Saturday, September 6, 2008

4 Hours to reach home!

Up till last week, my exposure to the Klang Valley's public transportation has been exclusive to the Kelana Jaya LRT line and occasionally the KTM Komuter service. I'm a regular LRT commuter, using the service from Kelana Jaya Station to Masjid Jamek Station almost every working day.

Occasionally, I would also be taking the KTM Komuter service from its Batu Tiga station to KL Sentral, where I would switch back to using the Kelana Jaya LRT line to disembark at Masjid Jamek.

And this has been my routine for the last three years since taking up a position at my current office which lie smack in front of the Masjid Jamek Station.

And from the three years experience I have with the public transporation that I'm used to, I have considered that our Public Transportation was really not bad (despite the occasional hiccups from time to time).

But this assesment of public transportaion is perhaps due to the fact that I do not rely on public transportation wholely as as we use our own car to travel to the stations from home (and vice versa).

This arrangement changed earlier this week when Mrs. J's office implemented a new woking hours in conjunction with the Ramadan month.

Instead of finishing work at 5.30 pm, the office now closes an hour earlier at 4.30 pm but starts at 8.00 am (instead of 8.30 am) and a reduced lunch break from 1 hour to just half an hour.

It's great to have the working hours adjusted as this would enabled its employees to reach home earlier to prepare for breaking of fast with the family members.

Unfortunately, not all offices observe adjusted office hours. Mine, for instance is business as usual, making Mrs. J's adjusted working hours meaningless if she had to wait for me to arrive at Kelana Jaya LRT Station only about 6.00 pm.

So we decided that Mrs. J should just go straight home after office and let me find my own way home using KL's Public Transfortation system all the way. And that's where my nightmare began!

It was on the third day of Ramadan that I experienced the real pain of using public transportation. I started the journey home from office comfortably using the much familiar Kelana Jaya line, but instead of disembarking at Kelana Jaya station, I got out at KL Sentral Sentral instead. And I got there in less than 5 minutes.

Once at KL Sentral, I had two choices, one, switch to KTM Komuter to Shah Alam station or two, take the RapidKL bus from KL Sentral all the way to the Sri Muda Bus Hub.

I opted for choice No. 2 and proceeded to wait at the bus station besides KL Sentral. But I noticed something, there don't seem to be any bus servicing Sri Muda passing through KL Sentral Station. I remember taking the bus from that station once (when they first introduced the service), but where is the bus now?

After going through all the embarkation bays and couldn't find one that could let me board a bus to Sri Muda, I went to check with a RapidKL bus personnel based at the station.

I was then told to walk further to the "other" KL Sentral Station, the one belonging to Monorail as the bus now passes that station instead. (It's funny though that here are two KL Sentral Stations, one the real KL Sentral Station, and the other, the smaller station located about a kilometer away but still bearing the same name!).

So off I went to the other KL Sentral Station and joined to crowd all waiting for their respective buses.

But all other buses passes by but not the one heading to Sri Muda! So after waiting for about half an hour, I headed back to the "real" KL Sentral Station to take the KTM Komuter service instead.

Within minutes (which was already about 6.15 pm), the KTM Komuter to Port Klang arrived and just like the earlier LRT ride it was also a smooth journey of about half an hour to my destination, the Shah Alam station.

By 6.45 pm, I was already at Shah Alam KTM Station. Again I joined the crowd waiting for the feeder bus that would take me to the Sri Muda Bus Hub. But there I was, waiting in vain, 3 other Komuter passed but not a single bus arrived. At last there was this bus that finally arrived but its destination was to the other part of Shah Alam and not the one heading to the Sri Muda Bus Hub.

So at 7.15pm, I decided to walk towards the main road which was about 2 to 3 kilomoters away. And along the way, I could hear the sounds of the azan signalling the time to break fast. But unlucky me, I was all alone walking by myself with nothing to break fast with.

At the bus stop along the main road, came a bus that took me to the Sri Muda Bus Hub. But the bus came only at about 7.45 pm and I reached Sri Muda Bus Hub half an hour later.

At Sri Muda Bus Hub, the waiting game repeated. There were no buses, both the RapidKL Feeder Bus nor the Mini Bus until at around 8.45 pm, and it was the Mini Bus that arrived.

The Mini Bus, which was very much a run-downed bus ( I wonder how Puspakom approed this bus for service with automatic door not working, air-cond kaput, and squeky sounds everywhere) finally brought me home at exactly 9.15 pm. A journey of 4 hours to reach home from office. Wow! What a shame! (I could have reached Penang I were to drive from KL!)

I hope someone responsible for public transporation would re-look our public transportation service again and improve on the connectivity of the various modes of public transportation. It is a shame that while we do have a quite a decent public transporation modes like the LRT, Komuter, RapidKL buses and (eeee) the Mini Bus , the connectivity and synchronosation of the various services is still very much in disrepute.

I have to keep on using the public transportation thoughout the month. For the next trip, I want to change the route. I would take the RapidKL Bus from Pasar Seni
all the way to Sri Muda. Let's see how long will it take. I'll keep you posted, just in case if you have any need to use public transportaton as well sometime.

Jasni AJ


AZRA said...

Omigosh.. that is one horror experience! Bulan puasa pulak tu. Drive to jb pun baru 3 jam setengah je, Jasni. I wonder when we could have a reliable and efficient public transportation system..

Jasni AJ said...

Hi Azra,

Mrs. J asked me to take a cab home from the station but I refused. I refused because I don't like to get into a cab that doesn't use the meter, and almost all cabs at that miserable place doesn't use meter. Everyone knows about this except of course the JPJ and LPKP!

Very telling right?