BETTER connectivity via public transport was the highlight this year in Klang Valley, with the launch of new Light Rail Transit (LRT) extension lines, feeder buses and the Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) line.
On March 31, four stations on the Sri Petaling/Ampang line were opened namely IOI Puchong Jaya, Pusat Bandar Puchong, Taman Perindustrian Puchong and Bandar Puteri in Puchong.
Two more stations -- Prima Puchong and Puchong Perdana were opened on June 30.
Alongside the above two stations, 13 new stations linking Kelana Jaya and Sri Petaling lines also started operations.
The 13 stations under the Kelana Jaya Line extension project are Lembah Subang, Ara Damansara, Glenmarie, Subang Jaya, SS15, SS18, USJ 7, Taipan, Wawasan, USJ21, Alam Megah, Subang Alam and Putra Heights.
Besides the Putra Heights interchange station which enables commuters to switch to the Sri Petaling LRT line, two other interchange stations were opened -- Subang Jaya station that connects passengers to the KTM Komuter network, and the USJ 7 station which interchanges with the Bus Rapid Transit (Sunway Line).
With the new LRT extension lines completed, residents in Subang Jaya and Puchong are able to travel as far as Gombak and Sentul Timur respectively by train.
On Dec 16, the much-awaited Phase One of the MRT Sungai Buloh-Kajang (SBK) Line opened to the public with 12 stations.
The stations are Sungai Buloh, Kampung Selamat, Kwasa Damansara, Kwasa Sentral, Kota Damansara, Surian, Mutiara Damansara, Bandar Utama, Taman Tun Dr Ismail, Phileo Damansara, Pusat Bandar Damansara and Semantan. The line is serviced by 24 trains, each comprising four carriages that are able to carry 1,200 passengers with three minutes intervals between each ride.
Phase Two of SBK Line is scheduled to be operational by July 2017 with 19 more stations between Semantan and Kajang.
Complementing both the LRT and MRT lines, a feeder bus service is provided to link passengers from popular commercial areas and residential areas to the nearest LRT or MRT station.
Each ride costs RM1 and a total of 54 feeder buses have been deployed to service new routes based on the new stations.
However, many Subang Jaya residents cried foul over the shortage of buses and poor coverage area, as residential zones were left out of the feeder bus routes.
They claimed the T770 bus from the Subang Jaya LRT station to Sunway Pyramid did not cover SS12, Wangsa Baiduri and SS19.
The T777 buses from Taipan station to USJ 13, USJ 17 and USJ 18 leaves out USJ 12.
Meanwhile, the T776 buses from USJ 7 and Taipan stations to Subang Mewah disconnects residents living in USJ 3, USJ 11 and USJ 12.
Addressing the matter, Rapid KL chief operating officer Mohd Azam Omar explained in length that although 54 feeder buses were deployed to service the new routes, the key issues were insufficient bus drivers, the networking system with other bus operators, rising operation costs and poor ridership.
As for the MRT, a total of 107 feeder buses currently service 25 routes originating from each MRT station to popular locations such as KL Sentral and Subang Airport as well as residential areas such as Bukit Rahman Putra and SS22 Damansara Jaya.
Once the LRT service was operational, the largest issue cited by residents was the lack of park-and-ride facilities at some stations.
Only three out of four new stations on the Sri Petaling/Ampang Line have such facilities, namely IOI Puchong Jaya (470), Pusat Bandar Puchong (122) and Taman Perindustrian Puchong (350).
On the Kelana Jaya LRT Line extension, only seven out of 13 stations have park-and-ride facilities with a total of 2,178 bays for cars, 588 for motorcycles. 130 for bicycles and 24 for the disabled community.
Residents in USJ6 and SS18 areas of Subang Jaya were particularly concerned that commuters would end up parking their cars within their housing area and block their gates and parking spaces.
They also brought up the safety aspect as residents associations pointed out that more strangers would enter their streets and potentially make their premises more vulnerable to crime.
In an effort to curb the situation, more residential areas within Subang Jaya ended up implementing gated-and-guarded schemes in their neighbourhoods.
Parking woes plague six out of 12 MRT stations that have no park-and-ride facilities.
However, residents and commuters have been assured that more park-and-ride facilities will be launched next year including the new facility for Phileo Damansara MRT station that is scheduled to be completed early next year.
For all queries regarding LRT and MRT trains and buses, commuters can call the RapidKL Helpline 03-7885 2585.