Monday, October 10, 2005

A disgrace

The state of public transport in the Klang Valley could indeed be greatly improved. For a developed city like KL, with the exception of the LTR, our public transport system is disgraceful. Until something is done to make public transport more efficient, convenient and actually public friendly, there will still be more vehicles on the road, regardless of the rising cost of petrol, as people will not view it as a reasonable alternative.

Something as simple as ensuring the cleanliness of the busses would go far in convincing more people to use the service. What we have on the roads are dust coated and mud encrusted to the point of embarrassment.

Air conditioning that does not work makes travelling a suffocating experience especially the Metro busses that come with no other ventilation. Imagine being stuck in a packed bus during a heavy downpour and being stuck in traffic after 5pm.

It does not help when the conductors make sure that the buses are packed with far more people than its regulated stated capacity. Having people stand on the steps of the bus hanging on for dear life is not an unusual sight for KL motorists. It is dangerous as it is uncomfortable.

Timing is another issue. The Metro busses are notorious for waiting for passengers to fill up before moving, regardless of time. Even if the bus is half full, the bus will wait, sometimes even for more than 15 minutes so that it can travel to KL with a full load. This happens at the Sunway Pyramid stop all the time. Bad timing is also the bane of Kommuter passengers. With the barrage of “technical difficulties” that continually wrecks havoc with travel time, perhaps it is time KTM actually do something proactive to solve the issue than repeating the standard apology recording played whenever the train is late (again).

The taxis services in the country also leave more to be desired. In appears that taxi drivers in KL have the privilege of choosing their customers and not the other way around. If one is not fortunate enough to have a destination within the cab driver’s interest, passengers often get asked to get out of the cab, even though the cab is within the cab rank. Many others are not willing to charge by meter and would often ask for an exorbitant fee. Once I was at KLCC and for a ride that what would normally cost RM10 I was quoted RM25! Plus I was rudely rebuked when I pointed this out. At LRT stations, in front of shopping malls, it is impossible that the relevant authorities are not aware of this.

Tourists often complain about the blatant overcharging that they have to endure when they travel with Malaysian taxis. What is the point of having amazing tourist destinations and attractions when even merely getting there would cause so much unpleasantness. Do the authorities conduct checks on the drivers? Some of them are not fit to service the public at all.

The plight of those who have no alternative but to take public transport does not get enough attention.
Perhaps our MPs should concentrate on the real pressing issues that affect the everyday lives of their voters than other trivial pursuits such as determining how certain songs should be sung.

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