RapidKL service sucks

There was a massive disruption in services for the Kelana Jaya LRT line again this morning. I usually get on the train at the Taman Bahagia station, so it was quite a familiar sight to see a train stopping longer than usual at the platform: it means that things are not so good way at the front.

I flipped on my BB to read the Rapidkl tweets and was not too astonished to see this –

rapidkl twitter extract 1

(note: extract was taken at a later, convenient time)

Well, fair enough – I’m no train engineer (although I love ‘Locomotion’ style games and enjoy troubleshooting complex traffic routes) but I’d rather that they fix defective signaling now than having a major cock-up later that may involve human safety. I think that the comment made above was absolutely spot on, a sentiment shared by most passengers of this train service.

Of course, it’s terribly irritating that such delays have got to happen during the time when people are going to work. It’s really unreasonable for the service to be disrupted when thousands of livelihoods are at stake. Having a job is like waging war – a fact not taken into consideration by those in charge of ensuring that the LRT service goes smoothly.

But what I really wanted to highlight is this – the train that I was travelling on was inching its way to Ampang Park, stopping by every station on the way for a good seven to ten minutes each. However, when the train was seemingly hurtling straight to the KLCC station, it suddenly rammed on the brakes and many passengers who were standing were thrown off balance like small dolls. In the middle aisle, the inertia yanked a group of ladies off their feet. I was standing up as well, but was always mindful of holding onto something solid like the metal handrails and not the flimsy rubber counterparts.

And luckily no one was hurt. But most people were in a state of shock as it happened very abruptly when the train was travelling close to its usual high speed. I guess most people are already obscenely late for work and that pissed them off even more. I was in my usual unflappable self although I was also consciously holding tighter to the handrail in case of any aftershocks as the train is wont to do when stationary.

When the train restarted, it went directly straight past the KLCC station. Lots of passengers expressed their disbelief – and no wonder – because that station is where many offices are located and lots of people usually get down at that stop. It’s good news for me though, as it meant eliminating a further seven minutes’ wait for the train to get moving from KLCC to Ampang Park.

I wanted to stress that all this braking is one day going to cause serious injuries to the passengers if RapidKL keeps this up. If you’re going to do so as a measure of safety, then you have to communicate this to the passengers instead of throwing them off guard, literally. 

C-O-M-M-U-N-I-C-A-T-E. Notify the passengers and tell them in clear and precise language what is happening and what is going to happen – something along the lines of ‘we are now approaching the affected area, kindly be aware that the train may apply its brakes automatically as a precaution and we advise passengers to hold on tight to the safety rails’. Not talk in some garbled voice laced with lots of radio static and about a topic which barely makes sense to the people on the train. Their safety is your concern. Don’t shirk it.

On a lighter side, I was standing in front of a really cute girl with glasses who was sitting down and sleeping for most of the journey, very occasionally frowning a little at the inordinate delay caused. I think that it made the journey a lot more bearable, if only for that moment.    

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