Tuesday, March 3, 2009

LRT passengers’ journey derailed after blackout halts Kelana Jaya line

View: For all the improvements in mass transit, it is still in the mercy of the electricity grid.

Wednesday March 4, 2009 THESTAR


KUALA LUMPUR: Several LRT stations were jam-packed last night when thousands of commuters were stuck for more than an hour due to the RapidKL Kelana Jaya LRT service being halted by a power failure during a storm. Some commuters were stuck in trains and only reached their destinations hours later.

Student Lai Yoke Yan, 22, boarded the train at the Asia Jaya station to go to Wangsa Maju. The train stopped for 40 minutes at the Universiti station and another 40 minutes at the next station before it moved again. The doors opened and closed intermittently while the train was stuck at the stations and some passengers left.

“I was standing for such a long time that my legs felt weak. It took me two hours to reach my destination,” he said.

Tan Siew Lee, 21, who was travelling with Lai, said she felt very angry, disappointed and tired.

Accounts executive Wong Kok Jen, 25, was equally upset as he was rushing to get to a dinner appointment.

“The Putra LRT is supposed to be the fastest way to travel within the city,” Wong said. “Instead, it took me nearly two hours to get from Damai to Bangsar. Normally it takes just 15 minutes.”

When he boarded the train at Damai, it did not move for 15 minutes and when the door suddenly opened, he got out of the cabin and waited at the station for about an hour before the train became operational again.

He noticed that the lights at several stations along the way were not functioning.

“The commuters nearer to the platform were calm, but those further back were frustrated as they didn’t know what was going on,” said Mohd Solehen Yusof, 17, who works at a store overlooking the KL Sentral LRT platform.

The system failure was apparently caused by a power disruption at a substation near the Kerinchi station at 5.58pm.

“When this happened, what we did was to bring all trains to the nearest station while we rectified the problem,” said RapidKL CEO Suffian Baharuddin.

“Due to the power failure, massive passenger congestions were experienced at the LRT stations along the Kelana Jaya line and it took some time to clear this jam,” he added.

Power was restored gradually from 7.15pm and train service resumed in stages with service returning to normal at 7.47pm.

RapidKL will investigate the cause of the incident.

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