TRANSIT took note of this interesting hotline story sharing passenger complaints about the availability of the ‘shortcut’ bridge at Ampang LRT station.
The retractable ‘shortcut’ bridge is used to connect the concourse area of the Ampang LRT station to the ‘island’ platform. As such it passes over a section of live track (referred to as Track 2). When the bridge is retracted, customers must climb the stairs to access the platform as there are no lifts or escalators at Ampang LRT station.
Since service on the Ampang line spur is relatively infrequent (6 minutes between trains during peak hours, 14 minutes daytime, and 18 minutes off peak), the ‘shortcut’ is usually available. However, in some cases trains are parked on track 2 and occasionally, active trains are using track 2.
‘Shortcut’ woes at Ampang LRT (Malay Mail)
EE ANN NEE
Wednesday, June 22nd, 2011
WITH the increasing clamour for public transport facilities to be made more user-friendly, especially for the disabled, elderly and pregnant women among others, we find, once again, such a facility apparently doing the opposite.
Senior citizen MUSTAFA AHMAD, 64, does not see why an existing ‘shortcut’ walkway at the Ampang LRT station needs to be closed “whenever the station feels like it”.
He is one of the many commuters at this station who told Hotline they want the ‘shortcut’ walkway to be made available at all times.
The ‘shortcut’, when opened, admits commuters directly from the station entrance to the platform as it bridges a rail track. Commuters are able to bypass a flight of stairs they usually have to take, when they use this ‘mini bridge’.
On Monday, Hotline observed the ‘shortcut’ walkway was closed at 9am. When the connecting platform was retrieved, trains, including those not in service, would ‘park’ at the rail track there.
“The walkway should be opened continously for everyone’s convenience. If trains need to be put there, why don’t they use another place? RapidKL should find an alternative for the convenience of commuters,” says MUSTAFA from Ampang.
[TRANSIT: There is a somewhat easier solution … when a train is parked, make sure that a set of doors align with the entrance to the concourse area. Then, open the train doors on both sides of the train. This is what they do at Chan Sow Lin station.]
He says senior folks like him, as well as families with children and baby strollers would have a hard time using the stairway.
Another commuter from Ampang, YAP YOKE CHIN, 48, says RapidKL needs to improve the station facilities.
“They’re not taking care of commuters. Shouldn’t we consider senior citizens, the disabled groups and those carrying heavy luggage? It’s been like this for many years and there are no escalators or elevators here,” says YAP who takes the train daily.
She says without the ‘shortcut’, commuters using the stairway tire themselves rushing for trains.
● Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad (Prasarana) group director of rail, Khairani Mohamed, says the company has always put commuters interest at heart.
“It is because of this commitment that we constructed this ‘bridge’ that connects the Ampang station entrance to the platform. The bridge provides a ‘shortcut’ and connects the concourse to platform. This allows commuters easy access without having to use the stairs.”
However, Khairani says it however remains an obstruction to the track.
He explains that the Ampang station has an ‘island’ platform with railtracks on each side.
Most times, Track 1, which is situated away from the concourse, is used for operations, thereby allowing the bridge to be placed over Track 2 to allow commuters the ‘straight’ walk to the station entrance.
“However, when we need to increase or reduce the number of trains based on traffic demand; or whenever a train is entering or exiting the depot, Track 2 would need to be used.”
In doing so, the ‘shortcut’ bridge has to be pulled back, and passengers are directed to use the stairs.
“It is during these times that the bridge is closed, which is necessary to allow our operations to move smoothly and ensure no disruption of the overall service. Outside these operations, the ‘short-cut’ bridge is open for commuters.”
The ‘shortcut’ bridge is an interesting feature of the Ampang LRT line but it is also one example of the constraints that have been built into the LRT system – especially the original STAR line.
The Ampang LRT station is located in a very tight space, with the Ampang depot located nearby. There is no room to install a lift or escalator without having to make major changes to the station.
One solution would be to expand the station northwards to Jalan Ampang, building a station entrance directly on the street, and allowing passengers to access the island platform from there.
But until that happens, TRANSIT proposes that RapidKL implement the more simple solution – when a train is parked there, leave the doors open on both sides and allow passenger to walk through.
It’s not that hard to do, is it?