Wednesday, July 26, 2006

For whatever its worth (3)

The disruption of the Putra LRT service for more than two hours last Monday has left hundreds if not thousands fuming and the standard of Malaysian public transport service under heavy fire. At least five passengers were reported to have fainted due to stuffy conditions as a result of the glitch.

According to the papers today, the Transport Ministry has instructed the operator concerned to furnish a comprehensive report of the incident. (In some countries heads would normally roll as a result of such incident)

According to sources the disruption was due to failure of both the central and back up computer control systems which control the movement of the trains.

Personally I feel that the public transport system in Malaysia particularly in the Klang Valley has improved tremendously over the years. Besides the taxis and buses we now have the Putra and STAR LRT, and also the monorail not forgetting the KTM commuter trains.

The numbers have indeed increased by leaps and bounds but nevertheless its services and punctuality has always been a setback.

The one that can be accorded the most unreliable award in terms of timing would be the KTM commuter followed by the KL Monorail. I was once stuck in a KTM commuter from KL to Subang Jaya for more than two hours. Imagine if one has to answer the call of nature during that time!

The train was stuck somewhere after the Angkasapuri halt due to flooding in Batu Tiga and problem with its system. Nobody bothered to tell us what happened or what to expect. We were left cramped in the train cursing and throwing foul remarks towards the train driver right up to the PM!

So I can imagine how those in the LRT felt when services broke down last Monday.

I feel that time and money will have to be spent to expose the staff of these public transport operators on safety and emergency measures and procedures to be implemented during breakdown such as these. Whats the purpose of having first world facilities but the operators and staff possesses Timbaktu mentality.

Once a serious breakdown occurs passengers on board would have to be notified instantly and whatever evacuation measures will have to be drawn up and explained to them. Similarly those queuing or waiting at stations should also be informed of any serious disruption

And since we are on this topic, cleanliness and hygiene of the train and its stations should also be looked into. And again KTM boast of having the worst kept trains compared to the other operators.

Finally commuters too have to be disciplined. Apart from Putra LRT that implements a queuing system (with professional queue jumpers here and there) the rest implement a free for all system!

During peak hours some knowledge of rugby and wrestling would indeed be of help.

In short the government and operators will have to seriously look into these issues. Let us not spend more on upgrading unless we have already improved these grave shortcomings.

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