LRT Recent Breakdown in September 2014

Posted on November 1st, 2014

RAPID, which runs a large fleet of buses in the Klang Valley, recently had its LRT system breakdown in September 2014.

To be fair, the LRT or light rail transit system should be in fact commended. To say that Rapid’s LRT has made the lives of commuters in and around Kuala Lumpur much more bearable these days, is something which cannot be denied.

Allow me to tell you a little bit about the above system. The LRT is cheap. Its air-condition system is cold and comfortable. Schedules are prompt and in my opinion its prices low and affordable too. As such, if you wish to avoid the hectic and maddening jams of the notorious Federal Highway as you travel on your way to our capital of Kuala Lumpur, why not try the trains of Rapid’s Light Rail Transport (LRT) system one of these days.

Do you know that the LRT trains run from Kelana Jaya to Putra Gombak? Soon, another system is being constructed into Subang Jaya.

But what happened to the LRT system one day in September 2014 recently is something which I would like to forget about.

On the above day in question, your sincerely, got down from his usual yellow or ‘canary’ coloured Causeway Link bus near Hilton Hotel in Petaling Jaya. The Federal Highway that hot afternoon was more or less quite congested. So I made the wise or perhaps rather ‘stupid’ decision to take the LRT train instead.

Upon entering the Asia Jaya station in front of the Armada Hotel in Petaling Jaya, an announcement was heard saying, “There was been an unscheduled delay at the Masjid Jamek interchange.” Well, at first I thought this was something usual that afternoon. What a surprise this turned out to be!

Before proceeding any further with this article, permit me to enlighten blog readers about the LRT system which in reality runs from Kelana Jaya to Terminal Gombak. The above journey normally takes approximately an hour. However, the above journey that fateful day in September, unfortunately turned LRT into what can be termed as ‘Life is a Real Torture’ instead!

First and foremost, instead of a 5 or 10 minute arrival of trains, the LRT train from Kelana Jaya arrived about 30 minutes late. After about 50 to 100 passengers had embarked, the train waited for another half an hour instead. The LRT finally managed to take off for the next station, being the Taman Jaya station. Mind you, the above is less than a kilometre away.

What surprised commuters was, at each and every LRT station where the train stropped, more and more commuters embarked onto the train. And what was more surprising, the LRT was now becoming sardine-packed. Conditions were beginning to become more unbearable. People were becoming noticeably annoyed. At each and every sub-station that it halted, the LRT train was delayed there for at least half an hour or more.

All in all, I stood all the way, hanging onto the straps of the LRT from 1.30 pm to the KL Sentral station at 4.30 pm. And mind you, Petaling Jaya to KL Sentral is less than 5 or 6 kilometres away. What usually took less than 15 minutes journey, had taken a torturous 4 hours! On the day the LRT breakdown occurred, I was in fact heading towards the Putra Gombak terminal station.

No one, I believe, holds the LRT management, that is RAPID, responsible. After all, breakdowns occur. It is part and parcel of any transport system after all, isn’t it?

But the RAPID management could have at least taken steps to eliminate commuters’ woes and sufferings. What would I like to suggest? It is hoped the authorities would seriously be taking suggestions and views of commuters into due consideration. Breakdowns and unscheduled delays are bound to occur in the near future.

Amongst the suggestions that can be taken into consideration, in that the RAPID management could station personnel at the entrance of all LRT sub-stations to deter commuters from entering its premise, thereby preventing worsening of its congested LRT trains. At least, steps such as these should be taken until the situation improved.

How did the writer finally solve his predicament, which he called ‘Life is a Real Torture’ (LRT) event that particular day in question?

Well, I decided to abort my journey to Putra Gombak. And he was wise enough to disembark at the Pasar Seni sub-station near Central Market. It was already 4.30 or 5 pm. With legs weary and the possibility of a fainting spell setting in, I headed quickly to the nearest Chinese restaurant nearby for a much needed drink and a hot bowl of kuey teow and bebola soup.

The LRT journey in September recently can rightfully be termed as ‘Life is a Real Torture’ (LRT) incident. Has the above unfortunate incident deterred me from using the LRT trains in the future?

Frankly, I would like to say, not at all. Guess it’s only a part of life after all!

The LRT system in the Klang Valley is here to stay. To the RAPID management which is responsible for the above mentioned light rail system, do not be dismayed. You, have in fact run a fantastic and wonderful service, as a whole!

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Lampu Depan Kenderaan HID Sah Di Gunakan Di Malaysia

Posted on October 17th, 2014

Soal samada lampu depan kenderaan jenis “H.I.D” (High Intensity Discharge) sah digunakan di Malaysia ataupun tidak sudah lama dipertikaikan. Lampu jenis tersebut di atas atau “xenon” telah digunakan dengan “leluasa” pada masa kini.

Untuk pengetahuan para pembaca blog ini, saya merupakan penceramah Kursus Pendidikan Pemandu atau K.P.P buat lebih daripada 20 tahun. Masih tertingat saya, sewaktu dilawat oleh seorang “perinyu” dari pejabat JPJ Negari Selangor, saya telah menanya pegawai tersebut di atas suatu soalan.

Saya ingin tahu daripada pegawai tinggi Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan tersebut, kenapa “lampu depan kenderaan jenis “xenon” ataupun “H.I.D” diizinkan pakai, manakala menurut peraturan ataupun undang-undang jalanraya, hanya lampu-lampu jenis “kekuningan” saja yang sah digunakan.

Selanjutnya, saya juga menyoal, kenapa tiada tindakan tegas diambil terhadap pemandu-pemandu yang menggunakan lampu “haram” itu?
Pegawai tinggi JPJ itu sebenarnya tidak dapat memberi jawapan yang memuaskan. Kebetulannya, beliau mengulas: “Lampu jenis ini dipakai oleh anak-anak pegawai tingggi serta golongan kerabat. Jadi, macammana pula tindakan dapat dijalankan?

Sepertimana saya telah ulaskan awal-awal lagi, lampu-lampu “xenon” ataupun “H.I.D” yang bercorak putih pelepah dan mengganggu penglihatan pemandu-pemandu lain, sudah menimbulkan pertikaian di kalangan pemandu-pemandu di Malaysia lama lagi.

Pihak Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan telah membuat keputusan mengeluarkan penjelasan melalui suatu artikel yang berjudul “Lampu-lampu Jenis H.I.D Yang Diluluskan Sah Digunakan.” Artikel tertera di atas, disiarkan di suratkhabar The Star bertarikh Khamis 12hb Januari, 2012.

Sehingga kini sebenarnya, tiada siapapun yang mengetahui tentang penggunaan lampu depan “xenon” ataupun “H.I.D” di negara kita. Samada ianya “haram” mahupun “sah” tidak diketahui.

Artikel yang saya merujuk di atas kebetulannya dikeluarkan oleh Ketua Pengarah, Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan, iaitu Datuk Solah Mat Hassan sendiri.

Sekurang-kurangnya, dengan keluaran artikel tertera di atas, orang-orang awam, khasnya para pemandu, kini menyedari akan kedudukan lampu-lampu jenis ini di negara kita.

Terlebih dulu, pihak JPJ menasihatkan sebenarnya terdapat 2 jenis lampu depan “bermasalah” yang digunakan di Malaysia pada ketika ini.

Apakah lampu-lampu tersebut pada sebenarnya? Lampu-lampu tersebut adalah:-

i. Lampu-lampu depan H.I.D yang dipasang di kilang-kilang pemasang kenderaan yang disifatkan sebagai “original”.
ii. Lampu-lampu H.I.D yang lumrahnya dipasang oleh kedai-kedai “assessori” di luar.

Orang-orang awam harus diperingatkan bahawa yang lampu-lampu jenis kedua merupakan “haram” ataupun “tidak sah” ataupun “salah” di segi perundangan negara.

Sekurang-kuranya, para pemandu-pemandu Malaysia kini tahu akan kedudukan lampu tersebut di negara kita.
Saya berpendapat bahawa, pemandu-pemandu termasuk saya sendiri, tidak akan marah terhadap penggunaan lampu depan jenis ini, mulai sekarang.

Dalam artikel keluaran Datuk Solah, beliau telah menegaskan iaitu sebanyak 269 kenderaan pelbagai jenis telahpun diluluskan oleh pejabat beliau untuk menggunakan lampu-lampu jenis H.I.D. Walau bagaimanapun, ini tidak bermakna, empunya kenderaan lain boleh mengejar ke kedai-kedai “assessor” untuk mula memasang lampu-lampu jenis “H.I.D”.

Ketua Pengarah JPJ bertambah lagi bahawa kesemua Kenderaan-kenderaan baru atau “model” harus melepaskan pemeriksaan “VTA” ataupun pemeriksaan Vehicle Type Approval terlebih dulu.

Pihak JPJ menerangkan, iaitu pemeriksaan VTA bertujuan menentukan bahawa sesuatu kenderaan itu telahpun mematuhi kepada kehendak-kehendak “antarabangsa”, khasnya sekali kehendak-kehendak UNECE serta peraturan-peraturan yang termaktub dalam “Vehicle Technical Regulation”.

Sayugia diperingatkan bahawa, Malaysia mempunyai peraturan-peraturannya tersendiri yang diubahsuaikan.
Pemeriksaan “VTA” merangkumi pemeriksaan apa sebenarnya?

Dalam usaha tersebut di atas, para pengawai Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan akan memeriksa dengan teliti secara fizikal sesuatu model kenderaan serta tanda-tandanya berdasarkan kepada:-

i. Sijil-sijil yang disertakan, serta
ii. Laporan-laporan ujian yang disertakan yang dilampirkan oleh pengeluar-pengeluar kereta untuk kesemua komponen-komponen kenderaan. Ini termasuk lampu hadapan jenis H.I.D juga.

Hanya lampu-lampu depan H.I.D yang mencapai mutu UNECE akan ditawarkan sijil-sijil R48, R98 ataupun R99. Ini bererti bahawa kenderaan-kenderaan tersebut talah melulus ujian VTA yang diperlu.

Sepertimana dinyatakan pada awal-awalnya, kenderaan-kenderaan lain yang dipasang dengan lampu-lampu jenis H.I.D, kemungkinan tidak selamat ataupun “bahaya” untuk diguna. Selain daripada menimbulkan masalah penglihatan kepada pemandu-pemandu di jalanraya, soalan keselmatan kepada para pengguna juga harus dipertimbangkan.

Pihak JPJ juga berkata, tindakan-tindakan terhadap penggunaan lampu depan jenis H.I.D sentiasa dijalankan.
Kepada soalan bahawa pihak JPJ menjalankan operasi ke atas pekedai-pekedai “assessori” yang memasang lampu-lampu jenis H.I.D, Tuan Ketua Pengarah mengulaskan, tindakan ini terletak di luar kuasa pejabatnya.

Walau bagaimanapun, Ketua Pengarah bertambah, orang-orang awam yang mempunyai sebarang komplain terhadap penggunaan lampu depan H.I.D bolehlah menghubungi pejabatnya untuk tindakan diambil terhadap mereka yang bersalah. Yang bersalah akan diheret ke pejabat JPJ untuk tindakan-tindakan yang sewajar.

Pengulasan terbaru Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan nampaknya telahpun mengkikiskan pendapat salah di kalangan para pemandu Malaysia. Orang awam, saya berpendapat, berada di kedudukan yang lebih nyata mengenai konsepsi penggunaan lampu depan jenis H.I.D ataupun “xenon” di negara ini.

Masyarakat atau orang-orang awam blog ini saya percaya, sudah tentu hendak menyampaikan perasaan terima kasih kepada pihak Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan yang sudi memberi pengulasan yang manfaat berhubung dengan lampu-lampu H.I.D ataupun “xenon”.

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Commercial Vehicles Inspection By Puspakom

Posted on August 27th, 2014

The public may or may not be aware, vehicles used by both driving schools or institutes in the country, has to undergo a 6 month inspection exercise. Infact, all commercial vehicles such as taxis, lorries, trailers, buses and vans amongst others, are inspected by the PUSPAKOM authorities and as has been said, once in 6 months. Small vehicles, like motorcars are charged RM50 for the first inspection. If the above should fail its initial test, subsequently, it would be charged RM25.

Previously, inspection exercises were as a matter of fact, conducted by the Road Transport Department or Jabatan Pengangkutan Jalan. But as responsibilities and duties of the RTD increased, the department had no alternative, but to privatize or outsource the duty of inspecting commercial vehicles to PUSPAKOM.

The PUSPAKOM authorities today, has inspection centres all over the country. In Selangor alone, this blog writer is aware that PUSPAKOM has inspection centres in such places as Wangsa Maju, Padang Jawa, near Klang and Sungai Mangis, near Banting. All commercial vehicles are issued with a Puspakom discs after every stringent inspection.

These discs are then compulsorily attached to the front windscreens of all commercial vehicles, such as lorries, trailers, buses, vans and driving school vehicles, for the perusal and inspection of both the police and Road Transport authorities which conducts road blocks. Heavy fines are imposed upon vehicles which fail to adhere to such inspections.

Why are the 6 monthly compulsory inspections imposed upon commercial vehicles?

According to the Transport Department, it is believed that such vehicles have to be in good, mechanical conditions in order for accidents to be prevented. As one knows, Malaysia is reputed to possess one of the highest rate of accidents in the world. Such being the case, it is impertinent that such inspection exercises are indeed extremely necessary.

Before proceeding any further with this article, permit me to inform you what are the necessary documents that has to brought along during a PUSPAKOM inspection exercise. Ideally, remember to bring along:
a. The vehicle registration card
b. A letter of authority from the driving institute or school to which you belong
c. The previous inspection exercise result issued by the PUSPAKOM authority

Some representatives of driving schools or institutes in the Klang district prefer to take their vehicles for inspection exercises to the Padang Jawa Puspakom centre. Others, on the other hand, seem to like sending their vehicles to the Sungai Manggis inspection centre, near Banting.

For my vehicle’s latest inspection exercise, my colleague, a Mr. Bala, chose to take the vehicle to Sungai Manggis, near Banting.
Incidentally, my colleague, Bala was paid RM50 for his services.

All in all, my 1998 old Kancil, which instructor uses for providing driving tuition to students, underwent 2 inspections before it finally passed its inspections exercise.

For the 2nd inspection, my colleague Bala, was again paid a further RM50 for his services and RM 25 for the inspection exercise.
What should a vehicle being sent for an inspection undergo prior to being presented for PUSPAKOM’s inspection exercise?

I will inform you what he had to do. Other instructors may have to do things which might be different. It depends actually on the condition of your vehicle itself. All in all, one has to spend at least RM400- 500 to carry out repairs, servicing the vehicle and may be even changing a new set of tyres for the vehicle.

Inspection fees at the PUSPAKOM centre can easily total RM150, while runner expenses can easily come to another RM150.
A moderate calculation for the entire inspection exercise could come to a total of at least RM 600- 700.

What repairs needed to be done to the vehicle in question?

Firstly, obviously the brakes, both the front and the rear, hard to be checked and dust had to be removed. At times, certain brakes were infact jammed or leaking brake oil. Brake pads were most of the time worn out. They had to be replaced.

Secondly, certain ball joints were found to be worn out. This time around, the left wheel bearing was founded to be in poor condition. It was infact humming. On top of that, the connecting rod, was also found to be in unsatisfactory condition. This also had to be replaced.

Besides all of the above, the vehicle also had to have its front tyres replaced and also balanced. After that, the ‘alignment also had to be checked.

When all of the above had been carried out, the vehicle finally had to be sent for servicing at a nearby Mobil Petrol Service outlet. It costs RM20 per service these days. It should be reiterated that PUSPAKOM officials will check the cassis number and the engine numbers as well during the inspection exercise.

There are also other aspects of the vehicle that has to be checked as well. Signages, L signs, brake lights, indicators, 3rd brake lights, wipers, and the instructor’s emergency brake, ought to be checked as well.

At approximately 11.00a.m., the vehicle for inspection was finally sent by my colleague, Mr. Bala to PUSPAKOM’s inspection centre in Sungai Manggis, Banting.

And what was the result? Unfortunately, the Kancil FAILED the first, initial test.

What caused the above vehicle to fail its test?

PUSPAKOM in reality subjects a driving school car to a 5 point check. Amongst the things which is checked includes:
i. Checking its cassis and engine numbers
ii. The conditions of a vehicle’s brake system
iii. Its suspension system, especially the front portion of the vehicle
iv. Its alignment system
v. Over all vehicle conditions

It should be reiterated here that, a driving school vehicle is not checked for its engine condition as it is a petrol driven vehicle. The condition of its exhaust system, including pollution problems, only pertains to diesel driven vehicles!
Readers would like to know what aspects of inspection did my Kancil fail.

The Kancil, my friend Bala told me, failed in the following aspects during inspection.
It failed:-
i. Its alignment test. The JPJ felt its ‘alignment test conducted by private tyre shops or outlets, were not done satisfactorily.
ii. The left hand side front suspension system was discovered to be in poor or weak condition. Therefore it had to be rectified.
iii. Surprisingly, although the vehicle was sent for servicing earlier, the engine was found to be in dirty condition. The officials were unable to decipher to its failure eventually.

The afternoon after the Kancil failed its initial test, this instructor went to a 2nd hand spare parts outlet in Padang Jawa, Klang to secure an imported suspension part. It costs the author RM50. A new suspension set would have easily cost RM 150 at the least.
My current mechanic, Ah Siang, whose workshop is located at 2nd mile, Jalan Kapar, Klang, took nearly half an hour to assemble the 2nd hand suspension system onto my car. And what was the price I had to pay for the job done? RM 20 only!

After that the mechanic advised me I had to send the vehicle for alignment purposes. The alignment exercise, which I did at my usual tyre outlet at Simpang Empat, near Telok Pulai, Klang, costs me RM 10.

After all repairs had been done to the Kancil, the vehicle was once again sent to the service station to have its engine washed for a second time, in preparation for the Kancil’s second inspection date with PUSPAKOM, which was scheduled for Monday.

Even though the Kancil passed its suspension test the 2nd time around, it failed PUSPAKOM’s engine number test again. According to officials, they were still unable to see the engine number clearly. This led to the vehicle being sent to a nearby service centre outside PUSPAKOM’s inspection centre to have its engine washed again.

It was only after the 3rd inspection that the Kancil finally passed its inspection test!

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