By : SAMUEL YESUIAH, Seremban
I REFER to your report “Line up and break up” (NST, Jan 23) on KTM Komuter’s plan to enforce a queuing system to beat the mad rush of commuters at its stations.
The system involves the painting of three colours on the platforms. Commuters are required to queue behind on these colours, with the trains’ doors to open exactly next to the colours. Unfortunately, when the trains come to a stop, the doors are either several metres to the left or the right of the commuters. And then the line breaks up with commuters abandoning their queues and rushing into the carriage.
Commuters queuing up and breaking up cause chaos. This shoving and pushing offers opportunities for snatch thieves and pickpockets. The problem is compounded when commuters squeeze through the narrow doorway and prevent those disembarking from getting out.
Announcements over the public address system are of no avail. The few station guards are helpless because of the overwhelming crowd. This is a common occurrence over the weekend, public holidays and evenings on weekdays. especially at KL Sentral.
This culture of boarding Komuter trains in a scramble is unbecoming and unpleasant. The Komuter service is popular because it helps people to get to Kuala Lumpur from Seremban, Rawang, Sentul and Port Klang. Also, it is a cheap and convenient mode of travel. Unfortunately, despite many complaints being made KTM has not acted on them.
KTM should introduce new rules for queuing at stations. People should be made to queue up when they wait for the trains, whether there is a crowd or not. KTM officials should supervise the queues and help people get on the trains in an orderly manner. They should also direct the people to move down the aisles of the train and not jam the doorways so passengers can get on and off the train. They should also make sure that the trains are not packed for the safety and comfort of commuters.
The KTM New Queue system is a vast improvement on the chaos of the past, especially from the simple fact that KTMB is making a bit of effort instead of sitting back and saying that there is no solution.
However, as the letter points out, it is clear that it will not work without constant monitoring and education.
Before the “New-Queue” system was introduced, Transit had already suggested (directly to the former Managing Director of KTMB) that a special design be used for KL Sentral – where trains dropped off passengers first, then moved to another section of the platform to pick up passengers.
This would be possible in most of the busy stations, since trains are 3 carriages in length but platforms have capacity for trains of 8-9 carriages in length.
You can see from the image above (Bank Negara) that KTM Komuter platforms can be divided. In this case they are divided by destination because the platforms at Bank Negara (and Kuala Lumpur and Putra) stations are shared by both lines.
However, this division would be especially useful at KL Sentral and Midvalley, (even though platforms are not shared) because there are very large numbers of passengers boarding and alighting from trains.
While this would actually increase the time that would be taken for boarding…trains are already late. Transit knows that many passengers would prefer to have dignity and calm movement rather than trying to face pushing and shoving of people trying to save a few short moments of time.
We intend to keep monitoring and giving feedback to KTM wherever possible.
Moaz Yusuf Ahmad
on behalf of TRANSIT
photo from @TWK90 (Skyscrapercity.com forum)