Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Rail frustration at delay

Wednesday July 30, 2008 THESTAR


THOUSANDS of LRT users reached their destinations late yesterday when services on the Kelana Jaya LRT Line were disrupted from 6am to 3.30pm.

Fortunately, the inconvenience was reduced when Rapid KL deployed 22 buses to provide an alternative mode of transport to the commuters at the affected stations. The buses mainly went to KLCC.

According to LRT operator RapidKL, the line encountered track system problems between the Gombak and Setiawangsa stations. The technical glitches caused the fail-safe safety feature to be activated, which then disabled the automated driving feature.

During the disruption period, the trains were manually driven between the Gombak and Setiawangsa stations by RapidKL employees.

Waiting in line: The passengers at Kl Sentral rushing into the LRT after waiting longer than usual at the station.

The trains were also driven at a slower speed to ensure public safety. As a result, the speed of LRT trains throughout the Kelana Jaya Line was reduced.

Rangkaian Pengangkutan Integrasi Deras Sdn Bhd (RapidKL) communications general manager Ebi Azly Abdullah said in a fully-automated system, the tolerance level of the fail-safe feature was tight and any disruption would cause the system to stop.

“The trains at the affected stretches would be driven manually with adherence to a stringent set of operating procedures.” he said.

At the same time, RapidKL took several measures to reduce the level of inconvenience faced by the commuters, including the deployment of 22 buses with extended routes at the affected stations.

All aboard: People rushing in and out of the LRT in hopes of getting to their destination in time.

However, commuters still expressed their frustrations.

“I didn’t know about the delay in the service or I would have used another form of transport to get to college,” said Belinda Lim, 19.

Lim, who is a student at Tunku Abdul Rahman College was late for class as a result of waiting for the next train that would take her to the Wangsa Maju station.

“I’m so nervous now because I’m late, I wish they told us at the counter about the delay,” she said.

French tourist Lesauvage Oliver was also unhappy that the personnel at the counter failed to inform them of the delay.

Checking up:
RapidKl staff on board the trains to ensure the safety of the passengers.

“We only heard of the delay after we bought the tickets. If we had known earlier, we would have opted for another mode of transportation to Batu Caves,” Oliver said.

Oliver also mentioned that the information provided over the intercom was insufficient and passengers were clueless about the interruptions.

Another passenger, who declined to be named, said she had opted for a taxi after she heard the announcement at 6.45am.

“I was at the Wangsa Maju LRT station and I quickly ran down for a cab but the taxi drivers refused to take me because of the traffic jam,” she said.

There were frequent public announcements over the PA system at the stations and in the trains to update commuters on the delays.

The Ampang Line of the LRT network was not affected by the disruption and service was operating as normal.

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