Tuesday, April 10, 2012

The KTM Komuter Blues

KTMB just received 6 sets out of 38 new electric train sets this year. This train set ,or the techies called as the Electric Multiple Unit (EMU) was manufactured by CSR Zhuzhou Electric Locomotive Co Ltd (CSR ZELC) and the remaining 32 sets is expected to arrive and fully utilised by KTMB by this June. Kinda nice looking machine, actually.

So, how much is this new toy cost to our national train company? according to our Minister, the total 38 train sets cost RM1.89billion which will include maintenance, repair and overhaul expenses. The duration of the 'warranty' is not mentioned in the report.

I got the opportunity to ride this new set on morning April 6th . I had a meeting with friends at SME Corp and since they moved to their new office in KL Sentral which is the Main Hub of the city's public transportation, it seems that i don't have any valid reason to drive there. Once aboard the new train, i straightly attracted to several small flat screens (about 10 inch) , repeatedly showing the manufacturer's (CSR) corporate video. Eventually, it should attract any potential brands or companies to advertise on the screen since the AV system is good, with clear sound and crystal view but the location of the screens itself , is not visible enough for the passengers. Personally for me, the best location for Ads Screen/Display in busses or trains is always hanging from the ceiling.

The modern interior mostly in white, is neat and well-assembled. The chairs looks durable enough to withstand the vandals and it is a quiet ride. No sound of iron bangs or some electrical-shockwave effects like we used to hear in the old sets. Or maybe, because it is still new?

So, my personal observation for the 1st impression of the new train sets ; it is worth the cost.

Anyway, the cost doesn't bothered me because i think KTMB deserved to get new fleet of EMUs for its Komuter service , a decade ago. As a former Komuter's user, i shared this joy since i myself experienced the horror of waiting , boarding and departing of the old train sets. I also believed that , KTMB is 'super rich' enough to buy new toy and dispose the old sets because of the millions of commuters use the service everyday and the company already saved a lot of money as they frequently skip the MROs (maintenance, repair and overhaul) of the old sets( that's what one guy told me before).

And it doesnt bothered me if this EMUs deal is also another 'dubios purchase' that benefits certain people who involved in its procurement. Why should i be bothered about that? KTMB is declared as a 'Corporate Entity' since 1992 and it is one of the GLCs that have the most potentials to be privatize and to grow. So, i should regard KTMB as a 'Private Corporation' that profits and runs on its own money which came from the customers who use the service provided. In respect of that, i do expected their management and staff to have so-called 'Private Corporation' mindset where they focus more on customer centric and customer satisfaction.

So what really-really bothered me was, despite getting the new train sets, KTMB seems ignored (or forgot) to improve the fundamental of the service; The Ticketing . I was at KL Sentral ,on my way back from the meeting and i saw one long -curvy queue at the ticket counter. The lady in front of me said , the good-old ticket vending machine is broke down, again. The interesting part is, the machine is the one and only KTM Komuter ticket vending machine to serve the whole passengers in that grand station which connected to various town and cities, from KL to Klang, to Seremban, to Ipoh.

And the 'best part' is , only 1 manual ticket counter are open which caused that long curvy queue i mentioned before. When i finally got my turn at the counter, the ticket girl welcomes me with mumble or some words which i dont even know whether she is mad at me and the rest of the people waiting for the tickets ,or is she mad with that poor ticket machine?. Or perhaps, she is blaming the customers for all the problems and the faulty that happened in her company?


1 comment:

Fi-sha said...

Hi KE :-)
Long time no news from you. Hope all is cool with you. it is si bloody malaysia boleh thingy KE that we time and time again fail to fully leverage the big boya toys we have. it boils down to the mgmt. they could hv more traina but i still hear nonsensical delays these days because they dun know how to plan manage and act to changes required that come with more trains on track. be well KE