In a country of 31.2 million people, only 1.3 million Malaysians resort to our public transportation system. Although there have been many efforts to promote public transport, including upgrading works and extending coverage, most Malaysians still prefer to own a private vehicle – and our average public transport usage is among the lowest in Asia.
Taking public transport in Malaysia can be quite the challenge – you always have to plan your trips hours in advance because the buses might be late and trains get delayed. Having said that, some of us don’t really have much of a choice and have to make the best of the public transport due to our own reasons.
Here are a few things we can all relate to if you use public transport – buses or trains – in Klang Valley (and perhaps in some other parts of Malaysia too):
- You’re the first to arrive at the bus stop first, but the last one get in the bus
Because the concept of queuing up is so foreign and unfamiliar in Malaysia. The moment everyone gets a glimpse of the bus, they push and shove each other to make sure that they onto the bus. And it gets 10 times worse if it’s raining, because the bus is late and the people have piled up. It truly is the survival of the fittest.
2. Don’t even try to queue up because people will look at you weird
Yes. And that also means that you’re probably going to end up waiting an hour (or more) for the next bus.
3. When the Touch N Go card holds up the whole crowd
If you’re familiar with the words, “Sila sentuh semula”, you know what I’m talking about. As it is, you have to fight to get on the bus, and then you realise that you haven’t moved in 20 minutes because someone isn’t tapping their Touch N Go card right. We’re all for a cashless system, futuristic and stuff, but they really need to fix that board to ensure smoother entry into the bus.
4. The Rapid bus ETA time-board that lies to you
After years of experience, I have actually developed a formula for this: just take the ETA time and multiple it by two. If it says 5 minutes, it really means 10, if it says 10 minutes, it really means 20, and if it says 15 minutes, it really means 30. If the ETA is 30 minutes, you have time for one complete episode of “Game of Thrones“. You’re welcome.
5. People who put their bags on the next seat
Come on guys. After a long, tough day at work, I think I deserve that seat more than your Michael Kors handbag.
6. When you forget to top-up Touch N Go and have to buy a token at KL Sentral at 6pm
Fewer things in life are more cruel than this. When you tap your Touch N Go card and realise you have insufficient balance and you’re at KL Sentral at 6pm and the queue at the machine is longer than that at a Taylor Swift concert – why did I do to deserve this? Oh right, forgot to top up :(
7. What’s up with Masjid Jamek train station?
If you work in KL, you’re probably accustomed to this. But for the rest of us, any LRT with more than 2 exits is perplexing – and Masjid Jamek takes the cake. First of all, why are there 2 Masjid Jamek stations right across each other; which one do I even go to? Then, to get to your destination – you have to change from LRT to MRT from the Kelana Jaya line to the Ampang Line and the Sentul Line and then get down there and switch and – I think I’m just gonna walk.
8. When you’re in the KTM and it rains and you’re just prepared for it to stop moving
On its good days, KTMs are on-time, fun, and reliable. On its bad days – it breaks down and you’ll be stuck in it for almost 3 hours. Once, it just stopped because of the heavy downpour. While it’s convenient to use the KTM get to the suburbs, it can also get quite risky, because you kinda just have to be prepared for it to stop at any given time.
9. When you’re carrying a lot of bags and you try to look pathetic so someone would offer you their seat
Sometimes it’s end of the month and you’re broke so you can’t afford to get a cab, so you have to resort to buses and trains – even with multiple bags and luggages. It’s worse when the train or bus is crowded, it means you can’t even put your things down and have to carry it. So you end up trying to make eye contact with a (hopefully) good Samaritan in a pathetic attempt and pray hard that they feel your pain and offer their seat to you.
10. When you’re trying to get out of the train but can’t because people
Nope, that yellow box on the floor don’t mean anything to anybody. We completely understand that some of you are rushing and want to get on the train because you need to get home, but it will be easier if you let people out first – and that also means more space for you in the train!
Got any public transportation stories/gripes that you’d like to share with us? Leave a comment! We’d love to read your take on it :)