“I Took The Klang Valley MRT On The First Day & Here’s How It Went”
The first phase of the Mass Rapid Transit Sungai Buloh-Kajang Line (MRT SBK) opened today, meaning another (potentially) viable option for urban folk to get around the Klang Valley.
I was stoked as not only I lived nearby an MRT station, my office – notorious for the lack of parking space and exorbitant parking fees – also neighboured another MRT station. Lucky me!
Imagine all the money I will be saving taking the train, especially with the free rides for the first month! So, here’s what went down on the first day the MRT started operation.
I arrived at the Mutiara Damansara station at 10.40am but surprisingly there weren’t that many commuters around. First-day blues, perhaps?
As the MRT SBK Phase 1 is free until January 17, 2017, I skipped the ticket machines and headed straight to the appropriate platform.
My destination was Semantan which was five stations away and it only took me 10 minutes to get to the office.
The ride was pretty uneventful – which in this case, is a good thing. However, my colleagues who took the train during lunch time had a bit of a hiccup coming back, where the train stopped at the TTDI station for about 10 minutes before resuming the ride.
I guess problems would crop up here and there during the first month, and hopefully by the time commuters start paying their fares, all these issues would be smoothen out.
Once the fares kick in, commuters can either pay using their Touch ‘n Go card or pay for a one-way journey or concession token.
However, even with the fare I would see significant savings taking the MRT to work:
Toll: RM6 per day x 20 = RM120
Waiting time between trains were also not long, a few minutes apart from each other. The ride was smooth and the cabins are spacious, wider than those on the LRT, which is great for wheelchair users.
There is also the usual priority seating for pregnant women, the elderly and people with disabilities.
Still a work in progress
What I found annoying, however, was the lack of information among staff when it came to the MRT SBK weekly and monthly passes and the MRT SBK Touch ‘n Go card.
Sure, the first month is free but as a regular commuter, it would have been helpful if they were able to furnish me with details on price differences, if any, between the passes and the MRT Touch ‘n Go card or even between an MRT one and a regular one.
They also didn’t know when the MRT Touch ‘n Go cards would be rolled out. These features are promoted in the brochure, so I assumed some detailed information would be readily available. Guess, we’ll have to wait.
And speaking of amenities, not all stations are equally designed. While all of them have washrooms and prayer rooms, the parking bays and bicycle racks are available at selected stations. At writing time, the parking facility at Phileo Damansara is still under construction.
At the Mutiara Damansara station, only one shop was open while none were open in Semantan – including that 7-11 (it was only open later in the day), leaving me briefly overjoyed as I wanted to buy a bottle of mineral water only to be crushed when I got closer to it and saw that it wasn’t open. My only guess is that most shops were still closed due to renovation works.
The MRT SBK line runs from 6am to midnight from Monday to Friday and 6am to 11pm on Saturday and Sunday. Feeder bus services operate from 5.30am to 11.30pm from Monday to Sunday with fares set to RM1 per trip.
On the first day, feeder buses at the Bukit Utama station had a long queue during lunch time, as reported by my colleagues.
MRT and feeder bus discounts are available for people with disabilities, senior citizens and students. Children under 7 years old travel free on both MRT and feeder bus.
Despite the slightly bumpy first day experience, the MRT will definitely benefit a lot of commuters who are sick of being stuck in traffic every day. I certainly saved on travel time here. My usual drive to the office via the Penchala Link is roughly around 20 minutes but with the MRT, I save 10 minutes. I would definitely continue to use the MRT even when the fare is implemented because I will be saving so much more time and money!