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Move forwards, not backwards to solve our public transport crisis (Update #1)

Update: Azmi Sharom wants you to buzz your rep on the bus issue!

TRANSIT has taken note of the following letters in the newspapers regarding the public transport crisis – suggesting that the crisis could be resolved with the introduction of van services and owner-operated minibuses.

While TRANSIT appreciates the suggestions, and appreciate that vans and minibuses still have a role in our public transport mix, we do not believe that vans and minibuses by themselves are an effective solution for our public transport problems. Unregulated vans & minibuses cannot replace stage buses, have created problems in the past (and will likely create more problems in the future), and do not resolve the fundamental problems in the industry – a lack of organization & leadership.

The articles (in full) and comments from TRANSIT can be found after the jump…

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Over 1,000 passengers stranded at Perak KTMB stations due to bomb hoax

TRANSIT took note of this disturbing article which stated that KTM Intercity and ETS services were temporarily suspended due to a suspected bomb on the railway tracks.

Apparently an anonymous phone call claimed that the bomb was underneath a bridge along the railway tracks.

Service on the railway has now resumed.

Over 1,000 passengers stranded at stations due to false alarm (The Star)
Friday December 2, 2011

TAPAH: More than 1,000 train passengers were stranded at several railway stations after a bomb scare which turned out to be a hoax.

All train services between here and Tanjung Malim were halted after police received an anonymous call claiming there was a bomb beneath a bridge along the railway tracks between Bidor and Tanjung Malim at 1.45am yesterday.

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Women-only taxi service launched in the Klang Valley. The service is also available “for other ‘vulnerable’ people” but will it be safer as “assured”? (Update #1)

  • Updated with more letters & articles!

TRANSIT took note of this article announcing the launching of women-only taxi cab services at KLCC recently.

Women-only taxi-cab services join the women-only train coaches and women-only bus services offered by KTM Komuter and RapidKL respectively.

Unfortunately, the general climate of fear that exists in Malaysia, as well as a lack of education about respect for women, combined with reports of violence against women, and a “protective” approach towards solving problems, has led to the growth of women-only services.

As you can imagine, we wish the “need” for ‘women-only’ services did not exist – but since it does exist, we appreciate that the service is being provided.

Women-only cabs launched (The Star)
Sunday November 27, 2011

KUALA LUMPUR: Female passengers can now travel at night without having to worry about their safety with the launch of women-only taxis.

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KTM Update: Improved facilities at Komuter stations will help deal with long waits.

TRANSIT took note of this interesting article in which KTMB has announced plans to improve the facilities at KTM Komuter stations, to help commuters deal with the unacceptable wait times that are plaguing the system.

Now, this is something that TRANSIT had been talking about for some time – and ironically, it took a few years to get the plans in place. And probably even more ironic is that by the time everything is done and taken care of, there will be another 20-30 Komuter trains operating – so the facilities may end up going unused.

But in the meantime – let’s learn more about the plans.

KTMB to add new features for wait time and security (The Star)
19 September

KUALA LUMPUR: Plans are in the pipeline for Keretapi Tanah Melayu Bhd (KTMB) to upgrade its train stations with more facilities to enhance convenience for passengers.

KTMB will also be implementing features to improve commuters’ security in its stations.

KTMB corporate communications senior manager Mohd Fazil Ismail said KTMB would introduce features such as WiFi, fans, LCD screens and mobile phone chargers that would keep commuters occupied during train arrival intervals.

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Updates #100

Updates #100

NOTE: Because of the Hari Raya Aidilfitri & Balik Kampung, this update will cover 2 weeks of public transport news.

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People stay away from pedestrian bridge due to safety concern. TRANSIT: Surprise, surprise.

TRANSIT took note of this article detailing concerns about a pedestrian flyover near the Hang Tuah LRT & Monorail interchange.

Apparently the flyover has been occupied by vagrants and is unlit at night – discouraging people from using the flyover and instead, risking their safety crossing the street below.

TRANSIT is saddened and disappointed but we can say that we are not shocked at all that this is happening.

People stay away from pedestrian bridge due to safety concern

THE pedestrian walkway and bridge at Jalan Dewan Bahasa and Jalan Hang Tuah which was built to allow pedestrians to cross Jalan Hang Tuah to get to the monorail station and the Hang Tuah LRT station has now become a den for drug addicts and vagrants.

Due to safety concerns, the public has stopped using the bridge due to the presence of these seedy characters who seem to have made the bridge their “home”.

“The people are afraid of using the bridge especially at night. It has now become a sleeping place for vagrants and I have seen drug addicts loitering on the bridge,’’ said Chen Kee Tuck, a resident of Hang Tuah flats.

There have been many cases of snatch thefts on the bridge. The people are afraid of using it,’’ said the 71-year-old.

Danger nearby: Many pedestrians avoid using the bridge as there has been cases of snatch thefts and robberies. Photo by NORAFIFI EHSAN (The Star)
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Have you ever heard of ‘Rail therapy’?

At our occasional meetings, TRANSIT members do take time to chat. One of the topics is physical fitness, discomfort etc (sometimes related to standing in the trains and buses, sometimes not).

Some members have talked about magnetic bracelets as a way to introduce magnetic therapy into the body.

But over in Indonesia, it seems that people are taking magnetic therapy even further:

Rail therapy for poor Indonesians (Free Malaysia Today)
August 13, 2011
Many people who cannot afford medical care are seeking cure from an unorthodox source – lying on rail tracks.
By Ahmad Pathoni

Indonesians lie on railway tracks in search of 'railway therapy' by allowing a small electrical current to flow through their bodies. Image courtesy of Free Malaysia Today.

JAKARTA: Dozens of people who lie on railway tracks in Jakarta every morning and before dusk don’t have a death wish. Instead, they are seeking a cure from various illnesses such as rheumatism and back pain through the low electrical current in the rails.

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RapidKL’s women-only bus service to expand next year?

TRANSIT took note of this article indicating that there may be a plan to expand RapidKL’s women-only bus services next year.

Women-only buses cheer: Additional coaches and routes being reviewed for launch next year (Malay Mail)
Shahrim Tamrin
Friday, June 10th, 2011

HAPPY LOT: RapidKL women-only coach during a trial run last December. Image courtesy of The Malay Mail.

KUALA LUMPUR: THE number of RapidKL women-only buses and routes covered in the Klang Valley may be increased next year as a result of overwhelming response from female commuters.

Shahril Mokhtar, group managing director of Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd (Prasarana – which operates RapidKL)) said: “The feedback we received from working adults and college students on the special coaches has been overwhelmingly encouraging. The ladies are happy with this special service from their respective areas to the city.”

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Updates #89

Updates #89

1. Article: Strain of Waiting (NST, 10 June 2011) – Complaints about the Penang Hill Railway including about a lack of information on the website, Suggestions for improvement include online ticket sales.

The slow rate of boarding the funicular train has irked many visitors. — Picture by Norhayati Umor NST
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Metal thieves hurt public transport (Update #1)

TRANSIT took note of this interesting article on one of the “other” issues that affects the quality of LRT & Komuter service – namely metal theft.

Yesterday, police arrested more than 2 dozen metal thieves trying to steal rail track from the abandoned Subang Airport spur line.

The Malay Mail wrote the article below, with information from KTM about the challenges they are facing with respect to metal thieves.

Rail headache (Malay Mail)

Aizat Sharif
Wednesday, May 4th, 2011
Railway track theft

DERAILED: These abandoned lines at the old railway station at Subang International Airport have been targetted by thieves. Image courtesy of Malay Mail.

PETALING JAYA: About RM2 million is lost every year to theft of railway properties, ranging from tracks and bolts to signalling cables, which are mainly sold as scrap metal.

KTM Bhd corporate communications senior manager Mohd Fazil Ismail said an average of 300 metal theft cases occur annually along the national rail grid — an almost daily event.