Monday, December 19, 2011

The Seremban Experiment - Part 1

All the hoohah and hoolabaloo...
Ah Wai Kor, my numero Uno honcho had requested for an article about train commuting and bringing folding bikes into the coach.
Seems that his Brompton-riding hair-stylist/photographer/adventurer friend had a run-in with the station master about bringing a bike into the train.
He gave the task to investigate and publish an article based on this to our The Star's Star Cyclist. 
Way I see it, Ah Wai Kor is a high-profile guy.
Even his hair-stylist/photographer/adventurer friend is presumed as a high-flyer.
So, when you add the high-flying lifestyle, lots of money in the pocket, you get instant attitude.
Like I said in my piece on the RapidKL Foldie Ride: Some people are just fucking assholes. 
They could not take "NO" for an answer.
And just because they have a little bit of money, they thing the whole world owes them a fucking living.
It would be nicer if you are courteous.
And for this, credit is due to cycling and train commuting guru Mr Bil Choy who advocates sharing with other train commuters.
Choy encourages his fellow foldies to bag their bikes and lead a good example. 


But, but, butts... 
There are folding bike owners out there who thinks they know EVERYTHING.
From my earlier experience with KTMB's station masters, there's never been an issue boarding an intercity train or the KTM Komuter with a folding bicycle. 
Just as long as you bag it and make ample space for other people to share the coach, everything is good.
Some foldies got turned away when the wheel their bikes right into the station. 
They want to board with the entire bike deployed.
This is just unacceptable.. 


Waiting for my ride this morning..
I get annoyed when people give me half-assed information.
As for the cyclists, there has been run-ins where some idiots had tried to board the Komuter with their Mountain and Road bikes.
Instead, the KTM charges RM10 each on a single passage for oversized luggage.
I think this is very fair for the benefit of other Komuter passengers.


The Seremban experiment...
I wanted to dispel the hype and myth that you cannot travel on a KTM Komuter with your folding bikes, so, I embarked on a journey to Seremban from Subang Jaya with a transit in KL Sentral.
For this, I brought my trusty little Dahon Curve SL.
To me, 16" wheeled bikes are just perfect for train commuting. They don't take up a lot of space in the train.
So, I bagged my Curve SL with a Dahon carry on cover and walked into the KTM station in Subang Jaya. 
None of the KTM staff actually stopped me from entering the station to board a train to KL Sentral.
I've also made prior arrangements with Melvin Tang from Strida Bikes Malaysia to meet up in the transit hub and travel together to Seremban....


Carrying a foldie into a train ain't practical...
It was supposed to be off-peak period at 09:30am, but boy, I was wrong.
The Komuter coach arrived just in time and as I boarded, I had to stand close to the door so that I could get out easily.
Right beside me, there was this lovey-dovey couple. The guy, a fugly Ah Beng had made an unsavoury remark about my oversized bag.
Well fuck him! My focus was to get to KL Sentral without the carry on cover ripped to pieces.
Even at 09:30am, the coach was packed to the brim.
It felt like I was taking a train in Bandung, Indonesia, rather than a local electric train.
The ratio is roughly at 80% foreigners and 20% locals. Seems that the people here in the Klang Valley prefer their RapidKL LRTs rather than the Komuters.
With a large bag, I had to keep my eyes on the backpack that I was carrying.
If you move too far into the coach, you might lose the opportunity to get out at your destination.
And the people who commute would rather stay at the entrance of the train rather than filling up the entire coach. 
I learn that if you want to commute with a train and carry your bike, be prepared for the worse!


Alienation: The Komuter is a foreign worker magnet
It worked, and I am halfway there.. 
The KTM Komuter is a cheap way to get around from townships in fringe of Klang, Subang Jaya and Petaling Jaya.
My fare from Subang Jaya's Komuter station to KL Sentral costs RM1.60 one-way.
It takes about 30-minutes to get to the main station and on a day where the train is packed, pray hard for getting a decent standing room! 


With Melvin at KL Sentral

PROOF: Me and my lil Dahon in its carry on cover
The slow ride..
I met Melvin at Sentral and purchased a ticket to Seremban for RM6 one-way.
Other than paying at the vending machines (never accepts paper currency), you can either get a ticket from the sales booth or use your Toch 'n Go card.
Melvin opted to go cashless while I purchased my ticket over the counter.
We found some space at the front section of the Komuter and had a long chat while the train was hauling us down to Seremban.
I told him that if we pack our bikes properly, there won't be any issues at all about traveling around the Klang Valley and beyond with a KTM Komuter.
So far, we have not been chased out of the train or gotten ourselves in trouble by bringing our bikes into the train...


After an hour-long ride, we reached our destination...

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