KUALA LUMPUR: MRT commuters could barely contain their excitement as the clock ticked close to 3pm as groups of people crowded around the 12 new MRT stations that opened for service. People with disabilities (PWDs) are glad they can now travel beyond their residential areas through the MRT network, which is optimised to be as barrier-free as possible.
Kepong Beautiful Gate Foundation for the Disabled coordinator, Kenneth Thien, is glad that stations along the Putrajaya MRT line are PWD-friendly.
“So far, the facility is PWD-friendly except the bus service, which can be improved.
“The gap between the platform and the train is tight enough, thus making it easier for wheelchair users to enter and exit the coach,” he told The Star yesterday.
Thien said eight of the foundation members came to check out the train stations and survey their friendliness for the disabled community.
“Previously, the PWDs from here only could spend their time within Kepong (a suburban area in Kuala Lumpur) because there was no public transportation (accessible for PWDs) for us to move around.
“But now with the new MRT, it has changed that situation and we can go further than Kepong,” Thien said, adding that he was thankful to the government for the facility.
Another foundation member, Ow Wai Seng, feels that the facilities are convenient and friendly for those with special needs.
“So far, I am satisfied with the facilities. We will go off in one of the stations and will try the services there, hopefully it is equally good,” he said when met on the train en route to Kwasa Sentral.
Retiree Letchumi Muniandy, 65, said the MRT would shorten her travel time and provide convenience.
“Previously, I took the bus to move around, but sometimes, it would take a lot of time.
“It’d take an hour or more by bus, but with the new MRT, it will be shorter,” she said.
Letchumi also said she was happy to hear the Prime Minister’s announcement of free rides for virtually all trains and buses in the Klang Valley.
“It’s good for everyone, including the elderly,” she added.
Another senior citizen, KL Oon has been waiting for the Kampung Batu station near his house to open for the past few years.
“I’m a frequent public transport user because it’s very convenient for me.
“Even for this line, I waited over an hour for it to open, and now, I will just enjoy a fun ride and look around to see where the line ends,” he said.
He expressed his satisfaction over the public transport facilities in Malaysia, and suggested that railways to follow the schedule so that more Malaysians are able to plan their journey accordingly.
“I hope the government will maintain a reasonable price for the fare to help people, especially the B40 group,” said Oon.
Yesterday also marked the first time that Nashariman Muhammad Sariff, 41, is bringing his two children for a train ride.
“I am grateful for the one month free ride that was announced. It gives an opportunity for families to spend time with their children,” he said.
The engineer is looking forward to Phase 2 of the Putrajaya line to begin operations as it will help him to commute from his residence in Taman Batu Permai to KLCC.
“I usually travel by car, but traffic is getting bad. With the new line, it will really help me to plan my journey to work,” he said.
Soh Jun Han, 20, said the new line was convenient for students like him.
“I didn’t catch the news about the one-month free ride … it’s a good move by the government,” he said.