Tuesday, November 29, 2011

RapidKL Full Integration LRT Ticketing - An Unpleasant Experience of the Beautiful Kind

I normally use the overhead bridge from the CIMB bank opposite SOGO, which leads to the Ampang Line Bandaraya station, to get to the Bank Negara KTM Komuter station and had noticed a booth actively promoting MyRapid Cards.

Thinking nothing much about it as I do not use the either the Ampang or Kelana LRT lines regularly, you could say that I did not take any interest to find out more about what was being promoted and why.

I do use the Kelana line LRT from time to time, from the Wisma Jamek station to Bangsar where my younger sister stays but not too often as to require a season pass.

Today was one of those days.

As a routine to do my monthly banking chores, needing to cash out and bank in, using three banks, Bangsar was convenient as two banks were nearby my sisters place after I had checked my other bank balance at the Wisma Jamek or Bangsar LRT station.

Getting to the point, as said today was one of those days but unfortunately the ATM kiosk at Wisma Jamek was not accessible until I had purchased a ticket because it was now fenced in after the turnstile entrance.

It was about 7.15pm and the Mrs had called me earlier in the morning that she would be at my sister's house in Bangsar.

So no problem because I was going to get a ticket anyway and I proceeded to one of three new ticket dispensing machines two meters away, those that I also noticed at the Bandaraya Ampang line LRT station mentioned.

Waiting in queue and as fate would have it with no small change, only a ten ringgit bill, the electronic board on the machine at my line showed that it was for exact change only.

Glancing at the other two machines which the electronic board showed was for notes and shillings, I queued again at one of these two. In the meantime I had changed my ten ringgit note with another queue-ee for two 5 ringgit notes, just in case.

At my turn upon touching the screen, shit. At the bottom right of the screen were images of 100, 50, 10 and 5 ringgit bills marked with red "X" and 1 and 2 ringgit bills unmarked. What it meant was that the dispensing machine were only accepting 1 and 2 ringgit notes.

The person behind then said that I could get a ticket at the counter.

I was pissed by now and went over to the counter where there was another queue and directly to the counter personnel who was attending to the line of people purchasing tickets.

Knocking on the glass panel and speaking through a few small holes, I asked to see the Manager. The person at the counter just gave a cursory look at me and continued serving people. On a loud shout from me he just answered "sudah keluar" without any enquiry for my request.

You bet, I started to raise my voice. Okay, I was shouting to see the Manager. I am never one just accepting fate when fate frowns unfortunately. I will not take it sitting down or standing up.

In the midst of all this, along came a neatly dressed gentleman who politely asked me to calm down. I did not. Initially. I told the gentleman that nothing was right. That there were no signs around to guide people on an obvious new system. That even the dispensing machines were not accurately programmed. That in the front of my previous queue, an elderly lady had to get the person in front of her to assist to use the dispensing machine.

I told the gentleman that there should be some personnel at the machines to guide people.

He said that that was why he was there the past two hours to sort out issues.

This gentleman then apologised and told me that what had happened was unacceptable to him. He offered to help get my ticket. He asked my name and gave me his calling card.

I honestly had no intention to get any sort preference over others queueing.

I told the gentleman what I always tell many many others, we have everything in the world, in Malaysia. It is people that screw things up.

Saying that he understood me being upset and that he was looking into matters, he asked a Rapid staff to get me my ticket.

As it turned out it was a token, literally speaking. Like those parking tokens instead of tickets.

While waiting for the "ticket"* I looked at his calling card.

I apologised to the gentlement. I had no intention in making a big hue and cry. I said that sometiimes, in Malaysia, you need to shout to get attention.

I offered my hand with some degree of remorse.

At dinner I sent the gentleman an e-mail in thanks, praise and another apology for making such a row. He replied almost immediately saying that it was him that should apologise.

What was happening at all RapidKL stations, I found out advertently, was for this post. I guess I have not been in the loop.

RapidKL had yesterday started it's full integration of ticketing, for both the Ampang and Kelana lines which had a separate ticketing system for the last 12 years, two days ahead of schedule.

The New Straits Times reports Prasarana Group Managing Director, Dato' Shahril Mokhtar,
"I am happy to announce that response for the new AFC integrated ticketing system has been good.

"On that note, I would like to express my sincere thanks and gratitude to the commuters for their support and kind consideration.

"In this process of transition, there had been teething problems and congestion because of reduced gates as we need to keep both systems running.

"On behalf of Prasarana, I would like to offer my apologies."
Yes, there are some teething problems to overcome. I am absolutely sure it will be resolved. That, I have no doubt.

The ticket integration will be a success.

You see, when I read that polite and unassuming gentleman's business card, it was... Dato Shahril Mokhtar, Group Managing Director, Syarikat Prasarana Negara Berhad.

Syabas Dato. We need more people like you.

You have put some faith back in me, in the future of Malaysian public transport, what with me being a regular KTM Komuter commuter.

You are the kind of people who make me proud to be Malaysian, the beautiful kind.



You are more debonair in person than your Prasarana bio pic.

* corrected 1 Dec 2011


Dave Avran said...

Hahaha nice article, Freddie.
Only you would meet Dato Shahril
via such a circuitous route!

Good that you stood up for all the confused LRT commuters, and good that the Dato was hands on.

We need more people like you and him.

Always an educational experience reading your blog.

Freddie Kevin said...

Dear Dave,

Thanks and I was really remorseful in the manner that Dato managed the situation so professionally.

And I can also tell you I do not mince my words especially the times when I engage KTM Komuter and explanations were ridiculous.

By the way arrived to work JIT, KTM Komuter cancelled the scheduled trip, not surprisingly.

If you have an appointment NEVER use KTM Komuter.

Dato Shahril being on the ground has earned my utmost respect and admiration.