We do not often see RapidKL commenting in the news media but occasionally they do respond to customer letters that are sent. This response discusses a complaint about the closure of open parking space at the Dang Wangi LRT station.
The complainant also questioned why the parking space was not fully utilised at the LRT stations.
Please understand that the LRT was expressedly designed for the purpose of reducing congestion caused by too many people driving into the city. This is in line with the public transport policy as outlined by the government. [TRANSIT: Then why is it an “L”RT and not an “M”RT?]
As most can observe, proper parking spaces are built at our stations or stops outside the city centre. Driving into the city and finding a parking spot so that one may use the LRT will negate all the benefits like convenience and time-saving that the LRT service was built to offer.
The Dang Wangi LRT station was designed with the possibility of future real estate development in mind. This has resulted in ample empty space, and we had previously allowed the public to park there.
However, beginning May 1, we stopped the public from parking at the Dang Wangi station, with the exception of Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd’s employees. The parking area will be completely closed when Prasarana moves into its new office.
While we regret the inconvenience faced by Thoo, we would like to urge the public to use public transport, especially the LRT, to enter the city to help ease traffic congestion.
The original letter:
Streets Mail: Why waste parking space at LRT?
Thoo Su Lin, Kuala Lumpur
I HAD a meeting in Kuala Lumpur recently. It is difficult to get parking at the office block where I was going, so I decided to park my car at the Dang Wangi LRT station and take the LRT from there.
The entrance gate of the LRT station was opened. I asked the guard to let me in because I was carrying quite a lot of stuff with me. The man let me in and requested me to park at the outdoor parking lot because the indoor lots were reserved for the station’s staff.
However, a female guard came to me and said the parking lots were strictly reserved for the staff. I tried to explain to her that I was carrying something heavy while taking the train but she kept on saying “No”.
As a result, I had to park my car at the parking space next to the LRT station and carry my things to the station to take the LRT.
I came back from the meeting around lunchtime. When I came out from the Dang Wangi LRT station, I found that most of the parking lots in the LRT station were empty and the gate was closed.
The staff only took up the indoor parking lots at the station. I don’t understand why the management of the LRT station do not allow LRT passengers to park their cars in the station parking space instead of wasting the resources and facilities there.
This is an interesting and challenging question for public transport providers. RapidKL is clearly suggesting that they wish for people to take the LRT to get into the city instead of driving in and parking … but this issue is a lot more complicated than that.
First of all, where is the “city” anyways? For many people, KL “City” is the urbanized areas inside the MRRI. Although the areas outside of the MRRI are technically part of KL (WPKL, the Federal Territory), they are often described by their own names (Bangsar, Sentul, Mont Kiara), indicating that they are communities with a separate identity of their own.
This person, by choosing to drive to Dang Wangi LRT, clearly felt that Dang Wangi LRT is on the ‘edge’ of the city. Perhaps she was coming from the direction of Ampang and taking the Ampang KL Elevated Highway (AKLEH) – which ends right at Jalan Dang Wangi.
The next question is, should we all take the LRT to the city? The answer is no. According to the last measurements taken, more than 1.3 million vehicles cross the MRRI every day. More than 2.8 million vehicles cross the MRRII.
Clearly the LRT is not going to move all of the people who want to come into the city. The Kelana Jaya LRT (the one in question) is only designed with a capacity to move a maximum of 15,000 passengers per direction per hour.
That is the equivalent of 15,000 cars (assuming that there is 1 passenger/car) or 11540 cars (assuming the average of 1.3 persons per car).
If our LRT lines are not going to carry the majority of people into the city, is it unreasonable to expect that people would want to drive?
And as above, perhaps the writer came in from the direction of Ampang and was using the AKLEH. There is also a mention of a meeting and a heavy package.
If she were to take the LRT in, this would mean driving to Wangsa Maju or the Ampang LRT station in Ampang Jaya. It would mean carrying a heavy package up stairs, not an escalator.
For some people, driving towards the city under that situation is a more sensible choice. So why should RapidKL judge?
Let’s be frank here. RapidKL needs to adopt a more realistic posture about public transport use. Malaysians drive. They do not, by and large, use public transport. They do not, by and large, use their bicycles. They do not, by and large, take public transport into the city.
RapidKL has provided the parking lot. They have made it easy for Prasarana employees to park at Dang Wangi LRT station. However, they do not want to make it easy for paying customers to do so and instead argue that paying customers should take the LRT into the city.
But RapidKL, it is not up to you to tell people when and how to use public transport. Your task is to increase the number of public transport trips, to make it convenient for people to take public transport in and around the Klang Valley.
It is also not appropriate to tell people that they should use the LRT to get into the city but at the same time make it easy for Prasarana employees to drive to Dang Wangi by providing free parking. Similarly, the RapidKL HQ in Lembah Subang has no LRT station – despite being situated at the LRT depot.
Why should Prasarana or RapidKL employees not take the LRT or public transport to get to their destination?
After all, if it is good enough for us, then it is good enough for them.
Incidentally, we have heard that Prasarana has moved their HQ to the new Menara UOA at Bangsar.
Menara UOA is located next to the Bangsar LRT station, and, yes, Menara UOA does have ample parking – but the number of levels of parking in relation to the height of the building suggests that they are looking at public transport too.