The Star: Gridlock at LRT stations

Commuters were forced to queue behind the ticket barrier to avoid overcrowding the underground KLCC station.
Commuters were forced to queue behind the ticket barrier to avoid overcrowding the underground KLCC station.

LRT commuters heading home from the city centre are experiencing overcrowded coaches, especially in high traffic areas such as the Kuala Lumpur City Centre (KLCC) station.

Following the completion of the Kelana Jaya and Sri Petaling LRT line extension projects, StarMetro reported on Tuesday that things were running smoothly from Asia Jaya and Taman Jaya LRT stations to the city centre during the morning peak hours, but not when commuters were returning from the city centre.

At about 7pm on Wednesday, the KLCC station was packed with commuters and they were unable to board the train as the coaches were full, resulting in a wait that lasted a few hours before they could board the trains.

At one point, commuters were forced to line up behind the ticket barriers in the underground station to avoid overcrowding.

Some commuters were frustrated at the sight while some treated it as the normal peak hour rush.

A public relations company intern Muhammad Afiq Damanhuri, who had taken the train from the KLCC station back to the Taipan station, said the huge crowd was probably caused by the rain.

“The crowd (on Wednesday) is rather bad partly because the commuters want to wait until the rain subsides. This is the worst that I have seen since I started to make use of the new extension.

“Most of the time, I will just squeeze into one of the coaches even though it is crowded,” he said.

However, Muhammad Afiq said he was glad that the line had been extended though there were still improvements to be made.

“Longer coaches and increasing the frequency will help ease the problem.

“The new line has just started and it is only fair to give them time to improve,” he said.

Programmer Suzanne Lee Sook Hsen, 25, said there were no changes to the train service after the extension lines opened.

“I take the train from the KLCC station to go home and sometimes I cannot get on board as the coaches are overcrowded during peak hours.

“This is quite common, but it can be improved by increasing the frequency and adding coaches to the existing trains as the trains have to travel a longer distance,” she said.

Sales manager C.K. Lee, 34, said he felt the service was not up to mark especially this week.

“The crowd seemed to have increased in size compared to previous weeks and the coaches are overcrowded more often,” he said.

Marketing executive Adzlan Ishok, 27, said this was the first time he had needed to queue behind the ticket barrier.

“Once I had to wait for 30 minutes to board a train.

“The service needs to be more reliable and the trains should not break down so often,” he said.

With the opening of the LRT Line Extensions, Prasarana Group Communications and Strategic Marketing head Lim Jin Aun said the company was introducing additional trains in stages to meet with the daily demand during peak hours.

“For the Sri Petaling and Ampang Lines, we have ordered 20 six-car trains for the line extension and 30 six-car trains to replace the existing fleet.

“The new trains would be deployed in stages until end of 2016.

“For the Kelana Jaya Line, we have ordered 14 new four-car trains and would ‘couple’ 22 sets of the current two-car trains into 11 sets of four-car trains.

“To-date, we are recording an additional 23,000 ridership per day with the opening of the 23 new stations,” he said.

In the meantime, Kelana Jaya Line trains will alternately make a turnaround at the Ara Damansara Station during the morning and evening peak hours.

“We would like to thank our customers for their patience and support, and seek their understanding to bear with us for the temporary inconvenience as we enhance the infrastructure and services of the urban rail systems and services,” he added.

The Star – 16 July 2016 | Jarod Lim