Saturday, September 27, 2008

COMMUTING IN THE KOMUTER

When your sense of direction needs a new compass, an extra pair of eyes and hands to turn the pages of a map (or you need to get one of those GPS things first) then the best way to get into the city where the roads can confuse you would be to take the train, otherwise known as the Komuter.

I took an early train for a day long training stint the other day because I had to switch trains at the main station in KL, and was unable to predict the time I might need (plus the fact that frequent users always complain about how the train is almost always delayed and the intervals between trains is 20 minutes), which was a good thing because apparently, there was a massive delay in the later trains (technical problems, they said). I stood at the corner of the coach I got in, leaning against the coach and my right side against the back of someone's chair while I listened to whatever that was playing on my mp3 player.

After just about 4 or 5 stops, the train was so packed that I was squeezed into my corner by a lady who could sleep standing up and a guy whose bag kept poking me. By the time we reached towards KL, the train could not accommodate anyone anymore. I saw a few school kids stare dejectedly as the train moved on, leaving them behind to catch another much delayed train, and my heart went out to them because some schools have terrible late-coming rules. In my secondary school, if you arrived late three times, you'll be made to wash the school toilets with a few others, and trust me when I say that washing the school toilet is a gazillion times worse than washing your toilet at home.

After almost an hour, I finally hobbled out of the train, thankful for the *fresh air in the station, and proceeded to another platform for another train that will lead me to my destination. I only did it at peak hours this one time, and it wasn't such a big issue for me. Standing in a corner, or hobbling out, but imagine doing it day after day for so many years.

I occasionally like to do a spot of people watching which I did that morning, and everyone looked like zombies, with their headphones over their ears, staring listlessly over the heads (or the back of the necks) of the person standing in front of them. Very few read (I believe for fear of losing balance), but one woman actually managed to read the reader's digest while standing up!

* the train station is an enclosed building, so I doubt the air is really fresh, but it is definirely much fresher than the air inside the train.

11 comments:

  1. communting in the komuter is always a painful experience for me back in the college days. it never come on time and always broke down.

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  2. Oh man. What a nightmare.

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  3. Sigh! My experience with the LRT in M'sia wasn't good either. It wasn't even rush hour and everyone was like mashed potatoes. They didn't even really care I had a baby in a stroller. Everyone was pushing and rushing.

    Mullai

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  4. I've been using public transport all my life and while it appears to be more fluid here in Sydney I do know how you feel. Thankfully I will buying my first car soon and will be using the trains and buses far less than I have the last 10 years or so.

    Good to see you have a not-so-negative view of things such as these. You're a very decent human being :)

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  5. That commute sounds exhausting. Pretty much the same here with our LRT during peak hours.

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  6. kchan: I see... I've hardly used the train at peak hours, but they do get delayed quite often. I think even more so now since the train schedule is every 20 minutes now instead of 15.

    travis: It was... I feel terribly sorry for those who have to go through it every day!

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  7. mullai: This was during your recent visit? Yeah, that's true... no one cares anymore, which is terribly sad.

    orhan: The problem with the system here is that there is no system unlike other countries :D I've sworn off buses since I got my car, but I do take the train ever now and then, but usually during non-peak hours.

    lizza: Yeah... it's the peak hours. Glad to see ya around again :)

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  8. the commuter trains into Dublin are like that in the morning. Thankfully I don't get them regularly but sometimes I spend weekends at friends who commute in and get the train back on Monday morning. It's so awful - people squashed and shoving, and so desperate not to be late that consideration goes out the window. People don't even give up their seats for the elderly or heavily pregnant women.

    I would hate to do it every day too.

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  9. Yes, that's so true. It's every person for himself/herself in the mornings, especially now after the increase in petrol prices where people are reluctant to drive into the city.

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  10. well... the singapore MRT isnt that great either. can be sandwich too.

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  11. I see... maybe there are just too many users compared to services :)

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