PETALING JAYA: You have likely read something about it or perhaps even had a lively debate about it - but how many Klang Valley residents actually rely solely on public transport on a daily basis?
On Friday, three intrepid The Star Online reporters set out to experience the efficiency of the city's public transport system for themselves.
The challenge put to them was simple - make the "morning commute" from their respective homes to the KLCC and arrive there by 9am. From then on, follow suggestions from Twitter posts with the #MyJalan hashtag and see where the tweets take them.
They were not allowed to use taxis, and could only take trains and buses to get to their respective destinations.
Here are their accounts of their respective #MyJalan journeys:
Moving with Michelle
THE Metro bus puttered to a stop next to the steep incline.
"Universiti LRT, here!" said the driver, eyes fixed on the road ahead to Kuala Lumpur.
Only, not quite.
Commuters alighted the vehicle quickly and made their way up the slight hill with practised ease. Vehicles whizzed by on either side - one stumble and you're roadkill.
I couldn't have asked for a more thrilling start to my experiment of the public transportation in the Klang Valley!
One had to manoeuvre carefully - a good sense of balance recommended - over the road divider before a walkway emerges.
Next was the wonky traffic light okaying pedestrian crossings, which according to a frequent commuter, "hasn't worked in recent memory". So we made a quick dash across the road to reach the LRT station.
Happily, the rest of my public transport journey was less eventful, save for a blue car that crashed into the bus on my way back to Menara Star in Petaling Jaya.
A trip to Zoo Negara from KLCC took under an hour, and if not for an unexpectedly lengthy journey on another Metro bus out of the area, one could even slot in another bus ride that will have you within walking distance of Solaris Dutamas before 4pm.
All the journeys cost much lesser than a cab ride, but took substantially more time and planning to complete.
The commuters I met were more resigned than unhappy with their everyday situation.
One Idah, noticing my discomfort from the heat and haze, offered some papaya pickles before bidding me a warm goodbye.
As a student and during my internships, I had to travel via the KTM, LRT and bus every day. Each trip generally took a minimum of two hours. Thankfully, a kind colleague would later let me carpool with her.
I still don't have my own set of wheels, but I now live much closer to work to avoid the hassle of using public transport when possible.
Travelling by public transport in the Klang Valley is affordable and largely efficient if you rely on the LRT but it can be time consuming and may pose a risk to your safety. - Michelle Tam
THERE'S nothing quite like the smell of yuppie in the morning - a heady mix of coffee in paper cups, perfume, and the exhaust fumes of the bus you're crammed into.
My public transport journey seemed to be the easiest - from Bangsar to KLCC and then to Taylor's Lakeside University in Subang. Little did I know, I'd end up waiting for God-knows-when-the-train-would-arrive.
#MyJalan began with the RapidKL T634 bus which goes from Bangsar LRT to Pusat Bandar Damansara and back, which I took it from outside Bangsar Shopping Complex.
Unfortunately, the driver didn't tell me that I had to catch it from the other side of the road, so I ended up making a long roundabout route circling Pusat Bandar Damansara, passing my starting point, before snaking my way to the LRT station.
The LRT ride to KLCC was uneventful, as was the LRT back to KL Sentral.
There, however, I encountered the fearsome KTM Komuter trains.
Although the train to Port Klang (I'd be alighting at Seri Setia) was only seven minutes late, it was stuffy and warm.
Somewhat embarrassingly, I fell asleep and missed my stop. I got out at Subang Jaya and had to take the train back one stop.
Alarmingly, there is excessive construction going on at the Subang Jaya KTM - the trains going to Port Klang and returning to Kuala Lumpur use the same track. Scary.
At Seri Setia, I waited for the bus to Taylor's Lakeside Campus for a good 30 minutes.
Unfortunately, it being lunchtime on a Friday, none showed up.
At my editor's behest, I hitch-hiked to the university campus, thanking my lucky stars that so many students were headed there. At the campus, I saw about five buses parked here and there. Depressing.
Thankfully, my editor then called me up with an urgent story I had to write, so I got into a cab back to the office.
This is something I definitely could not do every day - I smelled like a used sock and the heat and haze were awful! - Tashny Sukumaran
Avineshwaran gets around
FOR the first time since I started working in the Klang Valley, I had the experience - or should I say the privilege - of using the Klang Valley's public transportation system for the entire day.
After many suggestions, I decided to check out the services in Putrajaya - which tied in with my need to renew my road tax. The first destination was the JPJ headquarters in Complex D in Putrajaya.
After months of driving, relying on public transportation was a humbling experience.
Taking a train to Putrajaya was a breeze, and the ERL services were efficient.
The trains were on schedule and many civil servants use them to get to Putrajaya.
Once at Putrajaya, I had to take a bus to the JPJ headquarters, on the Putrajaya bus line.
I had my doubts at first, but I was impressed with the services, though I reached JPJ a little late.
The driver was courteous and even calmed me down when I was running late for my appointment at JPJ.
Ticket prices were cheap, too. For only 50 sen, I travelled from Putrajaya Sentral to Kompleks D, where the JPJ headquarters is located.
It turned out that I could not renew my road tax there. So, I had to rush back to Petaling Jaya to get it done.
I thought it would take hours, but thanks to the ERL and LRT Rapid KL, I reached the Petaling Jaya JPJ office on Jalan Sultan in less than an hour.
When it comes to timing and efficiency, train services in Klang Valley are pretty efficient. The only thing you need to bear is the rush hour crowd.
Once I completed my road tax renewal, I headed back to Menara Star - my first experience of taking a bus to Petaling Jaya.
The experience was simply terrible! I had a long wait at the Asia Jaya stop even though the bus to Eastin Hotel (which is adjacent to Menara Star) was parked there - with the driver nowhere in sight!
Once the driver arrived, I got into the bus but was in for a rude shock - he told me to get down from the bus and wait at the designated bus stop.
Had he told me in a courteous way, I could have accepted it, but he was rude!
My journey ended on a sour note, but the overall experience was pretty humbling.
There were the pros and cons, but if you were to ask me whether I would opt for public transport in the near future, my answer would probably be in the negative - driving is still the best fit for me! - T. Avineshwaran
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