Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Ever since the hike of the price of petrol, the government encourage the citizen to take the public transportation. It was also told that the subsidy that the government gave to the petrol subsidy was being pumped into the improvement of the public transportation. Because of that, since my office is just nearby one of the Putra LRT Station, my normal route to the office starts from KTM Komuter Station Segambut until KL Sentral where I then take the Putra LRT at KL Sentral until Putra LRT Taman Jaya. My fare for a one way journey from Segambut to KL Sentral is RM1 while the Putra LRT to Taman Jaya is RM1.60.

So, what happen yesterday was very unusual. The normal komuter train delay happened. When I got into the the train, I had to wait for another 10 minutes inside the packed train before the train got off the station. Before that, I heard an announcement that the komuter service to Sentul has been ended because of power failure. So, my journey to Segambut should be fine. The jam packed train got even packed when more people got in despite the fullness of the coaches. I was trapped at the heart of the train with people surrounding me. It got even warmer as the train passes through 2 stations.

Right after Putra KTM Komuter Station, the train was on its way to another station where I should got off. All of the sudden, after going through a tunnel, a thundering sound was heard just on top of my head. All of the passenger was panicking. I then could see a few pieces of cable lying on top of the train just hanging down the window of the train. The driver of the train quickly reminded the passenger to remain where they are since the cables are live. I was still stuck in this massive crowd of people and started to sweat. After about 15 minutes of helplessly stranded inside the crowd, everybody starts to sweat, the door is closed, oxygen is running low, the people got fed up since there was no rescue who came. Even the driver sounded panicking through the speakers.

KTM Komuter Train Cable Snapped
Eventually, the passenger had to take the matter on their own hands. They smashed the emergency switch and got out of the train. From what I saw, there were hundreds of people had to walk back to the station. They even brought down the fences to get out of the railway. I didn't bring my digital camera so it was unfortunate of me not to take pictures of such experience.

I then headed back home using the bus where I had to walk another 3 kilometres to the nearest bus station. All the buses was full too. Passing by Sentul, I then saw a crowd of people overseeing the railway. I wasn't so sure what I saw because it was dark already but I'm guessing it's a big object lying on the railway and it's a big object. So, today I read The Sun e-Paper and there it was, the story:

Thousands stranded after rail mishap

by Charles Ramendran

KUALA LUMPUR: Thousands of commuters of the inter-city KTM Komuter services were stranded at its stations after a runaway tipper lorry at a road construction site severed overhead power cables and crashed onto the railway tracks near Sentul yesterday.

KTM Berhad managing director Datuk Mohd Salleh Abdullah said it was estimated that 40,000 commuters would be affected by the mishap. Three thousand passengers were travelling in five trains between the Kuala Lumpur-Rawang and Kuala Lumpur-Sentul routes during the peak hour at 6pm when the trains came to an abrupt halt following the incident.

The trains edged slowly to their nearest stations where the passengers disembarked. No casualties were reported. It is learnt that the unmanned lorry, parked on a flyover of the Sentul Link Expressway under construction near Km5 Jalan Ipoh, had moved backwards down a slope. It rolled over the road shoulder and plunged 15m onto the dual railway tracks, snapping the power cables.

In a statement, KTMB said both routes will be closed until repairs are carried out.

There was no story or pictures about the KTM Komuter train to Rawang of my stranded experience. What dissapoint me the most was there was almost no effort of KTMB trying to help the crowd of stranded people getting out of the KTM Komuter. It was a pity for old citizen and women to jump down from the train on the railway as it is like 1 metre from the ground up. The driver I'm guessing has no training in handling the passenger in the case of an emergency. Still, I'm guessing KTMB has no emergency plan in case something like that happen again. That is all when the government has put in the subsidy money of petrol into improving the public transportation.

Public transportation in Kuala Lumpur is well known as not reliable. It does seem true from my own experience. There are plenty of works to be done to improve the current situation. Until then, I will rely on my own transportation and see if the situtaion improves.

P/S: You can read more about this incident at KL Bizz Portal Village. A new portal developed by my own team of online friends.
posted by Encik Ash at 5/17/2006 04:14:00 pm |