Malaysian commuter ire spikes as 16 KL-Selangor LRT stations shut for a week
PETALING JAYA - Tens of thousands of LRT commuters in Kuala Lumpur and Selangor were left frustrated on Wednesday morning as service disruptions caused by train signalling issues, derailed their commute to work.
RapidKL, operator of the light rail transit (LRT) system, announced that 16 stations on the Kelana Jaya LRT line - one of the earliest rapid transit systems in Malaysia - have been shut for seven days until next Tuesday (Nov 15).
Parts of the line were hit by several service interruptions from last weekend, the company said.
In Malaysia’s Klang Valley - comprising densely-populated capital city KL and districts in southern Selangor - the LRT, Mass Rapid Transit (MRT), KTM Komuter and the monorail are enmeshed in a network used by some 700,000 people daily. The Kelana Jaya LRT line centered on downtown Kuala Lumpur, caters to some 300,000 commuters a day.
Opposition politicians, in the midst of election campaigning, jumped into the fray, saying they would quickly fix the problems should they come to power. Voting is on Nov 19.
One commuter who was affected was content strategist Ryan Habibullah, 34 who said that despite the deployment of feeder buses, he ended up walking 4km to work.
“First of all, there aren’t enough buses for the number of people affected. The buses also did not stop at all the places they promised. The cost of e-hailing taxis jumped by four times the usual price in the morning rush hour, he said.
Commuters also took to Twitter to share their frustration, with ‘RapidKL’ the number one trending topic in Malaysia.
“LRT is closed. The Bus is inefficient. Grab as a solution contributes to heavy traffic, severe pollution and stress,” wrote a_akira_ren.
Another commuter, izzulfaris78, tweeted that if the disruptions continued, RapidKL must make all its LRT fares free of charge for a month. “People have used up so much time/money/energy just to go home. Do you expect people to just be okay with you shutting down the heart of KL?” he asked in his tweet.
Said former transport minister Anthony Loke, a leader in Pakatan Harapan (PH), told a news conference that he would look closely as how to fix the issue should the opposition coalition wins to federal power.
“This means those who rely on the LRT to travel to and fro from work must look for other means of transportation, which is a huge hassle,” he said on Wednesday as reported by Malaysiakini news site.
Earlier, another PH leader Mr Lee Chean Chung demanded the resignation of the company’s CEO Amir Hamdan, saying he should take responsibility for the latest disruption.
“The LRT system is facing one of the worst disruptions in the history of our LRT trains. Our LRT is unserviceable for a week,” he said, as reported by the news site.
Meanwhile, Prasarana CEO Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah said the 16 stations had to be shut because there was a recurring and unprecedented breakdown in its signalling system.
Due to this, he said as quoted by Malaysiakini, the control centre is unable to track the train’s location and this posed a safety hazard. Prasarana, parent company of RapidKL, is a government transport agency. - THE STAR/ASIA NEWS NETWORK
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