LACK of parking space forces hundreds of motorists daily to park at undesignated areas near LRT stations to board the train, often leaving their vehicles there throughout the day and sometimes posing inconvenience to other road users and also risking damage to their own vehicles.
This pervading problem has been a deterrent factor for many urbanites in the Klang Valley who cite it as a reason they are reluctant to travel by LRT to their destinations.
A check by StarMetro at several LRT stations over the week found lines of cars parked by road shoulders.
Some car owners who commute by LRT have to resort to parking their vehicles at every nook and corner that fits.
At stations that are close to residential areas, some of the commuters park on the grassy road shoulder between houses.
Lingeswari Kaniasan who takes the LRT to work from the Sentul station said Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad (Prasarana) should look into providing more parking space as the situation was getting from bad to worse.
“With the rising cost of living, many are trying to save in any way they can. Using public transport is one way to cut expenses but the current lack of parking space and exorbitant parking fees at some stations are a major deterrent factor.
“I spend RM6.80 to travel to and from work by LRT. I try to go early to park at the public parking lot nearby to avoid paying the parking fees because it would defeat the purpose of saving money. My workplace is only about 10km from my house but the parking fee there is also very expensive,” she said.
“Commuters should not be charged for parking their cars at this LRT station because the space is small and there is no security feature. There is only one man at the entrance collecting the money,” she said.
“With very few parking bays available, vehicles are forced to park at every little space available within the parking area, always almost double its capacity.
“If you are late, the car park is full and you are forced to park elsewhere,” she added.
Another regular LRT passenger, Sharifah Amalina Syed Abu Hanifah said the open-air carpark near Taman Jaya station had hiked its parking rate to RM12 per day, making it a very expensive affair to take this mode of public transport.
“It used to be RM6, then it was increased to RM7, RM10 and now RM12!
“I do not see the reason for this fee increase as the parking lot still looks the same. The road is still filled with potholes and looks like it hasn’t been tarred in years.
“There is no shelter for the cars. In addition, this place is very dark at night with no proper lighting or security guard.
“I pay RM12 for parking plus RM4.20 for my LRT trip to KLCC. That’s almost RM20. I might as well drive all the way to KLCC where it would cost the same for parking at the open-air parking there.
“And I think there are many people just like me, who opt not to take the LRT because of the steep parking price and inconvenience,” she pointed out.
Bukit Bandaraya Residents Association chairman Datuk M. Ali said the few parking bays at the Bangsar station, which are on a first-come, first-served basis, were often taken up by those working nearby.
“Commuters park at nearby complexes or open-air carparks but the charges are on hourly rate and can become expensive. One open-air carpark charges RM4 an hour,” he said.
Prasarana head of media affairs Azhar Ghazali said enforcement on illegal parking was under the jurisdiction of the police and local authorities.
“Though we are looking at finding a solution to the parking woes, we are challenged with the lack of land to provide more bays.
“At the moment, we have one multi-storey Park-and-Ride complex and 15 at-grade Park and Ride facilities. (refer to table)
“The carparks are all being outsourced to various parking operators who will operate and maintain the bays as well as ensure the safety of the motorists.
“For the multi-storey Park-and- Ride facility in Gombak, the promotional fee is a flat rate of RM4 per entry until the end of the year and entry is by using MyRapid card only.
“For other at-grade Park-and-Ride facilities, the fee is RM3 per entry. Commuters can use cash at these facilities.
“Should there be areas where no charges had been collected or the rate is other than RM3 per entry, chances are the area is owned and operated by other parties,” he explained.
Prasarana supports the public transport services by operating the LRT, Monorail and bus services. Within Klang Valley and Selangor, all three services are operated under the brand name of RapidKL.
Operation-wise, the LRT and monorail services are managed by Rapid Rail Sdn Bhd and the bus services by Rapid Bus Sdn Bhd.
Commuter Dahlila Kamat, who takes the LRT from Gombak to KLCC station and enjoys the newly built Park-and-Ride facility, said RM4 was a small price to pay for convenience and security.
“Before this complex was built, either my husband drops me off at the station or I come early and park at a hilly area and pay a RM3 fee, Now I do not need to worry about parking as I can get parking space at any time of the day,” she said.
She highlighted an incident recently when she dropped her MyKad near her parked car. She said the security guard at the Park-and-Ride complex had seen it and left a note for her on the car windscreen to retrieve her identity card from him.
Another commuter Ahmad Khairul Nizam Khairuddin, who occasionally takes the LRT, also feels RM4 is a reasonable fee with the assurance of better security for the commuters and their vehicles.
“My friend’s car was stolen from the parking lot near one of the stations early this year.
“Before this complex was built, this carpark was just gravel and surrounded by a lot of undergrowth in the area, making it unsafe. With this new Park-and-Ride complex, I do not mind leaving my car here,” he said.