KUALA LUMPUR — If you’ve ever taken the trains in Kuala Lumpur and try to navigate your way around the city, you would realise how much of an adventure (or misadventure it is, depending on how you look at the situation) it can be.
Imagine arriving from KLIA with a huge luggage in tow and taking the ERL to KL Sentral.
Now, that’s the smooth part of the journey. Good impression so far.
The nightmare, however, begins when you arrive at KL Sentral to take the monorail to Bukit Bintang. The connection is not as seamless as what the train map suggests.
Instead, I would say it is rather misleading. You would first have to walk down a flight of stairs (the escalators don’t work on most occasions, don’t ask me why) and then walk some distance away through Brickfields before you arrive at KL Sentral monorail station.
At least now Kuala Lumpur City Hall (DBKL) has upgraded the station with an escalator. Back in 2008 when I first came to Kuala Lumpur as a property journalist, I had to carry my luggage all the way up to the platform. That is in itself quite a workout.
Imagine if I were a pregnant lady with a baby in pram? I do not think I would have survived taking the public transport in the city. Welcome to Kuala Lumpur where some of my KL friends have often said: “It is better to drive than to take public transport”.
Having worked in Kuala Lumpur briefly, I often had to leave my apartment at around 7am to beat the notorious traffic jams.
I also experienced the lack of seamless connection and the not-so-user-friendly infrastructure within the train stations.
For example, when taking the Kelana Jaya line to Dang Wangi station, I had to walk a long way to transfer to Bukit Nanas monorail station. The lack of connectivity and seamless connection has perhaps deterred many locals from commuting via public transport. This had perhaps contributed to the increase in the number of cars going in and out of Klang Valley.
I recall in 2008 when I was covering the Sustainable Cities Summit in Kuala Lumpur organised by Kuala Lumpur City Hall and REHDA Kuala Lumpur.
Former mayor Datuk Ahmad Fuad Ismail had lamented about the notorious traffic jams in Klang Valley, where almost a million cars would drive in to the city in the mornings.
At the press conference, I posed him several questions which I felt must be the frustrations KLites would feel taking the trains: “Why is there a lack of seamless connection from KL Sentral to KL monorail station? Why is the design of Bukit Bintang monorail station such that you need to take the stairs up a bridge to cross over the other side in order to exit the station? Why is the exit towards Lot 10 perpetually closed?”
He responded that Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd will be overhauling the entire system to make it more user-friendly to commuters.
Fast forward to 2014, I noticed a lot more has been done to make travelling easier for the rakyat.
For instance, there is now Nu Sentral mall coming up in KL Sentral to connect KL Sentral monorail station to the main KL Sentral transport hub. Hang Tuah and Titiwangsa monorail stations have also become easier to access to the LRT line without having to purchase new tickets.
There are also elevated walkways along Jalan Tuanku Abdul Rahman to make it easier for pedestrians to walk around the area, especially during the festive month of Ramadan.
My only gripe is there are still no escalators at KL Sentral monorail station going down to the exit. This is something I am sure many tourists, the elderly and mothers would appreciate.
Born and raised in Singapore but right at home in Malaysia, Khalil Adis is a bestselling co-author of ‘Get It Right Iskandar’, the first book to be written on investing in Iskandar Malaysia. He is also iProperty.com Malaysia’s Brand Ambassador for Iskandar Malaysia.
Follow him on Facebook at Khalil Adis Consultancy or email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article was first published by The Malay Mail on 11 April 2014. To view the original article, click here.