I refer to the breakdown of the Rapid KL Kelana Jaya LRT line during peak hours yesterday evening.
I was one the victims caught in this mess yesterday. As a passenger who daily uses this LRT line together with thousands of other passengers, this is the third time the Gombak and Kelana Jaya lines have given us problems.
I got stuck inside the train for almost one hour the last time and again yesterday. It was a horrible experience for all of us to go through.
Yesterday, when I reached the Paramount station to board the train, there was along queue at the ticket counter and we were told by the guard to find other alternatives to get back home as there will no trains for the next two hours.
Feeling disappointed and frustrated, I had to find another way to get back but it was raining heavily at that time and there was no taxi.
What made me feel heartbroken was the sight of two blind persons waiting for the train and their anxiety when they were told that there will be no trains for the next two hours. These two people felt lost and did know how to get to KL Sentral without a taxi due to the rain and the heavy road traffic.
Since I was also heading to KL Sentral, I told them that they can take the KTM Komuter to get to KL Sentral and they thanked me and walked away.
When I finally got to the nearest KTM station, I saw the same two blind people at this KTM station and they were waiting for the train. It took 45 minutes for the train to arrive! And of course, it was packed and these poor people had to squeeze in.
To my horror no one sitting in the Komuter train got up to give these two blind persons a place to sit.
Finally when we reached KL Sentral, I managed to get them into a taxi and as if adding salt to the wound, the taxi driver demanded RM3 ringgit extra citing the rainy weather. After a short argument, the taxi driver gave in and agreed to the meter rate and took them in.
Even for a physically normal person, it is frustrating when one of the main public transport systems fail. I reached home at almost 10pm after left my office at 6.30 pm yesterday.
I can only imagine what people with disabilities (PWDs) go through in situations like this when our buildings and public transport systems are already not friendly to PWDs or, in short, accessible to them.
I am writing this letter because I had a chance to witness in person the difficulties faced by PWDs and share their frustrations. I hope that the relevant authorities and Rapid KL will look into problems faced by commuters disabled or otherwise.
Imagine the economic loss if this incident happened during the morning rush hour and thousands of people arrive to work late that day. It happened in Penang just a few days ago when a crane collapsed on the Penang Bridge.
If we decide to support public transportation, incidents like this makes us very unproductive! To all agencies and transport service providers, on behalf of all the commuters, I seriously urge you ensure that incidents such as yesterday’s do not recur.
Yesterday’s incident indicates the collapse of the whole integrated public transportation system.