Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Monday, February 25, 2008
Saturday, February 09, 2008
"I am amazed that Malaysians' train courtesy are much better than Singaporeans," he said in an email to STOMP this morning (Feb 4).
The STOMPer said he took this photo during peak hours at a train station and wonders why Singaporeans cannot queue the way the Malaysians do.
"For many years, we are reminded to queue up and give way to passengers coming out of the train.
"To our dismay, not all Singaporeans practise this or bother to show some courtesy."
Saturday, January 27, 2007
Others get this...
Cemerlang, gemilang, terbilang.
Thursday, January 11, 2007
Taken the toll
- it proves how corrupt the Government is
- it proves how incompetent the Government is
- it proves how evil and heartless the Government and Crony Capitalists are
- driving is still relatively cheap, compared to the amount of environmental damage it cost
- toll rates are going up, not to fix the price distortion, but rather to line the pockets of Umnoputras and greedy Chinese towkays
- public transport still SUCKS, so what kind of alternative is there?
Sign the petition. (not that Kerajaan BN is going to read/care about it anyways)
Tuesday, December 19, 2006
Angry Commuter Indeed
It is less than 2 weeks away to 2007. Visit Malaysia. Plenty of tourists. Plenty of angry tourists.
The TnG has been acting up during my journeys of late too. What a bitch.
Can you imagine if merchants and retailers stopped accepting credit card because “system down”? Or your ATM network goes kaput?
I’ve been quite disappointed to see so little change and improvement in the LRT and buses. I really wonder if the authorities and operators actually care about what we, the real users, think?
Anyway, read this months KLUE.
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
I am still alive
The LRT rubber grip thingies are as smelly as ever.
People still don't queue up when they board the Komuter.
In fact there still exists educated (looking) men (and women) who don't queue up at LRT stations.
Many people still don't understand that "stand on the left to make way for people who want to walk the escalator on the right".
The pedestrian crossing linking Bandaraya LRT to Bank Negara Komuter floods. When it rains.
KL Sentral is still a pasar malam.
Traffic lights in KL don't work for pedestrians. Even when it is RED for road traffic, it still shows RED for pedestrians, even when it is perfectly safe to cross. Screw the traffic lights.
Sigh. Sigh. Sigh. Happy VMY 2007!
Tuesday, November 28, 2006
Komuter train service disruptedSo whose fault is it now?
KUALA LUMPUR: The Komuter train service, which connected the city centre to Seremban, Port Klang and Rawang, was disrupted at noon today due to a broken power cable.
The glitch had resulted in trains heading to Port Klang to stop on the track, while trains to the other destinations were delayed.
However, the services have resumed gradually.
“We are working to rectify the situation, and the trains are expected to be running according to schedule later in the day,” said a KTMB official, who declined to be identified.
I hope that there are no court injunctions preventing KTMB from purchasing new cables.
And I'm still waiting for the reports on the zillion Putra LRT failures this year.
Friday, November 17, 2006
Don't you just hate me when I'm right
Friday, October 27, 2006
Star better than Putra?
Meanwhile, The Sun has reported:
LRT coach overshoots trackA sight to behold! Tsk tsk tsk.
KUALA LUMPUR (October 27, 2006): A Star-LRT coach overshot the concrete embankment at the Sentul Timur station, and dangled about 25 metres above the ground.
The incident took place at 7.11am Friday (Oct 27) as the train pulled up at the last stop. There were no passengers in the six coaches then.
Rangkaian Pengangkutan Integrasi Deras Sdn Bhd corporate communications division senior manager Katherine Chew said they are investigating whether the incident was caused by a technical fault or due to human error.
She said their services were operating as usual.
With so many incidences on the Putra LRT, and this amazing/amusing FIRST for Star, I'm, sorry but I cannot offer any useful advice to Rapid KL, SPNB or the authorities. In fact, no amoung of Binafikir-ing can help Rapid KL.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
Uncurb your enthusiasm
I have been pretty busy so I haven't have had much time to think and research about public transportation. So even today's post will be abit substanceless and maybe not directly related to public transportation, although they are still IMPORTANT issues.
This was frontpaged in the Star today:
Can you tell me what is wrong in this photo?
See that row of cars parked by the sides? Well that's an emergency lane on a highway. And there's this row of cars, probably driven by the press and the Police. They have themselves committed a traffic offence and have endangered other road users.
The law states it clearly: emergency lanes are for of emergency vehicles and for breakdowns. Even then, it has to be towed away ASAP. If I am not mistaken motorcycles are also allowed to use it.
Regarding the problem then of how and where the journalists were to park, that is not my problem. Reporting a story on road safety doesn't give anyone the license to break the law themselves.
Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur
Remember the photos sent in by Loke W? Well I submitted it to the Star. I hope the mayor who hasn't been reading his emails reads this today.
Being an officer of the law DOES NOT give you the license to break the law yourself.
It's the season once again when the politikus start rambling in the newspapers about crime and "illegal immigrants".
As usual, according to these people, every Indonesian, Burmese and Bangladeshi is a suspect. And they should be sent home (all though no one has thought who is going to replace them, especially the illegals to work in the plantations, factories, restaurants, construction sites etc. that would be Malaysian Idle. You think Malaysians want to do this kind of work?).
And of course, Rela, the citizen vigilante group, is given the carte blanche to arrest some Burmese, beat them up and throw them into a pond.
So in the spirit of this season of fear, I encourage you to spy on your fellow citizens for a better cause.
Remember, only use cameras when it is safe. Never when you are the driver (even when you are stationary).
Take photos of all those buggers hogging bus lanes. People cutting in and out. People littering from the car window. People who park in two boxes. People who park in front of fire hydrants.
This beats the hell out of beating people and throwing them into ponds. And even though you are "snitching" and telling on other people, why worry? The Star will black out number plates. And JPJ - what action?
But at any rate, I would still encourage you to submit these photos, with as much information to these people.
- panducermat.org.my/gallery - registration required
Ever dreamt of being a police officer as a kid!? Well dream no more.
While you're at it, issue a "saman" for the traffic offender. I think it will be quite difficult in most cases to issue it, with the exception of parking offences. Still, it's better than nothing!
In classic ugly formatting and Times New Roman and in A4 size this is almost as real as it can get.
Print this out. Plenty of it. Keep it in your car/bag. Issue it liberally, but please children, don't ask for a bribe.
And remember, don't be a HYPOCRITE like DBKL, The Star and the Police.
Tuesday, October 10, 2006
I like 2, 3 and 4.
I seriously urge the transport minister to make the following sweeping changes:
- Fire Rapid KL’s top management in charge of the Putra LRT. The Putra LRT’s constant failure means failure on their part
- Fine Rapid KL RM1 million for every hour the LRT is down. To be frank, RM1 million/hour is a paltry sum compared to the thousands of human resources stuck on the trains and at the stations when they are supposed to be at work contributing to the country’s economic growth.
- Publicly display to the commuters Putra LRT’s KPI (key performance indicators). Monthly statistics like system failures, late trains, Touch & Go breakdowns, ticketing gate malfunctions, air-conditioning jams in trains and stations would be helpful. And don’t cheat.
We will have a good laugh at the dismal figures initially, but I’m sure Putra LRT will improve the system to save its own face from constant public embarrassment.
- Fire those who can’t meet these KPIs.
Regarding 1, that's a little bit more complicated because SPNB is the company that owns the infrastructure. As far as I understand, SPNB owns the trains etc. and thus money for maintenance etc. comes through them.
I have written a little about 2 and 3 here.
But the question I would like to ask is who is KL's transport regulator? Rapid KL is an operator, with quasi regulatory powers (look at how easy it was for them to "revamp" the network"). But someone needs to regulate Rapid KL, no?
To be honest, I have a million things to say about this whole Putra LRT cock ups.
But most of it would be so obvious. And these people, Rein Westra, Ali Nor and Katherine Chew - I'm sure they are reading this blog and all the complaints on the net. But what to do? They inherited many organizations with lousy third world work ethic and culture and a demotivated workforce.
Afterall, in this age and day, what type of right thinking intelligent person would want to be a bus driver or station master?
If you think Malaysia Airlines is bad, and Idris Jala has sleepless nights, can you imagine Rapid KL?
Monday, October 09, 2006
This year, Rapid KL has "revamped" the bus system. In my opinion this "revamp" consists of two separate efforts:
Firstly, the network revamp. The Local-Trunk-City-Express system. That is something out of this world to us KL folk. And this is what I believe Rapid KL means by "revamp".
Secondly, fleet revamp - fleet enlargement and upgrade. New buses, more buses, reconditioned old buses. COINCIDENTALLY, these buses were introduced this year. I'm not sure if Rapid KL would have proceeded with effort 1 (network revamp) if there was no fleet revamp.
So, when we praise or criticize this new "system", are we talking about the network revamp or the nice new clean buses (and their relative abundance)?
When discussing this revamp, we have to decompose the effects of the fleet revamp, which would SPNB would have proceeded regardless of Rapid KL's plans to change the network. For example, when doing a survey on "what do you think of this new system", we have to consider:
1. fleet revamp (with plenty of new buses) and network revamp (local-trunk-city-express); vs
2. fleet revamp (with plenty of new buses) without network revamp (old system with all buses terminating at KL or LRT stations at most)
Fleet revamp, is a given, since that is SPNB's mandate, while operationally Rapid KL decides how to utilise that fleet (network).
I don't think Rapid KL has been honest enough in presenting this case that the hub-and-spoke (local-trunk-city-express) is indeed better. As far as I have read, they haven't cited any reasons why this system is better. They just make a claim that hub-and-spoke leads to shorter waiting time without showing the logic or evidence.
The only plausible reason I can guess is that breaking up longer routes into shorter ones will lead to less accumulated delays. And breaking them up into many independent systems will also avoid problems elsewhere. For example, if there is a big jam at Kotaraya, this shouldn't affect people who wish to travel from Subang to Bangsar. Under the old system it would.
Whether this new network system is indeed better, I think we should let Rapid KL give it a try. But I expect Rapid KL to produce some evidence in a few months showing that indeed time is saved and it is the most effective and efficient (least waste) way of managing the routes.
Another thing that has to be looked at is the new fare structure. How would the issuing of bus passes change people's travelling habits? How about those people who only need to make one trip a day? Probably a lot of people who say that "I love this new system" are coming from people who travel a lot who now experience cheaper fares because now their fares are capped at RM4? Probably true if your sample consists mainly of people in Bangi who travel to KL and would have had to spend more than RM4 before.
At the end of the day, we all have to ask ourselves this - "what does it mean by NEW SYSTEM?"
I expect Rapid KL to be clearer in their communications when praising and advocating this new "system". Is it the new and more buses they are talking about? Or the hub and spoke system? Or the bus pass fare structure?
These are 3 different initiatives by Rapid KL (and SPNB) and Rapid KL has the responsibility in explaining to its stakeholders (government and us users) how each have brought benefits.
No cock and bull about, oh this system is better because waiting time has been cut. (IF AT ALL IT IS TRUE, AND IF TRUE is it because of more buses on the road or is it due to the gains from the hub and spoke?)
Saturday, October 07, 2006
LRT breaks down and Rapid KL dogma
I wasn't and am not around for the weekend, so I only got to know of it through the news.
In this post, I'd like to talk about 2 different but closely related topics.
I'm not sure if they did any of this, but here's what they could have done to ease the pain:
- brief all bus drivers and get them to advise passengers that they may need to take a continuing trunk line instead of to the LRT.
- announce the breakdown on the internet and radio.
- 1-800-number. A friend of mine told me that she called the 1-800 number but it was engaged. Why not just pre-record an announcement about the breakdown and how to go around it?
- fix the problem! this is the number what-th time this year?
- have contingency plans - rail replacement services that bring passengers from one station to another. In fact, why not introduce a trunk line service that tracks the LRT system and have it run during peak hours? The KJ line is so packed that it'd be good to educate passengers in using the bus system. Do one from KL Sentral to Kelana Jaya, and another from KLCC to Gombak. Heavy traffic on the road will ensure that most passengers would still prefer the LRT and hence introducing this route ought not to cannibalize LRT services too much. In fact, run services parallel to all rail lines!
- SMS information to customers. How about doing that to MTC holders for a start?
You see the problem here. Each area is too dependent on one city hub. And when one city hub fails, then problems multiply.
For example, yesterday, where services east of Masjid Jamek were disrupted, train passengers heading towards Wangsa Maju were directed at Masjid Jamek to change lines to Titiwangsa to take continuing Trunk line services. (Again passengers were penalized with "starting fares".)
Instead, a more ideal solution would have been to have trunk line buses serving Wangsa Maju and all (Area 3) from KL Sentral. So passengers could have just got off there to take a trunk to Wangsa Maju, without having to waste time and money walking up the stairs and buying a new ticket or hopping on yet anoter City shuttle to take you to Titiwangsa.
The problem with Rapid KL's system is that it assumes EVERYONE lives in the suburbs and travels to the City everyday. Ok, maybe not everyone. But for the rest of the people who don't, Rapid KL's sorry that if you live in Ampang and you study in Subang Jaya, you have to take 2 trunk lines, a city shuttle and probably another 2 local shuttles. Otherwise take a more expensive LRT (change lines at Jamek including) and hop on another 2 local shuttles.
Or you can drive. If you can't then too bad.
Similarly if you live in USJ and work in Sri Petaling. Live in Taman Desa and work in Cheras. So close and yet so far.
Or if your Indonesian worker who lives in Datuk Keramat (many do) and works in Bangsar, and the LRT breaksdown, how? That's 4 buses. :)
So LRT breakdown? Hop on a bus? How? How many?
Friday, October 06, 2006
One small step for a man, the disabled stay at home
Malaysia is heading for exciting times as the nation celebrates its 50th anniversary of independence next year. Around that time, we will have a cosmonaut in the International Space Station (ISS) as reported in “Russia-bound astronaut candidates inspired after meeting Abdullah” (The Star, September 27, 2006). This puts another feather in the cap to mark our achievements as a maturing nation.Masyarakat Penyayang betul.
While we wait in anticipation for the day one of our own steps into the ISS orbiting 350 km above us, it is ironic that a group of people back home here in on Earth cannot move around conveniently, even for distances a fraction of that to the ISS.
In the haste to improve the public transport system in the Klang Valley, disabled persons are once again left out in the planning. None of the new Rapid KL buses are accessible to wheelchair users. Even senior citizens have problems boarding the buses because of the unfriendly height of its steps.
Disabled persons are disillusioned by empty promises. There was a protest in 1994 when it was apparent that STAR LRT was not accessible. 12 years later, wheelchair users still cannot use the trains because there are no elevators up to the platform, or use any public transport for that matter.
We are beginning to wonder if our needs will ever be addressed. Do we need to resort to staging demonstrations and protests again to get our voices heard? For what it is worth, it is an uphill battle for us all the way and all the time.
What does it take for the government to realise that accessible public transport is an urgent need without which we cannot do much. We have to miss out on education and work opportunities. This makes us even more disadvantaged.
The often heard excuse of not including accessible facilities is the cost factor. How can we put a price on the rights of fellow citizens? Public transport is for all, irrespective of physical condition. The needs of one group must not be at the expense of another. However, in the case of public transport, it looks like the needs of disabled persons are at the lowest of priorities.
As we anxiously wait for the first Malaysian to go into outer space, I urge to government to seriously look into the plight of disabled persons who cannot even get out from their homes. We should not look that far out when we have not even tackled challenges that are right in front of us.
Thursday, October 05, 2006
Hell, even the people that are paid to enforce the rule of Law break those very same rules.
A very disappointed reader, Loke W, sent me these photos.
These were taken along Jalan Raja Laut today, 5 October 2006, between 9.30 and 11.30 a.m.
Jalan Raja Laut also happens to be Kuala Lumpur City Hall.
There is no Law in KL.
What bus stop?
There is no Law.
Proud to be DBKL!
See the Jalur Gemilang? Get out of my way you mofo.
Blatant disregard of the law.
My car is bigger than yours.
I work for the government. Cekap bersih mesra.
Write me saman I dare you.
These vehicles, with the DBKL colours and logos splashed all over them were seen and photographed parking illegally at a bus stop and bus lane:
Datuk Bandar, what are you doing?
Meanwhile, when I was passing Jalan Bangsar at around 6 something, a motorcade with police outriders, with the VIP car numbered ACS 1 (I think) rushed his/her way through traffic.
Yes, this VIP is definitely engaged with more important matters than the rest of us earthly scum (a.k.a. the Rakyat Jelata). Like berbuka puasa at Shangri-La perhaps?
Third world mentality. Third world government. Third world politicians.
DBKL says this and this:
PENGUATKUASAAN LARANGAN PENGGUNAAN LORONG BAS / TEKSI KEPADA KENDERAAN PERSENDIRIAN / PUBLIC NOTIFICATION
Tarikh : 4 Mac 2005
Polis Trafik Kuala Lumpur dengan kerjasama Dewan Bandaraya Kuala Lumpur akan mula menguatkuasakan peraturan larangan penggunaan lorong bas / teksi oleh kenderaan persendirian pada 7 Mac 2005 (Isnin).
Peraturan larangan penggunaan lorong bas / teksi kepada kenderaan persendirian ini telah diwartakan sejak tahun 1998 di bawah Akta Pengangkutan Jalan 1987 (Pindaan 1988). Ini adalah bagi melancarkan pergerakan kenderaan awam terutama bas dan teksi di pusat bandar. Sehubungan dengan itu, kenderaan persendirian adalah dilarang menggunakan laluan tersebut mulai jam 6.00 pagi hingga 8.00 malam setiap hari bekerja kecuali hari Ahad dan Cuti Am.
Kuala Lumpur Traffic Police and City Hall Enforcement Officers will be on duty on a regular basis to enforce the regulations pertaining to restriction of private vehicles utilizing the dedicated bus lanes in the city from 7th March 2005.
The law pertaining to bus lanes has been gazetted since 1998 to facilitate the movement of buses in the city. The general public, particularly vehicles drivers should comply with the bylaw Road Transport Act 1987 (Amendment 1998). Private vehicles are not permitted to use the bus lanes between 6.00 am till 8.00 pm everyday except on Sundays and public holidays.
Bilakah masa dan hari yang dibenarkan kepada orang awam untuk menggunakan lorong bas?
Hari-hari biasa pada jam 8.00 malam hingga 6.00 pagi.
Hari minggu - sebarang waktu.
Hari Pelepasan Am - sebarang waktu.
Kadar kompaun yang dikenakan kepada pesalah yang menggunakan lorong bas ialah RM300.00.
Of course. DBKL is not "orang awam" and not "kenderaan persendirian".
My Bahasa sucks, but I think the word is munafik.
Tuesday, October 03, 2006
With too much time to spare, one can ride on the trains for cheap! Although I don't recommend you do it.
I hope that Rapid KL and other train operators can sit together to harmonize train fares (not a cartel please!).
Most importantly is the problem of "starting fares".
Then, there is the enormous potential benefits to routing plenty of traffic from down south into KL via the LRTs and the ERL. Much faster travel. And relieves all the headaches on the KTM lines.
Simple logic. Scrap the KLIA Express (28 vs 36 minutes!?). Currently per hour, 4 trains doing the Express, 2 the Transit. Meaning 6 per hour. Or once every 10 minutes.
Retain check in facilities and other premium KLIA Express frills, but introduce "standard class" by either adding additional rolling stock or ripping out the furnishings/upholstery of one (or two) carriages to make it "standard". More standing room?
On all trains, allow premium services to continue on normal (except scrapping EXPRESS services). Let ERL price these services as ridiculously as they like (like in the table above).
Regulate services on "standard class". How about Rapid KL paying a fixed annual compensation fee for the use of this carriage? Do the same with KTM Komuter, except the Komuter does not have a "premium" category.
Have Rapid KL treat KLIA Transit as a loss leader.
- Consumers - choice is good!
- KTM - less passenger congestion; focus more on operations
- Rapid KL - economies of scope from being able to supply many different types of public transport solutions (e.g. previous KLIA Transit users now able to continue journey in KL using same ticket/pass)
- ERL - minimize business risk i.e. constant flow of income; able to focus more on operational aspects as marketing/ticketing delegated back to Rapid KL
Monday, October 02, 2006
Pick up a copy of The Star today, turn to N48 to the Letters to the Editor pages.
Oh bother. I'll just copy the whole thing for you.
RapidKL needs to iron out problemsI'll admit to you. I live in KL, not in the Selangor townships. In fact I live very near a busy main road. And I never need to travel very far to get to work. I never really need to use trunk services very much.
I REFER to the letter by Moaz Yusuf (RapidKL on the move, The Star, Sept 26). I wonder whether the writer had taken the bus before writing his comments. I have. (KLC: Ouch!)
I tried taking bus 616 from Kerinchi back to Uptown PJ; the first time I waited for 35 minutes, the second, more than one hour from 4pm and it never came (the stated frequency was 15 minutes). I called the helpline and was told that there would be two buses that day, and “maybe” the delay was caused by traffic jam.
These are some problems with the new system:
lThe design of bus routes: they have applied the LRT interchange concept to the bus system. KL Sentral, Uptown and 1 Utama are the stations for interchange. For instance, if I want to travel from Kota Damansara to KL, I have to take bus 613 to Uptown, then change to bus T82 to KL Sentral, then take another bus there or LRT to KL. Sounds simple? But, every change means another 10-15 minutes wait, or longer!
lThe bus fare: they have divided the buses to two types, green for short distances, (for example, Uptown to Bandar Utama) charging RM1, and blue for main routes (e.g. BU to KL Sentral). All tickets are one day passes which can be used all day long. But, if I travel from BU to Uptown, and buy a RM1 ticket which only the green buses sell, and on my way back should the blue bus comes first, I’ll have to pay another RM2 or, wait.
The bus routes are too complicated: they changed all the previous LRT feeder buses into green buses, and added another 25 bus routes (without having enough buses to provide punctuality). If it took me two days to understand the bus routes, how long will it take the tourists and illiterates?
Phoon highlights 3 points. I think I've talked about one.
Point 3, about routes being too complicated, I have talked about the rubbish route information being posted up at places such as here, here, here and here. The people who need to understand the system find route information complicated, and those who don't need to learn the routes are those that would find it easy. Think: spider maps, journey planners, website
Point 1, about accumulated waiting times. IN THEORY, if all the buses are as frequent as claimed, I think the savings in waiting time can be achieved. Afterall, that was the main reasoning behind the revamp, no? Remember, the promise:
He (Rein Westra, CEO) said the local shuttle service will be available every 15 minutes and trunk service at every 10 minutes. He said the public is able to achieve a saving of minimum 10 to 20 minutes with this new network compared to the old.But recently, Rapid KL officially changed some of its service promises. I'm not sure how this would help. Although I think, not at all.
If it is a fleet problem - go and buy more! If it is a shortage of drivers - what the hell is HR doing? If it is a problem of congestion - what happened to bus lane enforcement and talking to Bandaraya etc? And what are your consultants doing?
Point 2, why should I pay trunk fares when I travel short distance? In a nutshell, if you usually take a local shuttle (which costs RM1/day) for a journey and you see a trunk bus which is also heading to where you want to go, why can't I use my local shuttle ticket on the trunk?
(I like you Mr Phoon, because unlike most other people who criticize public transport, you point out the not so obvious. It's not all about buying more buses, adding more bus lanes, lowering fare prices, buying more train coaches la la la.)
This whole scenario points out why I am quite ambivalent about the new bus pass structure, where NO single tickets are issued. With regards to fares, it works pretty nicely IF everyone travels a lot. But for people who travel short distance, they are penalized. Either by the fact that they are making journeys that are worth less than what they have paid. Or because of the silly things that people have to do to make their passes worth it (like in the case Phoon pointed out).
There are many ways to fix this, but this is what I'd suggest (again!):
- Make Touch 'n Go (or other stored value cards) the default payment system. No problem as the MyKad has the TnG embedded anyways. Also sell TnGs at newspaper vendors etc. And try to push for adoption of TnG as a universal payment system, as good as cash in Malaysia.
- Reintroduce single fares and scrap Local/Trunk/City passes.
- Introduce price capping. Once users make enough journeys in a day, card functions as a pass.
- Reintroduce TnG readers at the rear exit of buses so that users touch on the way out, like in Singapore's buses or in the Cityliner. Do this so that Phoon and others can hop on a Trunk bus, make a Local journey and pay Local price.
- Revamp the whole system-wide fare structure as well (including other operators and rail systems included). Abolish "starting fares". The systemwide fare structure needs to be rethought
Sunday, October 01, 2006
Why I am so anti monorail
Note a few things:
- vehicles are generally smaller than other metros, thus higher cost per passenger mile.
- mistakes in switching (changing "tracks") can be fatal - "derailment" being the vehicle falling off the track
- evacuation problems in emergencies as there are no emergency walkways.
- many other monorail systems in the world are at amusement parks.
What has been built in KL has been built, so no point crying over spilt milk. But I think that there should be NO MORE in KL. The Klang Valley is sprawling. Travelling long distances will take plenty of time, and opportunity to upgrade to Mass Transit standards is limited.
Maybe for Penang and JB, there is a case for it. But there is talk about including a monorail line on the second bridge to Penang.
Which brings up issue 2 and 3. Can you imagine being stuck in malfunctioning vehicle suspended over the open sea?
Saturday, September 30, 2006
Rapid KL breaks promise
Well, I've checked out the "updated" Rapid KL and here's something very interesting (apologies for the ugly table which I just copied off the website):
|HEADWAY ON WEEKDAYS ( MONDAY - SATURDAY )|
OFF PEAK 1
OFF PEAK 2
06:00 - 09:00
09:00 - 17:00
17:00 - 21:00
21:00 - 24:30
|CITY SHUTTLE|| |
|TRUNK LINE|| |
|LOCAL SHUTTLE|| |
|HEADWAY ON SUNDAYS AND PUBLIC HOLIDAYS|
|CITY SHUTTLE|| |
06:00 - 21:00
20:00 - 24:30
|TRUNK LINE|| |
06:00 - 21:00
21:00 - 24:30
|LOCAL SHUTTLE|| |
06:00 - 21:00
21:00 - 24:30
06:00 - 21:00
21:00 - 24:30
This information can be obtained here and here.
Well, here's what was promised at Rapid's own website
These areas will have new local shuttle services and trunk line service into the hubs in the city linking them into the city via city shuttle services every 5 minutes.The Star on 15 September 2006:
He said the local shuttle service will be available every 15 minutes and trunk service at every 10 minutes. He said the public is able to achieve a saving of minimum 10 to 20 minutes with this new network compared to the old.
“We need some 250 new buses to serve this new network, with the frequency of a bus every 15 minutes for the local shuttle and 10-minute wait for the trunk service.So it's clear, it was promied 5-10-15 for City-Trunk-Local.
“At the moment, we have about 100 new buses and are expecting more to arrive next week,” said Mohd Ali.
And yes, I understand the escape clause "Rapid KL reserves the right to make any changes prior to any notice" (whatever that means) allows Rapid to do that.
If indeed this is true, then it's gonna lose lot's of trust and certainly will disappoint plenty.
But at least they are honest with this information online (although it is burried somewhere).
But still it confounds me, because if they have changed their service promise, shouldn't they have the press publish it too?
Well to begin with, I never believed that 5-10-15 promise. But I think Rapid should do more to explain why it can't (e.g. traffic congestion, blocked bus lanes) and let it be known that someone else (Bandaraya, Traffic cops) isn't working as they should.
And it would help that Rapid KL publish bus times for the not-so-frequent buses on the web and at bus stops.
Still, I would like to see this soon or someday soon.
Friday, September 29, 2006
KL Boleh - even more thoughts
Essentially, this whole KL Boleh series is all about pointing out our mindsets and attitudes. No matter how much the government and the transport operators spend to improve our roads and public transport, KL roads will still be shit if we don't give ourselves mental upgrades.
Take a look at these buses. These photos were taken this Monday by Lex. Tell me, what's so unusual about these buses?
Okay, they are the buses from the old stock. And I think they are waiting to be reconditioned.
Do you know where I'm going?
Well, it's the bus destination board that puzzles me. I know that Local routes are labelled green and I know that this is only a temporary solution. But that doesn't mean that you should have the whole board in that green, and in that light shade, and having the text white!
How are passengers supposed to spot the buses from afar?
Mind you, this problem isn't unique with these buses. Even those new ones with LED displays, can be quite hard to read. Especially those on the City Shuttle routes. The text and bus number is small. How about increasing the size of the text?
How about considering linen roller destination blinds in the future. Why linen roller blinds? These roller blinds can be easily changed midway through the route. So as the bus completes it route, only destinations that matter are displayed. Pretty low-tech but pretty neat eh? (although I don't expect Rapid KL to waste their money changing the LED displays anymore! Just try to fine tune the text size and the wording of the routes!)
And making sure the colour scheme works such that route information can be seen from afar, and at night.
Parking at the station - again
Need I say more? Causing taxis to use bus stops. Causing taxis to line up along the road, causing bottlenecks. Abuse of disabled persons parking. Lost revenue. Sigh!
I think these people are really orang kurang upaya. Orang kurang upaya berfikir. (sorry, not very PC)
And what patriots too!
If the lots are for Rapid KL staff, my understanding of Rapid KL staff being those doing maintenance or stuff like that. If they are just doing ticketing, please park behind at RM3 per day (I think).
There is NO LAW.
May I also add that these parking bays could be better utilized as a rank for waiting vehicles or to drop off passengers? I've passed Bangsar Road a couple of times in the late morning and I have noticed that waiting taxis occupy the bus stop and line up about 50 metres back to Maybank, causing Bangsar Road to lose about half a lane. This causes a bottleneck at the Maarof junction.
Why can't the taxi rank inside the station be utilized instead?
What say you Rapid KL? Bandaraya?
When it rains in Bangsar...
In the picture above, there is an unoccupied shop lot at the left, next to the DO NOTs sign. Well, now they are installing a few stalls to the right of this picture (not shown). I hope this doesn't make the station more crowded, but pray tell me, why can't the shop lot be let out first?
Missing ticket inspector
This is photographic evidence of what I have been talking about here and here! If Rapid KL is serious about this curi tulang incident, I can get Lex to supply the exact date and time.
Mind my English
I also think that Rapid KL staff need to be trained to converse in English and other languages as well. The example above (at KLCC) speaks for itself. There are plenty of old grandmothers who can't speak Malay very well. How about recruiting more Chinese and Tamil speakers? Or putting up signs in those languages too?
There are plenty of tourists who would find Rapid KL's coverage excellent, and why not sell it to them? After all next year is Visit Malaysia. But VMY2007 or no VMY2007, tourists or no tourists, Rapid KL and others better get their act together. The communication (and customer service) skills of most Rapid KL's staff is horrible.
Many are seen to be lazy, rude and indifferent to their customers. No amount of press releases and newspaper appearences can fix this, unless drivers, ticketing staff and other customer service personnel are seen to be doing a good job.
Oh, and there's this odd photo here. This was taken behind Central Market. Can Bandaraya or Bomba please take action?
Thursday, September 28, 2006
stig·ma (stĭg'mə)Concept II
n., pl. stig·ma·ta (stĭg-mä'tə, -măt'ə, stĭg'mə-) or stig·mas.
A mark or token of infamy, disgrace, or reproach: “Party affiliation has never been more casual... The stigmata of decay are everywhere” (Arthur M. Schlesinger, Jr.). See synonyms at stain.
American Heritage Dictionary
public transportationConcept III
Demographics: Working class, retail assistants, the office kakak, students and Indonesian/Bangladeshi labour.
Reputation: Unreliable, infrequent, slow, dirty, (relatively) cheap.
middle classNow, what I am going to argue here is going to be quite flimsy - I don't do sociology (?). I have written about this before, but I think I should re-emphasize what I have written.Houghton Mifflin
A social and economic class composed of those more prosperous than the poor, or lower class, and less wealthy than the upper class. Middle class is sometimes loosely used to refer to the bourgeoisie. In the United States and other industrial countries, the term is often applied to white-collar, as opposed to blue-collar, workers.
Values commonly associated with the middle class include a desire for social respectability and material wealth and an emphasis on the family and education.
I'm guessing that most readers here are either middle-class or student. Use of public transportation is typically restricted to just the LRTs and Monorail. Most use the LRT as they either live close enough to stations or have mom/dad/bro/sis/bf/gf/husband/wife to drive you to the station. You also know how to drive, and you have a car, although you might have to compete with other household members for the car.
As for the rest of you who DON'T use public transportation, it's because the LRT is too far away and it might be a little silly for you to be dropped off at the station. And besides, you have a car available.
We are all willing to use public transportation as long as it is comfortable, reliable, convenient, affordable and safe. Or at least, that is what we say we demand.
Really, I think an important reason why many of us AVOID public transportation (esp. buses) like the plague is because of our perception (concept I) of who else uses it (concept II), because it is incompatible with our typical bourgeoisie aspirations (concept III).
In other words, it is socially unrespectable and unimaginable that someone like us would want to sit in a metal box with other plebs. In here, it is harder to listen to MixFM (although it is not impossible). Bosses have to sit next to their underlings, poor people get the same quality of service as those more affluent.
There are few points I would like to make here:
Shouldn't we be discarding this feudalistic mindset of "us vs them"?
I can understand that public transportation has been shit for a very long time. But in very recent years, I, for one, have observed very positive improvements. And yet, many of us are still avoiding it. Given one day, in the very near future public transport really becomes comfortable, reliable, convenient, affordable and safe, would you then be willing to use it?
In many places, KL including, I think that many of us use the excuse that public transportation is uncomfortable, unreliable, inconvenient, not as affordable as it should be and unsafe, simply because we want to rationalize our aspiring motivations (make excuses). We don't want to be associated with the poor people who are "lower" than us.
In Europe, I have noticed that poor and rich people use buses and trains. In fact in England, you can frequently see lawyers and bankers in the Tube (and buses). Taking Virgin Train's intercity services is also quite normal for these people.
As long as you let public transportation, especially buses, be the domain of the stereotypical-cannot-make-it-types, it will continue to be. (sorry, this is so not PC). If it is reliable, would you put aside your "aspiring attitude" for a while and be willing to claim the buses as part of your reality too?
Give it a try
I am also suggesting the idea that there have been improvements in public transportation, especially with Rapid KL's buses, and that you should consider giving it a try. I am not asking that you totally depend on it, but how about just giving it a try?
Instead of driving to the station to hop on the LRT, how about trying the buses? Instead of driving out to lunch, how about trying out the City Shuttle?
I maybe wrong. You're expectations might not be met, and you might hate it more than ever.
(Also think about it, the taxes that you pay that come from you're hard earned salary is being used to subsidise this improvement. And you don't even want to see for yourself where your hard earned money is being poured into?)
As long as we middle-class stereotypes do not flood the system, how can the system improve? Poor and less-educated people are generally bad consumers, they don't know how to demand good service. They don't really dig consumerism, because they don't have the spending power to do so and they don't know how to do so.
When they are wronged by a bus driver, they are less likely to file a complaint or write to the newspapers. When the bus comes late, they would just wait. When there are no so-called educated people to show the way how to line up to enter the bus, how will these people ever learn?
So the fate of this system, that could potentially benefit you, lies in your hands.
Admittedly, this reasoning in this post is built on sinking sand, and even worse it contains many many politically incorrect suggestions. But I am trying to explain an idea, which I'm not very good at. I have over-exaggerated and compartmentalized more than I should have.
But I hope you get the idea. If not, just forget what you have just read and entertain yourselves with this. Ha ha.
More rail integration
I've been thinking about it, even though KTM has a really fine network, extending to 3 (and a half) directions of the Klang Valley, it has been pretty Dogmatic about how it runs its routes.
I can understand for simplicity why they designate their routes Seremban-Rawang and Sentul-Port Klang. But being so rigid about it can lead to adverse effects.
Let me just warn you that I myself am not a frequent user of the Komuter, although I have taken it many times in the past. But I hope that these silly thoughts can be explored, okay?
I assume that most people who take the Komuter are doing it to get in and out of the city (e.g. Subang Jaya-Sentral). Or users who just want to travel down the line (e.g. Seremban-Kajang).
And although there must be people who use it to cross the Valley (e.g. Seremban-Rawang), they are not in the majority. And so I think the way the service routes are designed, it seems silly why these trains have to make one full journey back and forth each branch for every run!
Why not run the Komuter to do routes like Port Klang - KL, Seremban - KL and Rawang KL or something like that. (by KL, I mean either Sentral or the old railway station).
Come to think of it, this really makes no difference. But in actual fact, delays at one part of the system can lead to other trains being delayed elsewhere, further down the line. For example, a Rawang-Seremban service might be delayed simply because somewhere in Kajang, there is a delay. In other words, I am suggesting that the operations of these services should be made somewhat a bit more independent to each other.
[If I am not mistaken, this was also an issue with the KTM Intercity in the past. I remember as a kid taking the afternoon train to Singapore. We had to wait for about 3 hours for the train from Butterworth to arrive. And that wasn't the end of the delays. As we were making our way down the Peninsula, the locomotive was faulty (that's why the train took so long to get from Butterworth to KL) and the prime mover experienced more trouble. If I am not mistaken, now the Westcoast Intercity routes start and end at KL and those from the North who wish to go down South have to change at KL.]
How do I suggest they do this? Well I hope KTM can consider introducing a variety of routes, and from studying the route map, I hope they can consider the following.
At not so busy hours, they should maintain their current service routes, as usual. But at peak hours:
- Seremban-Tasik Selatan - Passengers take the Sri Petaling LRT or KLIA Transit to continue their norhtward journeys
- Rawang-Bank Negara - Passengers take the Sri Petaling and Ampang LRT to continue their southward journeys
- Reduce service on the Sentul KTM branch - passengers can hope off at Bank Negara to continue on the Sri Petaling and Ampang LRT
- Introduce express services that bypass not-so busy stations
- Introduce services that start and terminate at busy stations like Subang Jaya, Serdang etc.
- Construct a Komuter station at Abdullah Hukum to allow westerly passengers to bypass Sentral (and finally putting Abdullah Hukum to good use)
- Continue serving the usual full Rawang-Seremban and Sentul-Port Klang routes but at low frequencies
- With the savings of "rolling stock", couple those together to serve busy routes.
Naturally the most sensible thing would be to schedule all trains, and make sure they follow their schedules. But they don't, for reasons sometimes beyond KTM's control.
So how about introducing further computerization and automation in train control? Perhaps signalling can be improved and better synchronized?
Well, all I am suggesting is for Komuter trains to try to offload as many passengers and terminate services before they enter the city. (in fact this is something like Rapid KL's new hub-and-spoke bus system)
Come to think of it, whether KTM actually changes the routes or not, passengers can actually already "improvise" on these routes themselves. But why don't they?
Firstly, synchronization and coordination. KLIA Transit trains run half-hourly. You miss it, and you waste a day.
Secondly, hopping on from one train to another (in another station!) isn't a very pleasent thing to do (especially in KL).
Thirdly, we go back to the problem of "starting fares".
Fourthly, there is the issue of different "grades of service" on "different lines". KLIA Transit, being the most posh, followed by the LRTs and Monorail and the Komuter at the bottom. And with this, we also have different fares for similar journeys!
For example, for the journey
- Bandar Tasik Selatan to KL Sentral
- Komuter - RM1.00
- KLIA Transit - RM4.20
- Sentul to Bandaraya/Bank Negara (although Sentul KTM and LRT are at different places too!)
- Komuter - RM1.00
- LRT - RM1.40
This has to be sorted out, otherwise, users have no incentive to hop on other lines, even if it is in their best interest (in getting there fast and avoiding busy stations). Harmonization of fairs better be done quick.
Yes, the KLIA Transit feels really good and the Komuter really crap. How about KLIA transit introduce a "standard class" with less frills in some carriages, while maintaining some of their current ones for "premium"?
And as for frequency, I would suggest that they cut down the frequency or totally scrap the KLIA Express and have it fully replaced by the Transit. 36 minutes. 28 minutes. Big difference.
All this can't happen until all the operators and authorities sit down together to coordinate. I would recommend a business and operations model like this to be explored, in order to allow this complicated network of operators to integrate.
As much as we would like KL Sentral to be the "transport hub" of the city, we must also recognize that due to physical and technological limitations, some sort of "disintermediation" in terms of routing through KL should be explored.
The use of buses also must not be discounted!
It is also inevitable that KTM has to
- improve on its scheduling (and having it enforced!) and also further computerization with traffic control
- increase in capacity by acquiring more rolling stock to articulate the current trains and to have more train sets in service
- improve its station quality as well as integration with other rail lines
Victory number one
The yucky Horlicks structures at Jalan Semangat?
Well, guess what:
Dear Sirs,One step at a time.
Thank you for your valuable feedback and pleased to inform that we have taken the necessary steps to clear out the debris.
We also take this opportunity to apologise for inconvenience caused.
Azariah Tahir, Communications Manager
Office : +603-74xx xxxx
Fax : +603-42xx xxxx
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), Lot 89, Jalan Enggang, Ampang/Ulu Kelang Industrial Estate, 54200 Selangor, MALAYSIA
GSK - Do more, feel better, live longer
Wednesday, September 27, 2006
KL Boleh - More thoughts
They are not new to KL. And they can be found everywhere, not just at LRT Stations. And I'm not going to launch into a sermon, even though I am tempted to, as to why and how the people who need help the most don't seem to get it.
The photo above was taken at the Bukit Bintang Monorail. According to Lex, it was on the bit of the bridge linking Sungai Wang. And the ones below are at Pasar Seni LRT.
What has happened to our welfare services such that these people have to subject themselves to this lowly state? I hope something can be done to help these men and women find employment. How about the Welfare Services set up "social enterprise" to get these beggars to work stuff like shining shoes, selling tissues, selling newspapers, busking etc. at the LRT Stations? I remember growing up going to Pasar Malam and being thoroughly entertained by blind musicians. In Britain, hobos sell the magazine, The Big Issue.
(do I see a PUT-A? ekekeke)
Another irritating thing that I myself have found is the bunch of people doing "surveys" at the KLCC underpass. Knowing that they can't accost you in the LRT Station or inside KLCC itself, they all congregate in the tunnel, a no-man's-land.
As for buskers, good for them! But please, improve on your repertoire please.
Essentially, the rule I would advocate is anything that doesn't block pedestrian access.
When it rains... at the car parks
According to Lex, these photos were taken at Bangsar LRT station on Saturday. Whenever it rains puddles form at the access to the car park.
And users are expected to main lompat-lompat.
I don't know if this is the typical quality of car parks at the LRT stations. I hope not.
When it rains... in the stations
The LRT system is barely 10 years old. And it has already shown many signs of wear and tear.
This is Pasar Seni LRT. When the rain comes down, buckets and dustbins, and janitors come out.
Ticket vending machines
Over the weekend, Rapid KL launched the revamped bus services in Area 5 & 6. So many of the newbies, like Lex, needed some help with the service.
This is Medan Pasar on Monday. While some Rapid KL staff were working hard and trying to be very helpful...
Others chose to post themselves in some hidden corner (at AmBank).
Meanwhile, this was another photo taken at the Pasar Seni bus stand.
Lex told me this on Monday:
When I was at KL Sentral at around 1 something, I wanted to enquire about service 115. I waited for about 20 minutes but saw no 115, and then went to ask the Rapid KL staff stationed next to the SkyBus counters... And I was then told that the bus would leave at 2. Shocked, I then pointed out to the staff the promise in the Rapid KL leaflets that City shuttles run every FIVE minutes. Then the guy pointed out RUDELY and SMUGLY, the proviso on the leaflet:
DISCLAIMER: Rapid KL reserves the right to make any changes prior to any notice.
(KLC: What horrigible English. Prior to any notice.)Case item #1
Then I told him, that yah, this seems to be the quality of service that Rapid KL wants to offer. And he challenged me to file a complaint.
I would, but I forgot to note down his name and pangkat.
Well, I will try to bring this to Rapid KL's attention.
This reminds me of another instance at Pasar Seni LRT Station. An old uncle wanted to purchase a bus pass or make some enquiry at the counter (the same one as the "break" photo). There were a group of Rapid KL staff, drivers I suppose milling around at the bus shelter in front of the pondok. The uncle asked the staff if they could help him out. Then they laughed at him and pointed out the sign "solat". Need I say more?
Another incident that reader AlFresco has related to me:
I was riding the 108 from Medan Pasar to Bukit Bintang, trying out the service. Essentially this loop service takes you from Medan Pasar, through Jalan Raja Chula, Bukit Bintang, Imbi, Jalan Tun Razak and back. I was trying out the service for the first time so I wanted to see what this route looked like. After doing Bukit Bintang and Imbi, the bus driver stopped at Pasar Rakyat and asked all passengers to disembark! I was shocked. I told the driver that this was a loop service (berkeliling) and the route terminates at Medan Pasar, where it starts. He told me, that it was his break time and he was sorry, everyone had to get off and wait for another 108. I waited for another 15 minutes for the next bus. This was the first and last time I'd use the Rapid KL.Can Rapid KL kindly explain if drivers are authorized to terminate services midway and take breaks? Is this sort of behaviour rampant?
Whether you use public transport, or not, everyone would agree that it really sucks big time having to walk around KL. (apart from the hot weather la)
Pedestrians have to dodge vehicles parked on the already narrow sidewalks. Crossing roads are difficult as pedestrian crossings usually don't give priority to pedestrians who have to stand in the sun. Pedestrians are forced to climb overhead bridges, even in the city centre, while subways are usually disgusting and dodgy. Drivers seldom allow pedestrians to cross roads, even at designated pedestrian crossings. Missing drain covers are aplenty.
Disabled friendly transport
Disabled persons have been demanding access to public transport for a very long time. They haven't been very successful, apart from that in the Putra LRT system and what used to be its Putraliner feeder buses.
The joke of the day is that today, Rapid KL in 2006, can't even get it right with this issue. Its new bus fleet is not disabled friendly, with regards to persons with mobility difficulties.
And it tickles me when on their buses, they have allocated the orange colour priority seats, but have made no provision for persons on wheelchairs. But they have chosen to label these priority seats with the "wheelchair user sign".
As you can see, the seats are not foldable.
Peter Tan has wrote about accessible public transportation.
Rapid KL has done an amazing job with disseminating information in its short history. In many ways it has done a lot of things unimaginable under previous transport operator managements. It publishes detailed bus route information on the web, it has put up plenty of the same information at bus stops, it has printed out thousands of leaflets, it has been talking to the press. But still, there is a lot to be done, and a lot is still to be desired of. I have talked about its website and bus stop information.
I'm glad that Rapid KL has come in to save the day. Good luck!