LRT collision, dark episode in country’s public transport system

LRT collision, dark episode in country’s public transport system

PETALING JAYA: The collision involving two trains on the Kelana Jaya Light Rail Transit (LRT) line which was the first such incident in the system’s 23 years of operation has become the dark episode in the country’s public transport history.

Described as the country’s worst rail disaster, the 8.45pm collision on May 24 which occurred in a tunnel between the KLCC LRT Station and Kampung Baru LRT Station has resulted in 260 people injured including 47 with serious injuries.

To make matters worse, the incident happened when the country was facing COVID-19 wave infections, increasing the burden of frontliners, especially in hospitals that were struggling to cope with the surge in new cases.

The incident which was caused by, among others, technical problems has made many realised that despite train travel has been considered as one of the safest modes of transportation, accidents can still occur.

It also added to the challenges facing public transport operators in their efforts to restore public confidence in the safety of their services after experiencing a 40 per cent reduction in passenger ridership during the start of the pandemic.

Following that, the Ministry of Transport, which had established a special investigation panel team to determine the cause of the crash, has proposed 23 recommendations to improve the operational and safety aspects of LRT services as well as prevent such incidents from recurring.

The incident also saw the family of a critically injured passenger sent a letter of demand to Prasarana Malaysia Berhad demanding RM1.8 million in damages for negligence.

This is followed by the termination of Datuk Seri Tajuddin Abdul Rahman as Prasarana chairman effective May 26, two days after the incident.

Another incident involving the LRT service occurred on July 26 when the doors of a train remained open while in operation. However, no injuries were reported in the incident

Three days later, on July 29, a Bangladeshi construction worker was killed after the scaffolding at the LRT3 construction site in Bandar Bukit Tinggi, Klang collapsed.

The government continues to encourage the public to use public transport by introducing several initiatives including expanding the implementation of the My30 unlimited travel pass and through the launch of the the Keluarga Malaysia (Malaysian Family) Pass by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Ismail Sabri Yaakob.

The electric bus pilot project by the GoKL free bus service was also launched and started its operations on Nov 1 in Wangsa Maju as efforts towards carbon reduction in the federal capital by 2030. — Bernama