Dear Land Public Transport Commission of Malaysia (SPAD),
Hi, it’s me again. You remember, one of the rakyat jelata? The ones who actually use the modes of public transportation on a daily basis?
If you recall, I had written to you earlier this year to raise a few pointers, regarding local taxi drivers, your chairman, the whole pointless argument with Uber and Grabcar (which has since proven useless, since the two bodies were granted recognition by Parliament), and how your body has dropped the ball on issues, ranging from bus route changes to fare price increases, the latter of which was coupled with your commission’s stance that these hikes have not deterred the public from utilising these services.
Well, it’s near the end of the year, and there doesn’t seem to be any indication that any positive changes have taken effect. In point of fact, several other things have not gone according to plan. The KL Light Rail Transit (LRT) extensions have been completed – which, instead of lightening the load, has increased the number of daily passengers to even greater numbers than the previously already unmanageable amount.
This has led to longer waiting times for a lot of people who cannot even enter the trains, never mind get a seat – assuming that all goes well and the trains run on schedule. Alas, unscheduled delays and stops still occur far too regularly, as the newly-added commuters from Puchong discovered within the first week of operation for their extension line. In fact, there was even an infamous breakdown which saw the train stop halfway between stations – where the passengers were forced to march on the actual tracks itself to escape from being stuck inside a mass suburban coffin.
What has been the response of Prasarana, the company that runs the various rail systems (barring the Komuter, which is still under national railway company KTM Bhd) as well as the bus systems? They offered fare discounts for LRT users who take the train from 6am-7am, in a bid to encourage staggered travel times amongst travellers. It also offered to refund customers who had to wait 15 minutes or more for a train – but only if they left eh station instead of waiting for the service to resume.
The discount might have had an impact – were it not for the inconvenient fact that even before the station gates open at 6am every weekday, there are already more than a score of people waiting to use the service, as anyone who has ever used the early service well knows. And failing to compensate the travellers who continued their delayed journey – which was no fault of their own – smacks of a knee-jerk reaction from a transportation company that does not emphatise nor understand its customers.
Look, we get it – juggling KL’s public transportation is not for the faint of heart. And we hear that things are not any better in Penang, either, which is in equally desperate need of a better public transportation system. But since that is your organisation’s only job, and you have been allocated several million ringgit for improvements under the Budget 2017, shouldn’t you spend a bit of it on the ones who ultimately give your organisation meaning: the rakyat itself?
If it’s a question of insufficient funding, you should be talking directly to the government; after all, your chairman used to be the Home Minister, no less. Surely he has enough clout to convince the Cabinet that the rakyat deserve better, since they don’t have police outriders to help smooth the path for them when they go to and from work?
Source : Ahmad Azrai@The Heat Malaysia Online