Updates #57

Updates #57

1. Article: Rail discounts at Matta Fair (The Star) – Self explantory

2. Article: 1 killed, 9 hurt in bus crash (NST) – A bus driver was killed and 9 passengers injured when the bus, which was speeding on wet roads, collided with a lorry at km 306.2 of the N-S Expressway.

3. Article: New KTM trains set to improve recent poor service (The Star) – KTM blames poor service on the lack of trainsets and claims that service will improve once new trains arrive in 2011 and 2012.

4. Article: Delay in work to upgrade Puduraya (The Star) – Federal Territories Minister Raja Nong Chik comments on an anticipated delay to the Puduraya upgrades, but states that the terminal should still be operational by the end of 2010. He also states that Puduraya will still be used as an express and long-distance bus terminal once it is reoccupied. However, after the Integrated Transport Terminals at Bdr. Tasik Selatan & Gombak are complete & operating, Puduraya will be used as a terminal for short-haul and long-haul city buses.

5. Letter: Train service leaves much to be desired (The Star) – Upset Commuter of KL complains about poor KTM service. Disappointed of Petaling Jaya responded with this letter, KTM services marred by frequent delays (The Star).

[TRANSIT: Ok, once again. KTM Komuter services are poor because they do not have enough trains. KTM Komuter services are poor because they do not have enough trains. KTM Komuter services are poor because they do not have enough trains. That said, at least the service to Batu Caves has finally opened, and new trains are presumably coming, someday. But we do agree that KTMB could work on improving customer service in the meantime.]

6. Article: Ridership of Bus Expressway Transit increased by 120 per cent since January (Bernama) – In this congratulatory statement, Minister of Transport Kong Cho Ha attempts to speak positively about public transport like his predecessor. This time, the RapidBET service is commended for increased passenger numbers – two lines have reached 500 passengers per day.

[TRANSIT: To keep this in perspective, 500 people can fit easily inside a Kelana Jaya 2-carriage LRT train]

7. Article: Feasibility study on KL MRT to be completed next month (Star Biz) – If you haven’t seen it already, the feasibility study on the MRT project (not necessarily the MMC-Gamuda Proposal) will be complete in September.

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8 thoughts on “Updates #57”

  1. KTM Berhad has apologised to all KTM Komuter passengers for its recent poor performance.

    In an official statement yesterday, its senior corporate communications acting manager Mohd Fazil Ismail said this was due to the inadequate number of operating train sets.

    “We need at least 31 sets of trains to operate the 15-minute and 30-minute intervals but sometimes, less than that are available for daily operations,” he said.

    “But when some do not meet daily operational requirements, KTM will have to make do with the available trains and cancel other services,” he added.

    “All 18 ten-year-old sets have been refurbished and are currently operating. We will continue refurbishing the other 15 sets by the second quarter of next year,” said Fazil.

    He said the Government had also approved the acquisition of 38 sets of six-car trains, expected to be delivered between November next year and April 2012 in stages.

    “Our intervals will then be improved from 30 minutes to 7.5 minutes,” he said.
    __________________________________________
    Same old answer la En Mohd Fazil Ismail. Blaming trains for inefficient of ktmb president dan its staff.

    Tak da short term measures ke…Keretapi baru adalah longterm.

    e.g ….Kalau “ayam” kurang kat malaysia adakah kita blame the ayam ….nope….short term measures nya ialah seperti import “ayam” from thailand.

    e.g…. if ktm komuter trains still having problem after all this years we should not blame the trains….short term measures ialah ….kick out the president. Gaji libu2 tapi haprak……. no idea…. in Japan if the company fail to deliver…. the president commit harakiri …… In malaysia the president blaming the train…. train tu benda mati…. cannot answer one…… #@!^&%

  2. @ Razib

    As far as I know, the current President joined KTMB exactly 1 year ago. It’s not possible for him to rectify all the legacy problems which he inherited in such a short period of time.

    Yes, improving customer service (as suggested by Moaz) is a start, but no amount of ‘customer service’ is going to placate passengers who have to wait at the station for long periods of time due to train cancellation or delay (caused by aging trains breaking down and lack of trains to replace them).

    As pointed by Moaz, the solution is more trains and for that we have to wait a bit longer until the new trains from China arrive.

    I know that Komuter users are frustrated but if we want to fix the problem, we need to identify the correct root cause and not put the blame on those who do not deserve to be blamed.

  3. Yes, youre 100% correct. Tetapi jika seseorang itu menerima sesuatu jawatan ianya bermaksud dia juga menerima masalah yang datang bersama dengan jawatan tersebut. Dia tak boleh lari dengan mengatakan masalah terdahulu bukan disebabkan olehnya. Samada suka atau tidak dia perlu menerima hakikat tersebut.

    Terdapat perbezaan diantara ketua dan pemimpin. Ketua hanya menyelia orang bawahannya sementara pemimpin merujuk kepada menggunakan apa yang ada disekitarnya untuk menyelesaikan masalah yang ada.

  4. @ Razib

    I think he is doing what he can to resolve the problems. What I am saying is that he should be given more time to work out the solutions. KTM Komuter has a long list of problems and it is not realistic to expect the poor fellow to solve them overnight. We must be honest and ask ourselves: would we be able to do any better if we were in his shoes. I am not sure I can.

    To demonstrate the constraints that he is facing, it takes a long time (between 18 – 24 months) to design, manufacture, test, commission and deliver new EMU sets.

    Why not just lease off-the-shelf EMUs? How many meter gauge EMUs do you think are available for leasing worldwide? Not that many. KTMB (through the Ministry of Transport) tried to buy used meter gauge DMUs from Spain. The DMUs were available but the purchase was ultimately cancelled due to political opposition.

    Why not improve the maintenance of the trains? Due to shortage of funds in the past, there were times when KTM were forced to defer maintenance works. As a result, the condition of the trains have deteriorated to such an extent that a thorough overhaul is neeed. The high cost of the overhaul however means that it would be more cost-effective to buy new trains (which would only arrive in 18 – 24 months!).

    What the above illustrates is that there are no shortcuts, no quick and easy solutions. Let’s focus on resolving the problems instead of playing the blame game.

    1. @MHI those are some good points.

      We at TRANSIT wonder why the government / KTMB / Ministry of Transport are holding back information about these trains and the plans that they have to improve KTMB service.

      This is the scenario as we saw it:

      First the government corporatized KTMB and placed it under the Finance Ministry (Minister of Finance Inc.). Then the newly corporatized KTMB found that it had to balance its books which meant that costs had to be cut. And the Finance Ministry likely cut back on spending on KTMB.

      All of this meant that for some years, KTMB not only could not think about new trains, they also could not maintain the existing fleet of trains that they had. It gets worse when you see that 2 of the 3 manufacturers are no longer making EMU trainsets and the supply of parts is growing smaller and smaller.

      But the interesting thing is that no one in the government really acknowledged that they had put KTMB in this position, or that the purchase of the trains from two of the companies (Jenbacher and Union Carriage) were perhaps not in the best interests of KTMB. It also did not help that KTMB had to overhaul a large section of the fleet without having any new trains – even though the number of customers using KTM Komuter had increased over 10 years.

      During the KTM Komuter Krisis of 2007, the government did nothing and KTMB was forced to cut back service frequencies from their target of 15 minutes to 20 minutes and later 30 minutes.

      It was only when the “krisis” was over that the government acknowledged that they needed to buy more trains for KTMB. Then, they stalled on the plans for purchasing these trains.

      For example, we were first told that meter-gauge trains cannot be purchased “off the shelf” but it is quite possible to find meter gauge trains being manufactured all over the world. Then we are told that it will take 24-36 months for new trains to be manufactured. Then we were told that KTMB would buy a few trains, perhaps 5 for the Electric Service and 8 for KTM Komuter.

      Then, we heard that the Minister of Transport had made a deal to purchase the DMUs for KTMB but then there were allegations that he was paying a price three-times as much as other railway operators for similar used DMUs. We also heard from people at KTMB that they were not happy with the purchase of the DMUs themselves.

      It was only after Najib became Prime Minister and introduced the NKRA concept that the government got it in its head that they need to make up for lost time and invest in trains – both KTM Komuter and the Electric Train Service (which should have started in 2007). But how to make up for 5 years of lost time in perhaps 3 years (with 2012 as the promised date for achieving the NKRA results)? The only way is to go to purchase trains from a manufacturer who can build a lot of trains, fast and will promise to provide 20 years of training, parts and maintenance.

      Of course, to get this kind of a deal the customer has to pay extra – and of course the parliamentary opposition would question why the government is overpaying.

      The point is that with all that arguing and avoidance, precious time was lost. If the government had been a bit more proactive and listened to KTMB back in 2005 they would have purchased new trains to meet increasing customer demand and allow the overhaul of the old trains – as well as expanding Komuter service and introducing the Electric Train Service back in 2007

      Unfortunately, as you did mention there is a lot of politics and “political decisions” behind the running of and financing of KTMB, and the passengers suffer as a result. Until that is all sorted out, we will not see the improvements that KTMB really needs.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  5. @MHI

    There is always quick and easy solutions. It’s just that they are costly or not worth it or not thought up, because everybody expects the leaders to think things up for them or spoon feed them. But you can’t really blame them, or could you

    i.e. expand batu gajah or the sentul depot so that they can refurbish more trains at once. Hire more engineers?

    Create more special service komuters within the line thus increasing frequency at certain areas.

    Installing GPS on every train sets and installing plasma TVs
    at every station detailing the exact location of every train set. Make this info available on the internet?

    In fact, the installation of GPS systems would make KTM high tech and should trully bring ktm into the 21st century.( I truly lol’ed when I heard KTM launched the ETS service as if it were a great achievement.) Not to mention it would give the passengers at the platform something to gawk at.

    KTM should allow more transparency in their operations such as by opening the curtains at the driver cabs and perhaps installing windows so that the passengers can have a constant look and thus supervise the driver of ktm komuters. Because a thing I have noticed about KTM drivers is that not all of them bothers to do the announcements. KTM as far as I know wants to be disabled friendly, and what friendlier way is there then to ensure that the blind guy or perhaps foreigner gets off at the station he wants to get off of. Also I would really like if they ironed their clothes get better uniforms and stop looking like some third world country train driver. but that is just me, what do i know?

    That being said, ktm could do a hell more of making the people care more about trains, publishing leaflets about their operations,sell komuter merchandise? become a dealer of model trains in malaysia? sell little komuter sets?

    But of course, the problem is still about the shortage of trains. Well that could easily be solved by the reuse of old intercity coaches or those dead komuters scraped at sentul. And then if you are ashamed of them, you could always shove them down at seremben-nilai or rawang-tanjung malim or klang-port klang. Those folks wont mind, in fact they would even think they were being upgraded.

    The other thing that could be done is to allow KTM tracks and the rights to provide service to be shared freely with the Thai Rail company and allow them to do business here. So far we only have the orient express, but imagine if their trains also ran part of the komuter service wouldn’t that be great. In fact we could even give singapore the incenitive to start up a rail company to work on our rails, allow them to use it freely with one heavy contract attached (so they won’t screw us) or have China do it.

    @Transit

    I have read article 3 and I am a bit confused.

    “Government had also approved the acquisition of 38 sets of six-car trains,”

    To which is he referring to, the Japanese or the Chinese trains. Because of late, I heard there was an investigation or something on the Chinese trains, and then there was talk about acquiring Japanese trains but little much has been said, so I am not really sure.

    By the way, Based on the latest given KTM komuter schedule it requires 15 train sets for each line inclusive of “hybrid” shuttle trains. Interestingly the only benefit of these hybrids is that they have a shorter overall journey time so that they can make more trips thus increasing frequency. Anyways, my point for bring this up is that they would only need 30 trains to run to schedule. And not at least 31 as he says, or in KTM lingo they need a one train back up always on standby that can only be deployed in 2+ hours? Disregard that I can’t remember what I was thinking.

    1. Hi @Boropit

      Thanks for your comments. We certainly agree that KTMB could do more to improve customer service and market KTM train services – they are trying but it just seems to be catching the same groups, usually existing customers.

      KTMB does have merchandise for sale but they closed their information and sales kiosk at KL Sentral recently. KTM Komuter has a mascot, KOMI, but it doesn’t seem as if kids are interested in KOMI as compared to, say, the Air Asia Junior Jet family – but at least there is something to start with. KTM does have facebook pages and there is a twitter feed for KTM Komuter which has not been used for a few months.

      Despite KTM’s shortage of trains, there is no reason why the people in charge at KTM cannot work to train their employees to a new standard of customer service, information sharing and social networking. The problem is the lack of accountability which allows KTMB to maintain these low “standards” and the simple probability that there are senior people in KTMB and the government who do not think that it is necessary because KTMB will still have its loyal customers and if that fails, they can always try for more government subsidy.

      We can only hope that SPAD will start to hold KTMB to account for their weaknesses and at the same time help them to improve on their strengths.

      As for the trains, we know that KTMB has received approval from the Finance Ministry but the purchase has not yet been finalized (the last we heard). It is likely that fabrication will not start until 2011. As for the Japanese trains, we have heard nothing about them since they were mentioned by former Minister of Transport Ong Tee Keat so many months ago.

      Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

  6. Yes you all are 1000% correct. No transparency in everything. Nak beli komuter train pun sembunyi – sembunyi. Apa jenis komuter dan syarat yang terkandung pun rakyat tak tahu. Senyap2 dah order.

    Overhaul the BOD of KTMB. Put somebody that can give practical ideas. Di malaysia ada banyak pakar transportation. Why not appoint them to the Board. Mesti mereka boleh fikirkan sesuatu sebagai short term measures.

    KTMB, we dont want stupid and the same old excuse anymore. Please. If u cant do the work, lets other people take over. We are really fed up. We just cant take it anymore.

    Betul lah boropit. Kita orang tak kisah samada old intercity coaches or dead komuters or even keretapi barang pun as long as the train moves dan arrives on time.Tak perlu bersesak.

    Jikalau lah ada perkhidmatan lain untuk laluan shah alam ke rawang surely i tak naik komuter dah. Air Asia interested ????

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