Friday Rambling: Train? Sorry I Prefer Driving.

Malaysia especially the Klang Valley area has one of the comprehensive train networks in the whole country. Starting with the old KTM trains, rail transportation has evolved over time and today, in 2014, the Klang Valley area has the KTM Komuter trains, Kelana Jaya Line LRT, Ampang Line LRT, Seri Petaling Line LRT, KL Monorail Line, the ERL and also the still-under-construction MRT Line.

The latest Klang Valley rail transit map - 2014
The latest Klang Valley rail transit map – 2014

When I was a kid, I still remember watching Pua Chu Kang series which was shot in Singapore. Although most of the shooting was done in the studio, some of the scenes were shot outdoor, showing how Singapore looked like in the 90s. I looked on the Internet and I was so excited to see a photo of the MRT train beside a 6 lanes road. I said to myself, “Wow, they are so modern and developed as compared to Malaysia!”.

So, just imagine my feeling in 1998, when the Kelana Jaya Line LRT [PUTRA LRT back then] was completed. I was so damned excited and I could see the future of Malaysia, where train lines zigzagging and people prefer to take the train instead of driving. I imagined the streets in KL being empty and there were only a few cars.

Kuala Lumpur’s skyline. Photo from my Instagram account @kairulizwan

10 years down the road and how wrong I was. I did not know what the mistake is. I think it might be due to the lack of efficiency of a feeder service or maybe due to poor planning or…well I just don’t know. I am a strong believer of an efficient public transport system but the reality is a far cry from that.

Today, the road in Kuala Lumpur is more clogged up than a decade ago. Not only in Kuala Lumpur, the notorious traffic jam had managed to spread itself to almost the whole Klang Valley including my city, Shah Alam, which was then loved because there was no traffic jam at all.

So, which one would you prefer? The monorail above or the traffic jam below?

Sometimes, I did ask my colleagues or friends to take the LRT or train but the replies normally would be a resounding no. They said the trains are always late, packed, not efficient etc. Which means, they would rather drive in the traffic jams than to take the train. And I don’t blame them. The perception towards train travel in Malaysia is still on the negative side.

What about you? Do you prefer driving on your own or to take the train?

15 thoughts on “Friday Rambling: Train? Sorry I Prefer Driving.

    1. Until and unless we improve on the frequency of the trains, buses, the routes and also the quality of the service, yeah, driving is easier. Hopefully, the efficiency can be on par with SG in the near future!

  1. For me in Jakarta, definitely I prefer the train … Although it’s not really comfortable during the peak hours, but that’s the best option rather than driving in a traffic jam! Haha …

    Currently Jakarta is in the phase of preparing for the MRT … if the plan goes well, it will start the operation in 2018 … still a long way to go, but hopefully people will use the MRT rather than driving :D

    1. in KL, the LRT is fine but the problem is not all areas are covered by the LRT system. Yeah, saw the website already and glad that finally Jakarta will have such a system. It is a much needed system considering the fact that sometimes, Jakarta experiences ‘macet total’. hehe

      And I hope people will use the MRT there. Like here in the Klang Valley, people are so used with car, I doubt a lot of them will use the LRT once the extension is done or the MRT once it is completed.

  2. sorry late posting. I was excited too when lrt was first introduced in 1998. but as we observed, the macet is still there. thats not because the lrt is useless, but rather there is increase in population and car registration. on top of this, new highways are built for traffic dispersion (sprint, LEKAS, DUKE, etc etc), but still traffic is there.however, try to imagine if there is no LRT at all. I think we will be like jakarta. jammed pack and gridlock every hour. I do agree that the connection is not great. only few catchment areas. so ppl like me who live in bangi and work at 1utama have no chance taking mass transit. this is being solved. Actually, the two LRT line is only feeder line. MRT will be the true backbone of our mass transit with close to 40 stations and support the smaller lines (LRT, monorail). add to this is the extension of ampang and kelana jaya line with addition of 30 new stations. KTM will act as intercity train connecting padang besar perlis to KL sentral (target this July). Kind of like ICE in germany but 30% less the speed. KTM already confirm another 10 new train by september. All this combination can ease the traffic, but dont expect the roads to be empty immediately once all this take off. there are still MRT2 and circle line in the pipeline. ppl wants to use the train because its cheaper, safer, cleaner and quicker. its the connectivity issue that needs to be solved.

    1. No prob! :) Good to know your point of view. Actually I love to take the train but it’s just that the feeder service must be improved too.

      And I just know that MRT is the backbone and LRT is the feeder! Thanks for your info! :) Hopefully, after all the lines are completed, we can see a reduce in Klang Valley’s traffic jam! ;)

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