TRANSIT member and friend Chi Too phoned us to express his shock at being denied entry to the LRT at Taman Maluri LRT station, because he was carrying a folding bicycle – despite having no problems entering the station through the past year. We shared his story yesterday using our twitter feed, transitmy.
Here below TRANSIT posts his comments and description of what happened as he saw it. In the interests of fairness, we have invited RapidKL to comment as well. When we receive the reply, we will post it here as well.
UPDATE: RapidKL have posted their policy on carrying folding bicycles on bus & LRT to their website. We hope that brochures & info will be made available at all stations & bus hubs for those who are interested in cycling.
Hopefully this incident will lead to an open discussion and a clear policy that benefits public transport users.
dear friends and friends of friends,
as some of you were aware, me and my bicycle were denied entry into the LRT today. allow me to just tell this chronologically in point form
as usual, i tried to get on the LRT in taman maluri, strangely this time, the security guard was very swift in denying me entry, when i asked why, they said policy and if the counter staff say yes, then he’ll let me in. obviously the counter staff said no. i explained that i’ve been doing this for the past year (initially there were some resistance, but eventually it was allowed) and its been fine, they suddenly denied knowledge that they can recall seeing me with my bike ever.
I tried calling the LRT hotline but no one picked up due to it being a public holiday today. I then asked a friend who is public transport advocate who i can call about this and he gave me rapidKL’s communication GM (hereon referred to as the ‘comms guy’)
I called the comms guy and he said he was absolutely unaware that foldable bicycles are allowed in. He offered a solution and said I should be let in but to wait until he deals with it with operations. he offered to let me in this time and then issue me a letter that would allow me to bring my bike in in the future if i flash it to security and counter staff… i thought it was absurd
10 minutes later, the counter staff told me that i can bring it in this time but not anymore. realizing that if i were to comply would mean that i would agree to not allow myself in anymore. That is unacceptable, so i refused to enter. Since my morning was wasted and will bound to be a waste, i decided that I should just sit in front of the turnstiles in protest of the situation.
Realizing how pointless this is, I’ve decided that I should move this to Masjid Jamek. I cycled to Masjid Jamek and made a placard along the way.
As i descend into Masjid Jamek LRT, the security guard who saw me from afar strangely waved ‘no’ with his hands to me. At this point, it already seems like there must have been a recent memo to all LRT staff reinforcing the ‘no bicycle’ rule. I then proceeded to park myself and my bicycle in front of the turnstiles there and unfurled a placard that says ‘ENTRY DENIED: RapidKL says no to sustainable green transport!’. A polis bantuan immediately approached me, seeing that I am not doing anything wrong, I ignored him and continued with the sit in
3 men and a woman approached me, none bearing any identity and all in plainclothes. The woman tried to talk to me, i explained the situation and refused to budge as i have no idea who these people are (i assumed that they are plainclothes cops). The men then went on to manhandle me and my bicycle. Fearing for my safety I locked myself and my bicycle in a fetal position. After about 30 seconds of struggling, they overpowered me and pinned me down with my arms and legs spread. At this point, I admitted defeat and shouted to them saying that I will get up myself and walk myself. They then took my bicycle and my bag and escorted me up, a polis bantuan followed after. At the top of the escalator, I was anticipating arrest but nothing happened, the men returned my belongings and left. I asked the polis bantuan who followed them ‘dia orang ni siapa sebenarnya’ to which he replied ‘saya rasa diorang ni gangster’, I asked him ‘kalau gangster, bukannya kerja polis ke untuk melindungi orang awam dari gangster, kenapa tengok saja’, he shrugged and left.
I called the comms guy and he was apparently outraged at what happened, he says he’ll send the Operations Director to come see me and I should not be carried away with the incident… ironically, i did have a few men literally carry me away. A fellow friend who also cycles, soon joins me.
The Operations Director arrived and i told him what happened. He denied the association with the thugs and expressed surprised that i wasn’t let in. He claimed that foldable bicycles are always allowed in and there must have been a misunderstanding. I requested for him to escort me to see the polis bantuan that was in charge and to perhaps view the CCTV recordings of what happened. We went to see the polis bantuan and he insisted that I intended to stage a protest which I acknowledged, I then questioned him for not taking action if he thinks its a bunch of thugs… he was still very keen to accuse me of wanting to create trouble…seeing how futile this is, i committed his nametag and ID number to memory. I then went off to lunch as I was really tired, thirsty and hungry
I proceeded to make a police report of all that have happened at the Dang Wangi police station for the purpose of formalizing the documentation of the event. The report was recorded and the officer referred me to an investigating officer in Dang Wangi IPD If I want to take this further.
I went home, ironically on the LRT.
As you might imagine, we are disappointed that something like this could happen because of what appears to be a clear miscommunication between RapidKL management & staff. In the absence of clear and effective policy and decision making, this is exactly what will happen.
A vast number of public transport agencies throughout the world have embraced bicycles as a sustainable form of transport and have introduced facilities to encourage cycling – from bicycle racks on buses to storage spaces at train and bus stations. Many organizations allow folding bicycles on their buses and trains at any time, while full size bicycles may be taken on board outside of peak hours.
Here are a few links about public transport policies in a few different public transport systems as well as some resources about folding bicycles.
- Queensland, Australia
- Policies in various European countries
- RapidKL (posted to their website on 8 September 2009)
- Transport for London cycling page, bikes on public transport
- Our posting on TransMilenio has pictures of their bicycle facility
- Toronto Transit Commission’s Bicycles page has images of bicycle racks on buses as well as an instructional video
Bicycle Groups & Info
- Pacific folding bicycle when: folded; unfolded
- Dahon folding bicycle when: folded; unfolded
- Ibiketo, a bicycle users group from Toronto Canada
- G club & PBB from Penang, Malaysia
and of course there would be many, many more.
Chi Too has sent the following letter to the various media and we hope that his concerns will be addressed by RapidKL and that they will follow up with a clear & concise policy about carrying bicycles on the LRT and buses. He has also started a cyclists group, cyclurbia, which can be found at this link.
Like most people concerned about climate change, I am keen to see a greener and more environmentally sustainable Malaysia. Part of my contribution is by using public transport as much as possible, and much of my travel in the city is through a bicycle. However, my effort was not only rudely frustrated on Monday, 7 September, but I was faced with assault and violence for merely trying to do my part to a greener Malaysia.
Like most days, I cycled to the Taman Maluri LRT station, and folded my bicycle – which then becomes only the size of a medium sized suitcase – to stow into the train. I have done this for the past 1 year without any obstacles. This time however, they stopped me and refused to sell me a ticket. After some discussion, I contacted RapidKL’s Communications General Manager. Instead of clarifying the policy, they told me this one time will be an exception to the rule.
One-time exceptions will never make a greener Malaysia, so I refused on principle. Instead, I chose to make a clear statement and a call for an environmentally conscious public transport system in Malaysia. I cycled to the Masjid Jamek LRT station, who again, refused me entry, and sat in front of the turnstiles with a placard that informed everyone about this apparently new decision. A polis bantuan approached me but left me alone since I was merely sitting there peacefully, and could not be said to be obstructing the order of things.
However, things turned violent when 3 men and a woman in plainclothes, without showing or bearing any form of formal identification, approached me. Before the woman could say more than 2 sentences, the men began shouting at me and pinned me to the ground with my arms and legs spread opened. They then escorted me to the top of the station followed by a polis bantuan, returned my belongings and disappeared. When I asked the polis bantuan who they were, to my absolute shock, he nonchalantly replied, “I don’t know. They could be gangsters”. How is it that police officers can stand by and do nothing when members of the public are publicly assaulted by “gangsters”? When asked, the polis bantuan simply shrugged his shoulders and left me. I proceeded to make a police report of this incident.
Having gone through all these, I have to say that I am absolutely appalled at so many levels. First, there is no policy in place to encourage the use of sustainable and environmentally transportation. Second, there seems to be a serious security issue if it is true that thugs are operating in their premises. In light of this, I would like to call upon RapidKL to have a comprehensive review on bicycles by means of consultation with real cyclists. I also urge RapidKL to immediately replace the contractor entrusted to maintain security in the area as it seems that they have failed to prevent gangsters from operating, or worse, could be deploying gangsters without the knowledge of RapidKL to solve problems that they find difficult to deal with.
Protest against no-bicycle rule on peak-hour trains (Malay Mail)