Thousands of Klang Valley LRT commuters affected by unexplained glitch affecting several stations
Caretaker transport minister Wee Ka Siong has apologised on behalf of the government and vowed to get to the bottom of the matter.
KUALA LUMPUR: Hundreds of thousands of Klang Valley commuters have been left frustrated after 16 stations of the Kelana Jaya Light Rail Transit (LRT) line had to be shut down due to a malfunction detected on Nov 6.
According to Prasarana, the parent company of LRT operator Rapid Rail, the problem was detected in the automatic train control (ATC) system which it said had not happened before.
The operator has so far not been able to find the root cause of the glitch, Prasarana president and group CEO Mohd Azharuddin Mat Sah said at a press conference on Wednesday (Nov 9).
He added that the best course of action was, therefore, to temporarily halt the train services until Nov 15 for the safety of passengers.
“We are still trying to identify the real cause of the disruption. The RapidKL team is currently being assisted by the original equipment manufacturer’s experts to identify short-term and long-term solutions,” said Mr Azharuddin as quoted as saying by Malay Mail.
He said that free bridging bus services are being deployed at major LRT stations along the Kelana Jaya line to help ease the commute for those affected.
Prasarana said that 73 feeder buses have been deployed to five different routes along the Kelana Jaya line to ferry commuters to their destinations as a temporary solution, and that more will be added later.
The affected stations are Kelana Jaya, Taman Bahagia, Taman Paramount, Asia Jaya, Taman Jaya, Universiti, Kerinchi, Bangsar, Abdullah Hukum, KL Sentral, Pasar Seni, Masjid Jamek, Dang Wangi, Kampung Baru, KLCC and Ampang Park.
Earlier, Malaysian media reported that the train services between KLCC and Kelana Jaya LRT stations were halted at around 4pm on Tuesday.
“The remaining stations (on the line) will operate as usual (however) services will end earlier at 11pm,” Rapid KL said in a brief statement. However, no reasons were given for the closure of the stations.
Meanwhile, former transport minister Anthony Loke said that the increasingly frequent breakdowns plaguing the LRT system were a sign that the key form of public transportation was in urgent need of an overhaul.
“KL LRT is an important mode of transport for local residents. Every day, there are around 300,000 people using it for their daily commuting,” he was quoted as saying by Malay Mail.
The Democratic Action Party (DAP) secretary-general also urged the Ministry of Transport to reimburse commuters affected by the service disruption.
“Their monthly ticket should be reimbursed since they can’t use the LRT in the next seven days. It is ridiculous, and the government should sincerely amend this,” he said.
Mr Loke said that Pakatan Harapan (PH) would give the LRT system its high priority should it be given the mandate in the 15th general election (GE15).
“If PH is able to retake the federal government on Nov 19, KL’s public transport system will be our highest priority and we will solve these issues as soon as possible,” he was quoted as saying by Free Malaysia Today.
In a press conference on Wednesday evening, caretaker transport minister Wee Ka Siong apologised on behalf of the government.
He said that he has been in close contact with Prasarana to get to the bottom of the matter.
“Nevertheless, I feel sorry for the problems caused and I, too, share the grievances of the LRT users.
“But I can assure all the users of the LRT and other Prasarana services that I have been checking closely with its management and officers under my ministry to get to the bottom of this,” he was quoted as saying by the Star.
Dr Wee added that while waiting for the special team from the original equipment manufacturer Thales Group from Toronto, Canada to arrive, Prasarana would be engaging an independent third-party consultant to find a solution.