you might consider taking seats like eg #8 at coach AB in southbound trip as there is vacant space in between the south and north facing seats, so you can put it there in case the luggage space is full.

UPDATE (June 2016)
1) Latest info regarding application of KTM i-Card (info here):
Starting on 2nd May 2016, application can only be made online at the KTMB website Application at any KTM's ticketing counter is no longer available, not even KL Sentral. The application fee is RM35 (inclusive of GST and delivery fee). The processing of your application and the card delivery is within 14 working days from the day you did your application and the card will be delivered to you based on the address you provided.
- You can now buy tickets online at the KTMB website too with the Student i-Card, with additional RM2 fee on top of it.

2) Starting early this year, KTM has added few (I not sure how many) Padang Besar - KL Sentral trips per day (that's the route I take note coz it concerns me LOL) but those trips take longer times to arrive - 5++ hours.

*****     #####     *****     #####     *****

Few months back, I started taking trains, more specifically the ETS (Electric Train Service), to KL, other than flying. I think the reason was because of last minute planning, couldn't remember.

In 2015, there's two trips per day to KL - it's actually Padang Besar, Perlis to Gemas, Johor - 8am and 6.30pm, and it takes 4 1/2 hours to arrive KL from Arau. The ticket was priced at RM76.

The ETS Trains have six coaches; toilets are at coach B and E which is very spacious and comfy; toilet for the disables passenger is at coach C as well as the praying room aka Surau next door; cafeteria is at coach C with 4 seats available, selling fried Bee Hoon and Nasi Lemak at RM5.90, sandwiches I forgot how much, coffee tea and milo at RM2.70; Power socket outlet under each pair of seats (check my update below); small screen for entertainment - they are currently showing Harry Porter 1st and 2nd movie with Tom & Jerry in between the movies.

After my first return trips, I found a lot of convenience and advantages of taking trains instead of flying to KL (taking bus to KL is not an option because I don't want to):
1) It generally takes almost the same amount of time between train and flying, because for us who stay in Perlis, we had to go all the way to Alor Setar airport, which is about 50km away and takes about an hour's travel, be at the airport at most/least an hour early, flight takes an hour to KL, then, depends on which airline you fly with, travel to your destination from airport.
Arau train station is about 10km away, free parking, 4 1/2 hours to KL, have someone to fetch you at KL sentral or just hop on the LRT or komuter or whatever to get to your destination.
2) Yes the parking is FREE in Arau train station! Pray hard it will last like this for as long as it takes. Take Note parking is no longer free at Arau train station. Starting July 2018, the parking rate is RM1 every 3 hours (I think), max Rm4/day. Motorbike is RM1 per entry. They have guards patrolling too. The parking at Alor Setar airport is RM13 per 24 hours.
3) In 2014, plenty of train stations around Malaysia have an restoration so the train station is very new and clean and pleasing - no more the haunted looking old station LOL.

So, since then, I prefer taking trains except times when I can't get tickets (eg the 'crisis time' during Christmas), especially now that I have applied for the KTM i-Card aka student card. It is significantly cheaper (although it is not exactly 40% discount) and more worthy than flying now!

The one on the left is the original ticket, the one on the left is the one bought using i-Card
Application of KTM i-Card (all the forms mentioned can get it here):
- the yearly fee for the i-Card is RM31.60 and I am not sure about re-verification yet.
- If you do it in KL Sentral, which is the fastest way that I've known, you take a verification form from the counter, fill it and get your uni/college/institution's staff to sign - to verify you are a student, then photocopy your IC and student card, then go to the KL Sentral counter to apply it. It takes about 1-2 hours to get it done.
- In my area's case, if you do it in, say Arau (smaller station), you need to have another form attached which is the application form, submit the application form, verification form, IC and student card copy. Do note that it takes a week for you to get the receipt (you can start buying tickets using the receipt), then I was told you can get the card one month later. It takes longer time coz they have to process the applications in Padang Besar, or so I heard. Be sure to ask about this at your nearest station.

The not-so-good part about buying tickets with the i-Card is that you can only buy tickets at counter, not applicable for online purchase. However, ~RM30 discount over 10km drive (or RM1.80 bus from Kangar), for me it's worth it. The tickets will be available 30 days before the date, so do count correctly. I got rejected when I went to buy my CNY ticket because I was one day early aiks!!

Since Jan 2016, they add one more trip into the Padang Besar-KL route, but it takes longer (5 hour 20 min) to arrive KL. They have more stops though.

Check out their website for more info.

One last thing (this one I pray loud in my heart every time I board the ETS), is to wish for a kids-free coach LOL, or at least coach with minimal children.
I've been in 2-3 hellish trips because it's not the baby whining/crying type but OMG it's a BUNCH of kids running + playing + shouting + yelling + crying + food-tossing + fighting + seat-kicking and it goes on as long as their journey takes!!!! The parents/guardians never say anything to their kids!! My worst nightmare (so far) was this family of, I think 4-5 adults and 7-8 children, we boarded the same station and they got out only one station shy of my station, which means 4 hours of nonstop nightmare! I mean, they NEVER STOP!! When they finally got out, the elders sat beside my rows were like "Leganya!" LOL.

I finally found the power socket!! Haha!

*Pictures taken from here with permission :)

Well it was random and unnecessary coz the socket is there all the time LOL, it's just me who is ignorant. There's a power socket under each pair of seats, so you have to share it with your 'neighbor'. However, as it is under the seat, you have to bend all the way down to plug it. Two things kinda make it an inconvenient task: 1) If you wear top with loose neck so you have to make sure you cover your boobs properly while bending down; 2) If you have a 2-pin plug instead of 3. Aiks...


Unknown said…
Assalamualaikum WBT dan Salam Sejahtera,

Satu perkongsian menarik tentang servis ETS yang anda gunakan. Saya ingin kongsikan sedikit posting saya tentang BAS VS ETS SHAH ALAM – BUTTERWORTH . Harap dapat datang untuk jenguk-jenguk blog saya JYWRITE

Sekian Terima Kasih
Farihah Anuar said…
I already have the ktmb i-card, but im not sure which one is ktmb icard number, is it under the ic number or is it behind the card?
Huey Nee said…
Dear Farihah,

The card no is at the back of the card, but you don't need the number to buy tickets, you just have to show them the card
ricky chong said…
Hi there Lim!

Thanks so much regarding the plug spot! That was a tough spot to check out as the view is totally occluded and there’s a cover on it too. Haha! Now I know where to find the plug for Platinum train.

I’m a regular for Gold or Silver train as I travel down from KL Sentral to Ipoh frequently. For those train, normally the plug spot could be found on the window seats. It’s underneath and on the wall of the train. Same advice like yours for those who wanted to find that spot as you’ll have to bend down and feel for it. But different from Platinum, there’s no cover on it. So you’ll have to somehow use you’ll have to touch around and feel for it.

And also,
Now they’ve this KTMB-I Virtual card which we can use ‘temporarily’ until a real card is sent to your house. I registered for 1 month but still no news about the real card. So for this step, I would like to applaud KTM. You can now register immediately through online and book your ticket with it at the same day!

Thank you for your blog! :)
Huey Nee said…
Dear Ricky,

Thanks for the comment! I haven't been on the ETS train for more than a year now so I am not updated with the system/student card/facilities etc.

I think the ETS train they used on KL-Ipoh route and KL-Padang Besar route is diffent? Possible? At least all the trains I took back in the days from Perlis to KL, the power socket is under the seat. Would be so much nicer if it's on the wall or something... Especially with the cover! Have to use one kind of socket head to avoid damaging the cable.

Regarding the card thingy, that is so nice!! Yeah the hassle of waiting for the card to arrive, been there and done that.

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