KTM Update: Shocking letter about KTM service! (Update #4)

eThe members of TRANSIT were shocked to read the following letter from Jeremy Vinesh that alleges poor maintenance of a KTM Komuter train and negligence from a KTMB employee.

  • Update 4: The response from KTM was posted here.
  • Update 3: an interesting letter has been written to the Star in response to Jeremy Vinesh
  • Update 2: Jeremy has responded to this post and we are trying to get more details. We also appreciate more information from others and encourage further discussion of what happened.
  • Update 1: Updated with a copy of our public statement (see below)

TRANSIT is extremely disturbed by the information as described in the letter and will request for further information from the writer. We will also demand a full investigation from by KTMB and the Department of Railways.

Komuter is a rail letdown (The Star)
Wednesday December 2, 2009

ASK any person who frequently takes the train and they will tell you that KTM has no sense of punctuality. Waiting for two hours, which is most likely unheard of in countries like Japan and Singapore, is an everyday occurrence here.

The number of classes I have missed thanks to this “excellent” network of trains in the past few years is quite a few. As for commuters who are working, how many times can they tell their superior that they were late due to the train service?

Now it’s even getting to a point where KTM’s inefficiency is starting to endanger the lives of passengers. Recently I was rushing home after class as I had to send a friend to the airport for a flight leaving at 10.30pm. [TRANSIT: We need the date]

My class finished at 5.30pm and I was in the station by 5.45pm. The train only came in at 6.45pm. It stopped at the KL station for about 20 minutes.

We passengers could feel that something was wrong because the train was tilted on its side. [TRANSIT: We wonder how KTM Komuter division could let the train continue on in public service in this state.]
[TRANSIT: Commenter Relentless points out below that the train may have been tilted because it had stopped on a curve. We are attempting to confirm where the train stopped.]

Suddenly another train from the opposite direction brushed through, hitting the door of the first train, causing sparks and violently jolting it. At this point the air-conditioning system stopped working, and we were stranded in the middle of nowhere in a train which didn’t have air supply. [TRANSIT: Where exactly? What was the last station that you stopped at? Clearly it was not Kuala Lumpur station.]

After 20 minutes, people were starting to suffocate. The woman next to me was getting light-headed; I couldn’t stand the heat any more and opened the emergency doors to let some air in.

When I opened the door, I realised that we were in the middle of a jungle, and at 7.30pm it was pitch dark. There was a telephone number printed on the side of the train stating that we should call the number in case of emergency.

I called the number and to my surprise it rang for a bit before the line was cut off on the other side. They actually cut off an emergency number!

Even the employee working on the train did nothing. He just got off the train and walked away, leaving all the passengers on their own without knowing what was going on. [TRANSIT: Absolutely shocking!]
[It is fair to point out that the employee may not have been an Operations staff]

I knew it would take ages for them to get the train going, so I got out and walked in the dark all the way to the previous station. [TRANSIT: Which station?]
[TRANSIT: We should have pointed out that getting off and walking was not a safe act]

To make matters worse, KTM has terrible workers for the most part.

They do not have a policy of helping customers, and are usually chatting among themselves or trying to flirt with female passengers as they pass by.

At peak hours, the ticketing counters have only one person tending to them and that person is usually texting or talking on his phone and taking his own sweet time to give you the ticket or change for your money.

The ticketing machines that are placed there work when they feel like working, and it’s the passengers who are left in the lurch.

Most of the stations close their ticket counters at 9pm. After that, passengers have to buy their tickets from the machines which most of the time either don’t work at all or can’t process the money they are given.

I suggest selling KTMB to a private company that can run the system efficiently, like how Putra is being run. [TRANSIT: As if PUTRA / RapidKL is being run so well!]

Just in case KTMB is thinking of publishing a reply stating how sorry it is about the difficulty I encountered and how it is trying to improve the service, all I would say to them is to just save it and resign from your job.

Anyone who thinks I am overreacting or that my allegations are baseless, just take a ride on the trains and prove me wrong.

JEREMY VINESH,
Bandar Baru Sungai Buloh.

TRANSIT Says:

As above, we will investigate and ask for more details. More to come soon.

In response to Jeremy’s letter, TRANSIT has issued the following statement which we have copied to the Minister of Transport, Secretary General of the Ministry of Transport and the Director General of the Department of Railways.

Statement

The Association for the Improvement of Mass-Transit (TRANSIT) wishes to express its shock and dismay regarding the incident described in the letter by one Jeremy Vinesh, which involved a major service delay, a poorly maintained Komuter Electric-Multiple Unit (EMU) trainset and an allegedly careless and negligent KTMB employee.

According to Jeremy’s description, the service delay was 1 hour before the scheduled train arrived. However, his description of the train suggests to TRANSIT that it should never have been brought into service. If the employees of the Komuter division allowed a train that was so mechanically deficient to be “noticeably leaning to one side” to continue into service carrying passengers, they have displayed gross carelessness and negligence.  Aside from violating their responsibilities as KTMB employees, they have violated their client’s charter and promises of safe and efficient service.

The description of the KTM Komuter driver abandoning the train when it made the unexpected stop is even scarier. It suggests that the employee was poorly trained and unable to respond to a dangerous situation. This calls into question KTMB’s safety practices and employee training.  That the emergency number was cut off also reflects poor training and poor handling of dangerous situations.

Jeremy also described another train coming from the opposite direction that “brushed past” and “hit the train, causing sparks and violently jolting it”.  Any kind of situation where a train stops is extremely dangerous and the train should have been evacuated safely.  That another train stuck the stopped train suggests that the other driver was unaware of the situation and did not respond properly.  This also suggests a serious breakdown in communications at KTMB’s control centre.

The incident described by Jeremy suggests that KTMB has let itself become a danger to the safety of the traveling public.  TRANSIT asks that Jeremy and other passengers on the train contact us immediately at klangvalley.transit@gmail.com / 012-248-3330 with details about the incident, especially the date and time and the last station that the train stopped at.

Furthermore, TRANSIT calls upon the Director General of the Department of Railways and the Minister of Transport to launch an investigation into the incident. We also call on the Managing Director and the Board of Directors of KTM Berhad to respond to the allegations as described by Jeremy Vinesh.

TRANSIT has always been concerned about the state of mass-transit in Malaysia. Unfortunately, the Malaysian government has seen fit to invest very little into public transport service and prefers to devote its attention to new, costly megaprojects such as LRT extensions to suburban areas at RM400 million /km. Then there is the KL-Ipoh Electrification and Double Tracking project that went RM1.4 billion over budget, finished in May 2007 and *still* does not have trains operating.

The public and wakil rakyat can no longer ignore this situation, especially since our safety is now at risk.

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14 thoughts on “KTM Update: Shocking letter about KTM service! (Update #4)”

  1. I second the above letter!
    It was 6 years back I face the same situation as Jeremy and it’s no surprise the same problems persist.

    Privatize KTM! Or else, we bring in a bunch of people who wants to run a train company and buy it over!

    For the PEOPLE!

  2. Before TRANSIT sends out a letter to the concerned ministries, I urge it to first check the veracity of the statements for the sake of TRANSIT’s credibility and to be taken seriously in the future.

    The event per-se aside, I am absolutely not shocked by the behavior of the employee(s).
    I’ve lived in Malaysia for a year and a half and always tried to support mass transit in the country. But the rudeness of people working for the various LRT lines and their unprofessionalism is, to say the least, appalling.
    I once got my wallet snatched from my pocket as the train was approaching KLCC station (rush hour, it was very crowded. I saw the person take my wallet and run away when the doors opened).
    I immediately went upstairs to notify the personnel: they all looked at me with wide eyes and one of them (Norhayati) had the guts to say “it’s your fault sir, you have to watch for your stuff!”.
    This is crazy.
    No one even thought of telling me to file a police report and after two minutes of ranting, they all walked away and didn’t help. They were back at fooling around and SMSing. I do not know what is up with Malaysia, but all security personnel seem to always SMS. They should ban using personal phones when on the job!!

    I finally saw a police officer at the ticket machines -there is always one standing there (obviously SMSing on his phone) and told him about my story. The police officer told me to complain to RapidKL counter! Imagine, even the police shied me away.

    Service and courtesy in the country is unbelievably rude, unprofessional and disgusting. I’ve visited some poor, unorganized countries, but never have I encountered such unprofessional, rude, careless and low life service.

    I’m frenchman who loves Malaysia so much but also disgusted by its services. I now purchased a car. I couldn’t take the chaos anymore. Someone should address the service, training and courtesy issue at RapidKL.
    Adios!

    1. Sirimusa

      Thank you for your comments. Of course we are concerned about the veracity of the statement, which is why we have invited Jeremy Vinesh to provide more details.

      At the same time, his letter comes at the end of a long list of complaints about KTMB employees and management indifference.

      It is the duty of the department of railways to investigate these complaints but they have not done so.

      That is why TRANSIT is calling for this investigation – to help shake things up a little bit.

      We are very confident in our credibility and knowledge of public transport. However, the public is not confident in KTMB and the Department of Railways, and that definitely needs to change.

      Regards

      Moaz for TRANSIT

  3. This happen on Thursday (26/11/09) after 7pm. I wasn’t in the same train as Jeremy, but the train i was in stopped in the middle of kl station and bank negara. It stayed idle for roughly 30 minutes, lights flickering, aircond was going on and off but ours was a bit lucky as the train backed up to kl station and allowed all the passengers to get off while the train headed to Seremban even thou it was meant to go to Rawang…Not so lucky I guess for the people who boarded the train earlier than us, as one of my friend got stuck in the train for an hour long or more just after bank negara.

    Anyway, announcements were made in KL Station saying the train is delayed for 1 hour and the problem is still being identified. Well, an hour became 2 hours and the announcer kept on saying “delayed for 1 hour”…typical ktm announcement as usual.

    So, what did the hundreds of people who were in the station do? Some got fed-up of waiting and started using alternative ways to reach home. Some tried to refund the tickets, but its a BIG no-no for KTM and I got rudely shut off by the person at the counter. If this was a get rich fast scheme, then hey guys, your doing a good job!!

    Im not sure what time did they resume the service, as I took the LRT and found my way home. Just imagine all those people who were in KL central, KL station, Bank Negara, Putra, even without getting in the train, they were already “sardine canned” on the platform!!

    Well, to those who are managing KTM, im pretty sure you guys must be embarrass to even mention your company’s name. Stop shaming Malaysia with this lousy service. And please, no apology letter needed and how you guys are trying to improve the system bla bla bla..its the same excuse years and years..just walk the talk..

    Regards
    TK

  4. The tilting is probably because of the tracks. Some place the tracks are titled to accomodate curves and speed. I think you know better Moaz, and that this is obvious exaggeration.

    How on earth does he know that KTMB employee is working on that train? How would a KTMB staff working as a clerk in uniform on his way back from office know anything about train failures never mind rectifying them? Does the letter author know opening the train door and getting off the train without permission/supervision on electrified tracks is a punishable offence, never mind dangerous?

    This certainly warrants further investigation – I’m in the rail industry and quite familiar with KTM Komuter – without details I would say this fella, while having grounds for his gripe, is exaggerating a couple of things.

    1. Relentless

      Thanks for the comments

      Regarding the tilting, yes, if the train stopped along a curve then the tilting would be a lot more noticeable (as opposed to taking a curve while moving where the forces would balance out). We were trying to figure out where exactly the train stopped so we could understand whether or not the track geometry contributed to the tilting.

      The letter writer has replied and mentioned that the train stopped behind Bukit Aman…a green area but not a jungle.

      As for opening the door and getting off the train, we recognize that this was not a safe action by Jeremy. It certainly would be safer to stay with the train and wait for directions from the train driver or the control centre – but this clearly didn’t seem to be happening.

      The letter writer also mentioned that the KTMB employee (who as you rightly point out, may have just been a clerk) got off the train and walked away.

      We really do have to figure out what happened but the main issue is how KTMB has handled the situation. One reason why staff need to be trained to manage dangerous situations is to prevent people from doing harm to themselves.

      Once again, thanks for the comments

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT.

    1. Well, it’s not the nicest thing to do but who would/could stop you. Besides, as far as we know such a page probably does exist.

      Perhaps we can try to put our energies into getting KTM to resolve as many problems as they can while they wait for the new trains to come.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  5. TO Relentless

    Thanks for the comments, but from what you have stated in your comments above you seem to be somewhat of an expert on railway systems. Ok then explain this to me, when a train tilts on its side, is it normal for another train to come a brush the side of that train to the point that it sends of sparks??

    And yea I am sure that in the dark you could really tell the difference btw a jungle and a green area. How about you take a walk there at 7.30 at night and you tell me what does it seem like to you??

    And about the opening of the door and getting out of the train?? Yea I am supposed to wait for KTMB to come to the rescue?? What about my friends flight then?? Do you think KTMB is going to reimburse his flight tickets?? They don’t even reimburse the passengers when delays are caused by their own faults.

    As for the KTMB staff that I saw walking away, yes he might have been a clerk who I doubt he was, he is still an agent of KTMB a he could have reassured the passengers that help is on the way or do something rather than walking out.

    Relentless let me ask you this??…how many times have you taken the KTM in your life? I take it everyday to get to college so please do forgive me if I am already sick of their pathetic excuses and highly inefficient service. I have missed a lot of classes and appointments thanks to them. Which is why I have stated in my article that those who think my allegations are baseless to try and take the trains from one of the busy stations like KL sentral or Bank Negara towards Rawang or Subang and only then are you fit to judge me. So how about you try taking the trains for a minimum of a week and then you can call my comment an exaggeration

  6. [TRANSIT: When we first received this posted comment, we were shocked by the language used and anger expressed in the letter. After a long time of consideration (hey, we are busy too and this is a tough letter to deal with) we decided to post the letter as is (with the exception of editing some of the language. So as you read the letter, do understand the level of anger that some of the public have towards KTMB’s customer service.]

    Hi KTMB Customer Support,

    Yesterday (03-04-2010,FRIDAY), i’m take Commuter from KL SENTRAL to back Kepong at 6.30pm. If follow the time table, the passanger would take this commuter is just nice to handle the passanger waiting at KL station, Bank Rakyat Station and Putra Station. But end up the commuter is SKIP!!!!! WHY ALWAY SKIP?? NOT A VALID REASON BUT A LOT OF RUBBISH REASON!!!

    I really piss off with the f*****g services in Commuter provided by KTMB by read throught the follow thing happen.

    The Commuter end up come at 6.45pm. A lot passenger is rush to go in the Commuter. The SECURITY IN KL SENTRAL JUST KNOW BLOWING THE F******G WISEL BUT NOT HELPING TO GET THOSE F******G INDONESIAN AND SOME NON-EDUCATED PEOPLE TO LINE UP? IS THAT NOT UNDER THEIR JOB SCOPE??

    WHEN I GO INTO THE COMMUTER!! I NOTICE ONE HAND IS TRY TAKE MY HANDPHONE FROM MY JEAN!!! WHAT THE F**K MAN??!! I QUICKLY CATCH THE HAND AND IT IS BELONG TO A F******G INDONESIAN OUTSIDER!!! I SAID WHY U STEAL MY HP, BUT THE SECURITY AT THE AREA DO NOT HANDLE THIS!!?? WHAT THE F******G SALARY U PAID TO THEM?? NOT THEIR RESPONSIBILITY ON THE PASSENGER SECURITY?? THE F******G INDONESIAN ASK ME FIGHT WITH HIM… I CAN TELL U,…IF I’M NOT RUSHING FOR TIME, I WILL MAKE THAT F******G INDOENSIA BECOME A FIRST INDONESIAN DIE IN THE STUPID HOT KL SENTRAL STATION!! MAKE THE STUPID KL SENTRAL SECURITY WHICH REPRESENT KTMB SHY WITH THE CASE HAPPEN THERE!!!!

    I DID NOTICE THIS F******G INDONESIAN GUY HAVE PARTNER WHO STAND WITH HIM… I’M SUSPECT IS THIS ALSO PARTNER OF KTMB??? KTMB NOT ONLY HIRE SECURITY GUARD TO BLOW WISEL AT THE STATION, KTMB ALSO GET THE PICK POCKET TEAM TO STEAL KTMB PASSENGER VALUABLE ITEM??

    [TRANSIT: The allegation above is unfounded and there is no proof, but it expresses the frustration and suspicion of the commenter]

    WHAT KTMB DO ONLY MAKE THE STUPID ANNOUNCEMENT. DID KTMB REALLY TRY TO CATCH THOSE PICK POCKET FROM THE STATION?? IF KTMB NOT PLAN TO DO THAT, I WISH SOMEDAY KL SENTRAL WILL BE FAMOUSE BY HELPING HAND FROM PICK POCKET TEAM!!!!

    BESIDE THIS, I DID READ A NEWS FROM KTMB THAT YOUR COMPANY IS GOING TO SPLIT GUY AND LADY TO DIFFERENCE AREA???!!

    DO U THINK THIS WILL SOLVE THE PROBLEM??!! I CAN TELL U, IF THAT DAY A LOT GUY IS TAKE COMMUTER AND LADY PASSENGER IS A FEW PERSON, HOW YOU HANDLE THIS??!! THIS SOLUTION IS F******G NOT WORKING!! I CAN TELL U, MAKE THE COMMUTER PUNCTUAL AND FOLLOW THE CURRENT TIME TABLE WILL SOLVE THE ISSUE… THE PROBLEM IS NOT HANDLE WELL BUT CREATE ANOTHER RUBBISH IDEA…. I SAW A LOT PEOPLE IS SHOWING THEIR MIDDLE FINGER WITH A ‘F.U’ !!!

    5 PLEASE COMMUTER PASSENGER TO KTMB AS FOLLOW:
    PLEASE MAKE YOUR SECURITY GUARD WORK!!!
    PLEASE KICK YOUR PARTNER PICK POCKET TEAM AWAY!!!
    PLEASE MAKE YOUR COMMUTER DRIVER DON’T BLOW THE F******G MIC IF THEY WANT TO MAKE ANNOUCEMENT!!!
    PLEASE MAKE SURE YOUR COMMUTER DRIVER BE MORE PROFESSIONAL AND HAVE GOOD TIME MANAGEMENT SKILL!!!
    PLEASE CHECK THE COMMUTER AND MAKE SURE THE COMMUTER HAVE AIR COND ALL THE TIME!! IS DAMN HOT WHEN TAKE A COMMUTER WITHOUTH AIR COND WITH FULL OF PEOPLE!!!

    TRANSIT: Despite the anger we agree with the poster. KTMB has not met basic service expectations and their continuous excuses about the fleet are wearing thin. More needs to be done to make sure that even if things are terrible on the fleet side, customer service and passenger management is improved.

  7. MANA ADA SISTEM?

    Sad, sad, sad
    Ah Bomb, Bomb, Bomb
    Yes sir, No sir
    One Two Zoom!

    It’s really so sad
    To listen
    All the complaints
    As ‘she’ can just
    Threathen to
    Bomb them
    And then say
    Ride on if you want
    Brother
    If not do not cry
    And be want
    To be like
    So and so
    Knowing how
    MALAYSIA
    Is like –
    You know so well
    We live
    Under the shadows
    From mouths of
    “Mana ada sistem”?-
    Sistem akan ada
    Bila ia memang ada
    Kan?

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