16 September 2006

2 wasted hours ...

2 wasted hours best describes the commute to and from work every weekday that I have to endure.

2 wasted hours each day makes 10 wasted hours each working week.
10 wasted hours each week makes 40 wasted hours each month.
40 wasted hours each month makes around 480 wasted hours each year.

480 wasted hours. Let's just imagine that there are 2 million car commuters like me around the Klang Valley. That makes 960 million wasted hours each year.

Even if my logic is oversimplified, no one can say the impact of traffic congestions in Malaysia isn't immense.

Each wasted hour could be spent either working, with the family, with friends, doing workouts or simply engaging in more meaningful activities than sitting in a car chugging around at speeds which cyclists would beat handily.

I suspect the will to solve the ever growing problem of traffic isn't really there.

  • Roads and highways are built, but they are sometimes tolled at prices that are not attractive. And as a result, they are highly under utilised. That serves no one - road users do not enjoy less congestion, and operators don't make any $$$.
  • How can we say we're trying to encourage public transportation and yet be producing national cars that are ever smaller and affordable?
  • How can it be that so many new highways are built with only 2 lanes? One accident in Damansara Uptown during the height of the peak hour will result in congestion all the way to Puchong.
  • Has anyone ever thought of where train stations REALLY should be located?
  • Does urban planning policies include traffic considerations? Why allow a suburb to have plenty of high rises without providing a sufficient road network and public transport?
  • Why are we making it so impossibly difficult for public transportation users? Has anyone ever thought of proper interchanges, uniform ticketing systems, and synchronizing the various modes of transport to get a synergy going?
  • If the reason why train stations can't be built at the best location is because there isn't any land, why was that tract of land sold in the first place for development? Why can't it be made compulsory to make developers to assign land tracts for transport hubs or centers? And although it's more expensive, why not build it underground, then?

I have a lot of questions, plenty of observations, and a heap of frustration. And I suspect there is a growing mass of Klang Valley residents who feel just like me.

I really want to support public transportation, but that option is not available to me. And again, I don't think I'm off the mark when I say that many people share the same sentiment.

I live in Bandar Kinrara. I work in Damansara. The obvious transportation option is to drive to work. Here's a simply elaboration why:-

There are no train stations in my neighbourhood. The nearest stations are at Kelana Jaya, and in Seri Petaling. And where I work in Damansara, the nearest train station is on Jalan Bangsar. So, I rule out train because I'll still need to drive (there isn't any feeder service I'm aware of to both stations from where I live), and park. And I still have to pay for the train, and feeder bus before I get to work. And I'd have to go through the same trouble coming back.

The timing of buses, location of stations (have to pay toll to get to them), parking (outdoor) and general inconvenience makes it an unattractive proposition.

There are no buses that go from Puchong to Damansara. Not even ones that snake around the city all day long before ending up in Damansara. So much for that choice.

I heard that trains are coming to Puchong. I'm hoping it will be properly planned - proper access roads - with ample bandwidth, proper parking facilities - hopefully covered and secured, and proper location - in an area which has plenty of population.

Too often in the past, stations are located where they are convenient to build - in places that have few considerations for parking, and are sometimes out of the way - how in the world would you encourage usage by making it so unattractive in the first place?

In the long run, by properly mapping train stations and facilities, synchronizing the trains with buses, and planning traffic as an important part of urban planning, there is yet hope.

Why my rant? Because I'm finding it impossible to manage my work and off work life when I lose 2 hours each day to traffic congestion. 2 hours is enough time to do a decent workout, for example, but I don't have time for that because I lost it to traffic. And that lost time creates a ripple thru the rest of the day. I can't do more work, find more time to workout and relax, find more time to blog, and really, I'm sacrificing some sleep too.

Granted, this is not a problem exclusive to Malaysia, but I feel we can do a much better job at improving the transportation system compared to what it is now.


commuter said...

Start complaining!


Luke the Office Angel said...

Yesterday during the evening downpour it took me 30 minutes to exit a basement parking near KLCC. Cars were backed up to basement 5. Normally it takes less than a minute to get out. There are just too many cars on the road. Most of them have only 1 occupant - the driver. Imagine 20,000 people leaving their offices in 20,000 cars all at the same time. Public transport's a joke. What choice do we have? Productivity down the drain just like rain water.

Che-Cheh said...

That's the way of life in Klang Valley. The transportation system won't change much in years to come because by then there will be more traffic jams even with the latest train/lrt links. I think our govt should limit the no. of cars crawling to the city center. Nowadays almost every household have 2 or more cars. This I'm telling from just a moderate income household earner.

moz monster said...

commuter: If only complaining works in this country.

luke: When I worked in KLCC, the rain was most dreaded - with the tunnel works in Sg. Besi lately, it appears that flash floods occur more frequently, causing massive jams.

che-cheh: It's chicken and egg, right? Government can't restrict cars coming into the city because they haven't provided a sufficient public transportation system.

Inevitable said...

The only pressure working in KL is not the work itself but the frustration travelling from home to the city.
Imagine I have to endure the same shit on daily basis to work and back home. Mana ada mood nak kerja huh?!

Fashionasia said...


moz monster said...

inevitable: Dude ... you're so right. I think there'll be so much less road rage if ppl just don't have to be stuck in traffic so much ...

fashionasia: Yalor ... Uncle Semi ... ada dengar ka tada ?