Malaysia especially the Klang Valley area has one of the comprehensive train networks in the whole country. Starting with the old KTM trains, rail transportation has evolved over time and today, in 2014, the Klang Valley area has the KTM Komuter trains, Kelana Jaya Line LRT, Ampang Line LRT, Seri Petaling Line LRT, KL Monorail Line, the ERL and also the still-under-construction MRT Line.
When I was a kid, I still remember watching Pua Chu Kang series which was shot in Singapore. Although most of the shooting was done in the studio, some of the scenes were shot outdoor, showing how Singapore looked like in the 90s. I looked on the Internet and I was so excited to see a photo of the MRT train beside a 6 lanes road. I said to myself, “Wow, they are so modern and developed as compared to Malaysia!”.
So, just imagine my feeling in 1998, when the Kelana Jaya Line LRT [PUTRA LRT back then] was completed. I was so damned excited and I could see the future of Malaysia, where train lines zigzagging and people prefer to take the train instead of driving. I imagined the streets in KL being empty and there were only a few cars.
10 years down the road and how wrong I was. I did not know what the mistake is. I think it might be due to the lack of efficiency of a feeder service or maybe due to poor planning or…well I just don’t know. I am a strong believer of an efficient public transport system but the reality is a far cry from that.
Today, the road in Kuala Lumpur is more clogged up than a decade ago. Not only in Kuala Lumpur, the notorious traffic jam had managed to spread itself to almost the whole Klang Valley including my city, Shah Alam, which was then loved because there was no traffic jam at all.
Sometimes, I did ask my colleagues or friends to take the LRT or train but the replies normally would be a resounding no. They said the trains are always late, packed, not efficient etc. Which means, they would rather drive in the traffic jams than to take the train. And I don’t blame them. The perception towards train travel in Malaysia is still on the negative side.
What about you? Do you prefer driving on your own or to take the train?