Fixing the ‘Komuter scramble’

TRANSIT took note of this letter in the New Straits Times which discusses some of the problems on the KL-Seremban KTM Komuter service.

KOMUTER SCRAMBLE: Not a platform for the infirm
2009/09/18

SAMUEL YESUIAH, Seremban

THERE was total mayhem on the Rawang-Seremban platform at the KL Sentral station on Saturday.

It all started about noon when an announcement was made that Komuter services to Seremban would be delayed for more than 50 minutes because of technical problems at the Rawang station. The platform was already teeming with commuters and it was getting more crowded by the minute.

When the Seremban-bound Komuter finally arrived, it was packed to the brim. When the doors opened, there was lot of shoving, pushing and jostling between commuters trying to alight and those scrambling to get on board.

Queues and common civility were thrown out the window; only brute force and sheer guts prevailed. A few railway guards blew their whistles to restore order but to no avail.

Crowding on the KTM Komuter Service - image courtesy of the New Straits Times
Crowding on the KTM Komuter Service - image courtesy of the New Straits Times

Only after an announcement that another train to Seremban would be coming in 10 minutes was some order restored.

When the next train arrived 15 minutes later, it, too, was sardine-packed and there was another mad scramble to board it.

Forty minutes later, along came the next Seremban-bound Komuter. And the scramble for a place on the train began anew. This was what happened on the platform whenever a train bound for Seremban arrived from Rawang.

Order was restored only late in the evening when a train specially for the KL Sentral-Seremban run was arranged.

The irony of it all was that the other five platforms at the KL Sentral stations were deserted or scarcely occupied. Komuters to Sentul, Port Klang and Rawang were running as usual and they were not packed.

It is the Seremban-bound Komuter that is always packed and it is high time that KTMB did something about it.

One solution might be to have an exclusive KL Sentral-Seremban service, instead of the present Rawang-Seremban service.

The Rawang-Seremban Komuters always come into the KL Sentral station packed and they are, therefore, unable to accommodate commuters anxious to return to Seremban.

Until new coaches and Komuters arrive, KTMB should come up with ideas of solving the overcrowding on the platform so there is no mad scramble.
 
The culture of shoving and pushing to board Komuters is unhealthy and should be stopped. The strong and the tough who bulldoze their way in hardly spare a thought for the pregnant, the elderly, the disabled and the young who use the Komuters.

KTMB officials should be stationed at strategic stations to supervise queues and get people into the trains in an orderly manner.

The officials should also direct people to move into the aisles where passengers are seated and not crowd the doorways, thereby making it impossible for people to get off or on the trains.

TRANSIT Says:

TRANSIT has noted that travel along the KL-Seremban corridor has increased in the past few years as development in the Klang Vallay moves further south towards Kajang & Seremban.

We know that KTMB is aware of these developments and for this reason, have extended 4 trains along the Ipoh-KL-Ipoh shuttle route to include a stop at Kajang.

In addition, the planned KL-Ipoh Fast Train Service is now being described as an Ipoh-Seremban train service.

more information can be seen at our posting KTM information update

But these are not KTM Komuter trains – and it must be clear to the government at this point that the only way to improve the KTM Komuter service is to buy more trains and increase the frequency of service.

Currently, KTM Komuter has 22-26 EMU trainsets in service, with another 4-6 currently being repaired or overhauled.

This is in sharp contrast to the original 60+ trains that KTM Komuter used to have.

As long as KTM Komuter is operating with less than 100 of the 3-carriage EMU trains, service will be infrequent and will not be able to compete with the LRT services.

KTMB stated goal for the Komuter service should be the following:

  • To increase peak hour (07:00-09:00 and 17:30-19:30) frequencies to 5 minutes using 6-carraige EMU trainsets
  • To maintain Daytime service (09:00-17:30) and Saturday (all day) frequencies at 7-10 minutes using 3-carriage EMU trainsets
  • To maintain Nighttime (19:30-24:00) service frequencies at 10 minutes using 3-carriage EMU trainsets

And all of this must be accomplished by the year 2012 in line with the government’s Key Results Areas.

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