THEY are the unsung heroes who go to the aid of stranded motorists on expressways.
But little is known about what the PLUSRonda team have to endure to ensure motorists get to their required destinations safely.
Members of the team, comprising auxiliary policemen, have seen smashed up bodies of accident victims, encountered thieves, witnessed drivers being gagged and bound, and even became a marriage counsellor.
The eight-hour daily patrol along the North-South Expressway comprises three shifts — 6am to 2pm, 2pm to 10pm and 10pm to 6am.
Car breakdowns, punctured tyres and accidents are common problems for them and their priority is to clear the road to ensure all motorists have a smooth ride.
StarMetro had an insight into their work by tagging along two PLUSRonda team members, Arzalizam Ariffin and Mohd Asri Ibrahim from the C6 division who patrolled between the Bukit Jelutong and Nilai stretch of the expressway.
During the two-hour journey, the team encountered three incidents.
The first incident involved a family who was stranded on the emergency lane under a flyover near Putra Heights after the car had a flat tyre.
The family was returning to Tanjung Malim, Perak, after picking up a relative from the KL International Airport.
While one PLUSRonda team member kept watch over on-coming traffic, another member helped to replace the tyre, and soon the family continued on their journey north.
In the second incident, PLUSRonda called for the assistance of a tow-truck for a motorist, whose four-wheel drive could not start.
The final incident at the Dengkil R&R saw a lorry driver needing a jumper cable to start his vehicle. and the team called for a bigger vehicle to assist him.
Arzalizam, 32, who had worked there for seven years, said there was no greater joy than working on the expressway to help motorists who were in dire need of help.
“Some motorists even called up the main office to thank us personally for assisting them. This gives me personal satisfaction.
“But we have even encountered a mad man asking money from people at petrol stations. We handed him over to the police.
“Another interesting thing we had done was to do a two-week stake out near KLIA to catch thieves stealing TNB cables.
“We planted a CCTV to watch their movement,” he said, adding that the matter was referred to the police.
“Most of the time, we work on shifts and have to stay in the quarters here for a week and also cover those who go on leave,’’ said Arzalizam, who usually broke fast on the roadside with his buddy Mohd Asri, when patrolling.
Mohd Asri, 37, with 18 years of experience, had encountered a lot more strange things during his patrolling.
“Two months ago, in the wee hours of the morning near KLIA, I saw a car parked in the emergency lane with its doors left open.
“A man in the car told us that his wife ran into the nearby jungle.
“When we found her, she revealed that they had quarrelled over her husband’s affair.
“We coaxed her to make peace and they safely reached Malacca,” he said, adding that they had also managed to foil a car-jacking incident
Mohd Asri also related an incident of a driver in a stalled vehicle who did not want help.
When a friend approached the car later, the man got into the former’s car and sped off.
“After they left, we found a samurai sword, parang and some knives in the car boot,” he added.
Currently, there are 140 PLUSRonda teams with more than 400 personnel using four-wheel drive vehicles, tow-trucks, slide deck carriers and motorcycles for their daily 24-hour patrolling.
PLUSRonda has a response time of 20 minutes from receiving a distress call through its toll-free hotline at 1800-88-0000.
So, if you are stranded on the expressway, do not fret as PLUSRonda will be the guardian angel to provide assistance.