Ipoh Railway Station was deserted for quite some time until the shuttle train service was started between Ipoh and Kuala Lumpur about three years ago. When the Electric Train Service with a travelling time of about two hours between the two cities was introduced more than a year ago, it has become the most popular mode of transport. Though the fare is higher than that of the express buses, people prefer to travel by train because it is much safer and comfortable.
Each train has a capacity for more than 300 passengers and there are six services daily in each direction. On the average some 2,000 passengers pass through the station daily on weekdays and the number is higher on weekends. However, there has been no increase in the availability of parking spaces in front of the station. Customers going to the Main Post Office also use this parking area. The parking bays in front of the station are reserved for KTMB staff.
The pickup area is congested. Most of the time there is double parking and at peak times triple parking to pick up the passengers. The pickup area is not properly demarcated. Taxis are parked in front of the area without drivers, causing traffic jams. At any time, cars are parked haphazardly all over the place, making it inconvenient for all drivers.
Shafruddin Nasution, Chairman, Rukun Tettanga, Lim Garden said that he goes to the station frequently to pick up his daughter. He has no choice, but to park illegally. Another regular traveller, K. Sagadevan, Secretary, Malaysian Indian Business Association said that it is convenient for him to travel by train to KL for his business trips, but is frustrated by the congestion. Jessie Tan, an Accounts Manager goes to the station to drop and pick up relatives and said that she always encounters parking problems and has to wait for a long time to get a parking space. She added that taxis are only available when trains arrive; at other times there are no taxis.
The road in front of the station is one-way traffic and after dropping off a passenger, if a person has to return to take care of senior citizens boarding the train, then he must drive all the way to the front of SMI School along Jalan S.P. Seenivasagam and make a U-turn. It would be convenient if a mini roundabout is built at the junction of Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab so that motorists can return to the station easily or alternatively an additional lane can be built along this road whereby drivers coming out of the station can turn right and return to the station.
The rear entrance to the station from Regat Tun Perak (Jelf Road) is not being utilised. There is a subway leading to the front of the station. The entrance to the subway is a simple structure with no signboard. People are unfamiliar with this and good signage would be helpful.
There is ample parking space around. Regat Tun Razak is a bypass road and few vehicles use it. Even at Platform1 in the station there is no signboard pointing to the subway. It is essential that KTMB publicise this entrance. Residents staying on the other side of the railway line can use this entrance and avoid the traffic jam. People are wary of using subways and security guards and cameras must be placed at both entrances and it must be well lit.
The minimum taxi fare from the station is RM10. A shuttle bus service should be introduced between Medan Kidd and the station. Also buses travelling along Jalan Panglima Bukit Gantang Wahab should pass through the station. If there are frequent bus services people would use it and the parking problem would be eased.
The only people who are happy with the situation are the MBI parking attendants who are very prompt in their issuance of summons for vehicles illegally parked.
We have a state-of-art train service, but the infrastructure is lacking. I urge the Mayor to turun padang and see for himself the situation and come up with a permanent solution. To get a true picture he must visit the place without forewarning.