Selangor Mobility initiative helps ease last-mile connectivity issues

Azmi Hussain had a big smile on his face as he greeted passengers alighting vans in front of the Light Rapid Transit (LRT) station in Jelatek, Ampang.

The four vans that service the 8-10km radius near that station are part of the Selangor Mobility initiative, introduced last June, to improve public transportation accessibility and last-mile connectivity.

Besides Ampang, the other areas are Gombak, Selayang, Puchong, Universiti Putra Malaysia (UPM) Serdang, Hulu Kelang and Bangsar South.

The Selangor government is concentrating on locations where there is high demand, with narrow roads, and in densely populated areas. It will add more locations soon.

The state is trying to improve the infrastructure by adding bus stops, micro-mobility options, and e-scooters. The Ampang route started last month.

“How was the journey? Good? Do tell your friends about us,” said Azmi.

“Many were surprised when we started. Some were sceptical that it was so cheap, but now we have repeat customers.

“The six drivers work for four days and get two days off. Our service starts at 7am, and the last ride ends at 9pm. I am confident we will get many more customers soon, said Azmi when met recently.

Azmi and his friends can also bank on customers from Datum Jelatek Shopping Centre, directly opposite the station.

For the record, it only costs RM2 per person to ride the van from the Jelatek Station to the Gleneagles Hospital bus stop. E-hailing rides cost between RM5 and RM7.

To book a ride, passengers must download a mobile application – Trek Rides – choose your point of origin, destination, and the number of passengers. Payment is via your existing e-wallet, or you can add a debit or credit card.

The vans will depart the station even if there is only one passenger.

“Once you make a booking, we will take you to your destination. We will not wait until we have a full van,” said a driver who wanted to be known as Zalee.

“But if there is another booking along the route, we will ask permission from the passenger before we pick up the next person.

“Because we only drive in an 8-10km radius, your waiting time for a ride is quite fast.”

Zalee added that the drivers receive a salary and allowances from the Selangor government.

“I am grateful for the opportunity. I have a good job, although there are times we are stuck in traffic,” he said.

“I get to meet passengers who are appreciative of our service. They also like the fact that we work weekends.

“Ramadan is coming, and I am sure we will be extra busy before the breaking of fast as many would want to go home earlier.”

After trying out the service last Tuesday, I am considering commuting via LRT instead of driving.

The travelling time was about the same as driving, and it would be cheaper if I bought the My50 unlimited monthly travel pass. The bonus would be in avoiding the morning and evening traffic, tolls, and paying less for petrol.

Of course, there will be days when driving would be inevitable, but hey, at least I have an option.

NATIONAL CRAFT DAY

Tomorrow is the final day of the National Craft Day at Kuala Lumpur Craft Complex in Jalan Conlay, Kuala Lumpur. This year’s carnival involves 640 artists who work with textiles, metal, and wood.

There will be a ‘Weaving Technique’ workshop tomorrow, while other attractions include batik colouring, sculpting, and ceramic painting.

PAINT A PANGOLIN WORKSHOP

Interested in art while learning a bit about animal conservation? Get ready for a fun-filled learning experience with the Paint a Pangolin workshop, held in collaboration with wildlife artist Christine Das, better known as Ele-girl.

The event will be held at Da Men Mall next Saturday, March 9, from 2pm, at BookXcess.

Contact Eric at 012-9303798 for registration.

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