Moaz Yusuf Ahmad
The recent announcement of 1500 jobs at RapidKL probably caught many people by surprise and made many people highway. Coming in a time when the economic mood is sour and people are talking about retrenchment, hearing about 1500 jobs at RapidKL is a positive thing. Since a RapidKL bus drivers and executives can receive a base salary of RM2000 per month (plus daily allowance for bus drivers), working for RapidKL might be an attractive option.
It is also nice to see RapidKL acknowledging that they are understaffed and need to have more people to offer the service that the public expects. Conversations with junior and senior management, bus drivers and supervisors have made this apparent. RapidKL does not have enough drivers and mechanics to operate and maintain its fleet of buses.
One wonders how RapidKL could survive for so long if it were so severely understaffed. It might come as a surprise to the bus passengers who sit and wait at the terminals for 20-40 minutes while the bus drivers lepak and joke around, but it is true; RapidKL is very understaffed. And besides, after fighting through the traffic congestion of Malaysian roads, the drivers should take a break for safety.
The public expects RapidKL to stick to the promises that were made back in January 2006, when the service was first introduced. We can only hope that the increased numbers of staff will see improvements in service and in the operations and management of RapidKL. Excuses like “traffic is unpredictable so we cannot have bus schedules” are not acceptable when GPS and the ITIS are available. RapidKL must concentrate on picking the “low-hanging fruits” or fixing the problems that are easy to fix - delayed buses, pilferage from the farebox, and fare evasion - and improve service for the rakyat.
I also noted that RapidKL CEO Suffian Baharuddin made it clear that the jobs were open to OKU candidates and RapidKL would not discriminate against them. But the fact is that there is discrimination. RapidKL HQ is located in Lembah Subang in Petaling Jaya, at the end of the Kelana Jaya line which is accessible. Unfortunately, passenger service stops at Kelana Jaya, which is about 1km east of Lembah Subang. At that point, a person wishing to get to RapidKL HQ would have to get a taxi or wait for the T607 shuttle bus. Currently this bus is not an accessible one. There is another depot at Ampang LRT station but this is on the Ampang line which is not accessible at all.
I ask RapidKL CEO Suffian Baharuddin to please demonstrate his committment to hiring OKU employees by making sure that all of the buses serving RapidKL HQ and Ampang LRT station are fully-accessible and that all new buses purchased by RapidKL are fully accessible. He could also call for the Kelana Jaya line to be extended to Lembah Subang before the end of 2009 and that the Ampang LRT line be made fully accessible by 2012.
I (and I am sure, many others) await the response from RapidKL.