Wednesday, July 09, 2008

Public Transport in KL

It's been a long while since my last post on my blog, have a sudden urge to pen my thought.

Most Singaporeans tend to complain the slightest hiccups about our public transportation; taxi, bus or MRT, you name it. Was in Kuala Lumpur recently, would like to comment on the public transportation there. For starter, the taxi fare is much cheaper than SIN but some ignorant commuters might end up paying much more for a short ride if not careful. A friend and I tried to board a waiting cab at the taxi stand in Bukit Bintang, we were quoted RM35 to go to a nearby destination. Of course, we declined his 'generous' offer, instead chose to hail a moving cab. Within minutes, we got a cab based on meter charge and we ended paying only RM15 for the ride, a big saving for us. To be fair to the cab drivers in Malaysia, not all are the unscrupulous sorts, I have met some honest & friendly ones too.

Here in SIN, our MRT and LRTs are interlinked which is god-send. LRT & Monorail in KL are privately owned by different companies and they do not have a common card like our EZILINK cards which allow commuters to switch from a station to another station without the need to clear out and re-board. In KL, commuter has to get out from one rival LRT station, walk a distance to another rival station, buy a fresh ticket and then re-board. Suffice to say, Malaysians are quite a contented sort but if it is in SIN, the heads of the honchos in the public transport sector will roll first.

Another funny situation I'd just witnessed while travelling in the cab, a driver of a sleek air-con public bus was smoking & happily driving away. His commuters must have inhaled so much of the cigarette smoke to make any complaint, I reckon. In SIN, we would complain that our SBS drivers are rude, not helpful but never once had I witnessed our SBS or TIBS drivers smoking away while on duty call.

Talk about difficulty in getting a cab during peak hour, try getting one in KL for the experience for I just encountered one in my last trip. After dinner with my friend and his wife in PJ area, it was about 6.30 pm and I intended to head back to my hotel. My Malaysia friend told me that he will bring me to a nearby taxi stand as chances of landing one should be good, so he claimed. We waited and waited, one empty cab finally stopped at the kiosk, I happily walked over to the cab driver. It drew a blank when I said I am heading back to KL, he refused to take me knowing too well the traffic jam during that hour. Finally, we decided to head to my friend house to try booking a cab instead. We called few taxi companies but we were kept waiting for eternity, there was simply none at all. After many frantic calls, we finally got a cab and it was already well past 9 pm.

If we complain too much about our public transporation here, I wonder those who do not own a car in KL have to stomach all the woes in their public transporation and knowing too well, complaint after complaint can never resolve the big issue. Come to think of it, Singaporean are indeed a pampered lot.