Friday August 22, 2008 - The Star
PM quietly takes public transport to experience commuters’ problems
KUALA LUMPUR: Setting aside protocol, Datuk Seri Abdullah Ahmad Badawi took rides on the commuter and LRT rail services from Serdang to the city centre yesterday to get a feel of the transport problems faced by the public and came away less than satisfied.
Throughout the one-hour journey, during which he switched trains, the Prime Minister noted the congestion, especially during the peak period, and spoke to his fellow passengers to get feedback.
Speaking to Bernama after disembarking at the Masjid Jamek LRT station, he said he was not satisfied and wanted immediate improvements to be made.
He said the existing services were not systematic, there were not enough coaches and coverage was not comprehensive, leaving many areas not serviced.
“I just saw the plight of people using the trains to get to work every morning. They were jostling to get on board every time a train arrived. There appeared to be no system.
“I’m not happy with this because the people are not getting satisfaction from riding the trains. This we must fix,” he said.
“I found the trains really packed. Some had waited for three trains and yet could not board.
“There’s no queue. People push their way in, women with children and old people are pushed aside,” he added.
Abdullah, who was unaccompanied by officials from the two rail services, arrived at the Serdang Komuter KTM station at 8.15am but could not get on board the first train that arrived because it was packed.
He got on the next train that came 15 minutes later and headed for KL Sentral, the transport hub for the various rail services.
There he also had to wait a while to switch to the Putra LRT service to get to the Masjid Jamek station because, again, the first train to arrive was full.
On both the trains that he took, the prime minister, dressed in a red batik shirt with gold print, stood although passengers offered him their seats.
Upon arrival at the Masjid Jamek station at 9.15am, he chatted with members of the public and bought local cakes from the sellers there before leaving.
Abdullah said he would give attention to efforts to improve the quality of both rail services.