LIKE many commuters, the members of the Association for the Improvement of Mass-Transit (Transit), Klang Valley have reacted with dismay to the recent collision between two LRT trains. The members of Transit believe that the collision and the aftermath are reflective of the extremely poor state of public transportation in this country.
The collision itself could have been caused by a variety of factors, such as human error, poor maintenance, or equipment malfunction or failure.
If the cause was human error, RapidKL must ensure that the training of the drivers must be improved.
If the cause was poor maintenance or equipment failure, then Prasarana must ensure that maintenance is improved.
It is because the public still does not know about the cause of the collision, that such speculation can occur.
And because of this lack of information, people are losing confidence in public transport and the LRT.
Neither the media, nor the operators nor the government have done anything to help improve the confidence in public transport.
Letters are now appearing to suggest that the collision occured because the trains were travelling too close together. There are even suggestions to reduce the frequency of trains to five minutes during peak hours and 15 minutes during off-peak hours, citing “safety” as a reason.
But realistically, the frequency of trains is not an issue. It is the human or mechanical errors that need to be resolved.
Besides, reducing the frequency of trains is a lazy solution to this problem. It is a way of giving up on improving public transport, something which has been happening for far too long in Malaysia.
We give up too easily. We have given up on buses and demand LRT, thinking it will be a magic solution. Will we now give up on the LRT after what has happened? Is giving up and avoiding the problems and passing out blame going to be a realistic and effective solution to the problems that we are facing?
We need to move forward with public transport €” not move backwards.
For this reason, Transit requests that the following suggestions be carried out before the end of 2008:
1. That the full report on the collision be made public and discussed publicly, and that this be done very soon.
2. That the Transport Ministry, Prasarana, and RapidKL create a task force to improve the railways and LRTs in this country.
3. That this task force take action to involve the public and restore public confidence in public transport.
It is the belief of Transit that the LRT train collisions and the recent problems with KTMB services are symptoms of a greater problem and this must be resolved through serious action that involves all stakeholders €” government, operators and consumers.
The only way to improve confidence in public transport is to improve public transport and ensure that all stakeholders are involved and their voices are heard.
MOAZ YUSUF AHMAD
on behalf of TRANSIT