In their efforts to increase connectivity in the Klang Valley area, Rapid KL recently added 25 new stations to its Ampang and Kelana Jaya line
A total of 25 new LRT stations went into operation on 30 June on the Kelana Jaya and Ampang alignment, among them Puchong Perdana, Puchong Prima, Ara Damansara, Subang Jaya, USJ 7, Awan Megah and Putra Heights.
Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Razak said the extension route, which passed through highly populated areas, such as Kinrara, Puchong and Subang Jaya, would propel these urban centres into new economic growth areas.
The extension also saw a new system being implemented for the commuters.
Rapid KL commuters coming from the Ampang line will now have to interchange at the Chan Sow Lin station if they need to get to Sentul Timur or Putra Heights stations.
Unfortunately, the new system was not well received by the commuters, with many complaining of overcrowded LRT stations and chaos during peak hours
A Facebook user uploaded these photos above, depicting the situation at the Chan Sow Lin LRT station on Monday, 18 July at about 8.40am.
"I was at chan sow lin lrt station now. No more ampang route to sentul timur. So kena tukar kat chan sow lin kalau nk ke kl. Today is the first day. seriously xpaham konon projek ni memudahkan rakyat walhal ramai kot passenger from ampang nk ke kl setiap pg. (I seriously don't understand how this eases the usual morning rush as there's so many people from Ampang that go to KL every morning.)."
"Pls tell me how to resolve all this cramp every morning," read the status.
Twitter has been flooded with LRT commuters posting photos and tweets on how crowded the Chan Sow Lin stations have become since Sunday, 17 July
A twitter user shared photos of crowded LRT stations, expressing her disappointment with the public transportation system and calling it a "third-world ride"
Masjid Jamek LRT station at 6.16pm on Monday, 18 July:
A local banker who takes the train from Masjid Jamek after work, mentioned how the station is usually never that crowded around 6pm.
"The usual rush is common but I've never seen the station this packed in my five years of taking the train from Masjid Jamek LRT," he explained.
This photo was uploaded on Monday, 18 July at 7.39am
Another daily commuter also shared her unfortunate experience of taking the LRT on 5 July.
It all started at around 8.50 am on a Tuesday when the train she was in came to a halt at the Pasar Seni LRT station.
They were then asked to vacate the train, citing technical issues after waiting for about 15 minutes.
"Next train came, we got in and packed ourselves like sardines in a can. The train reversed towards KL Sentral instead of Masjid Jamek! Confusion was plastered all across the faces of the commuters."
"We got off at KL Sentral, switched platform and got on the next train. Off we went, and it stopped again at Pasar Seni and again, we had to vacate it. Great," explained Joanne Tay, a daily commuter who takes the train from the Taman Bahagia LRT station.
She eventually ended up taking an Uber to work, with a few colleagues that she bumped into at the station.
She explained how this situation is made worse for the disabled, pregnant women and children.
"A colleague's friend said that she missed her stop this week because it was too crowded for her to even step out."
"It has been a great deal more crowded since the opening of the new lines and stations. RapidKL has also been using more two-coach trains too," said Joanne.
Joanne commute from Taman Bahagia LRT to the KLCC station around 8am used to only take about 25 minutes. However, the recent changes to the system, has apparently increased it to about 35 minutes.
"The experience has been more stressful too. Previously, the crowd only starts to build once you get into the city, from stations like Bangsar and KL Sentral, but I noticed now that the trains are packed from Taman Bahagia," added Joanne.
It isn't just the Chan Sow Lin station that has been unnaturally crowded. The KLCC station was also seen to be in a chaotic state in the evenings, following the extension and implementation of the new system
A Facebook user and LRT commuter, Jessica Low shared a photo on how crowded the KLCC Lrt station has been in the evenings for the past few days.
"It's been like this since Kelana jaya line extension. Posting these photos could help as a temporary measure to manage the crowd. But they need to be CURRENT and ACCURATE so that users can plan their schedule - whether they should go to the station now or later, or even find an alternative transport," said Jessica.
She was referring to how RapidKL has been uploading photos, updating the situation in the main stations during peak hours on their Twitter account.
"RapidKL has been posting pictures of situations at platforms. Personally, I think it's an insult to users because the photos depict a false picture that it's not crowded. Read the comments by users and it's the contrary," explained Jessica.
The Masjid Jamek station was no different either as people were seen 'sandwiched' on the stairs and platforms during peak hours
Following the flurry of complaints from commuters, RapidKL has proven to be very responsive. They have been consistently updating the situation at the main LRT stations, especially Chan Sow Lin during peak hours
Responding to the complaints, RapidKL issued an official statement on Tuesday, 19 July explaining the situation and apologising for the delays on 17 and 18 July
RapidKL informed that they have started placing police officers and RapidKL staff to ease and ensure that passengers get into the trains safely and as speedily as possible.
"With the new system in place, the Sri Petaling Line uses the new six coach trains with a waiting time of 3 minutes during peak hours in the mornings and evenings. As for non-peak hours, the waiting time is six minutes."
"RapidKL would also like to apologise for all the commuters from Ampang that are forced to interchange at the Chan Sow Lin station. This cannot be avoided due to the opening of 12 news stations on the Sri Petaling Line, as the number of people heading to city center from Putra Heights is far more and that needs to be given the priority," read the official media statement which was originally written in Bahasa Malaysia.
Talking about LRT, read about this young Malaysian girl's first and interesting experience of taking the LRT alone: