Yesterday I took a train home to Tanah Merah. I would have driven the car but then I need to service it first and then we would be back again in KL the day after so we've decided to take public transport instead.
I think it was close to a decade ago since I last took public transportation for a long distance journey. Something happened that make me loath to take another if I can help it. Our train ride costs RM30 each for adults and half price for children. We'd prefer the bunk beds but the bottom ones are always fully booked and we can't imagine ourselves sleeping in the confined top bunk. Plus the kids still have to pay even if we shared beds.
The train was punctual on departure and we boarded the train without any incidents. You are advised to dress warmly because it can get really cold inside the train, I mean like Siberia-cold, seriously. The 3rd class seats are slightly more cramped than the 2nd class seat where there's also a TV set in each coach although there's no guarantee that they are working. There's also individual rooms with double decker bunkers but that won't come cheap.
Now the toilet is relatively clean when you first board the train. However they will get extremely dirty with an unbearable stench towards the end of the ride. It's so bad, I'd rather hold myself for the final 2 hours of our journey than venture into the toilet. While the train comes on time for departure, arrival is another story. I don't know why but we arrived nearly 2 hours late at our destination.
And one more thing, be careful when putting your bags and stuff on the top compartment. I put my laptop bag there and 11 hours later my beautiful laptop is covered with inch-thick soot thanks to the diesel exhaust fume. Had to scrub it with alcohol cleaner to get rid of the dirt.
For the return trip, we choose to ride the bus since they are generally faster although the ticket price is cutthroat at 50 bucks. We're supposed to depart at 10:15 AM but the bus chooses to arrive fashionably late. So we had to enjoy breathing the fresh carbon monoxide gas at the bus station for that duration. When the bus did came, the driver offers no explanation nor did he apologize for his incompetence. And don't tell me it's because of traffic cause there's no such thing in Tanah Merah.
Most express buses, they have a designated resting place midway through the journey. These drivers had a deal with the restaurant owner where they get to eat for free and also supplied with a packet of cigarettes every time as a reward for bringing in the customers. The passengers cum customers will have no choice but to eat at the place if they're hungry and pay up for the usually expensive but sucky food and pray they don't get diarrhea.
It's not so much for the bad food and pricey food, it's the toilet that really pisses me off. All Transnasional bus to and from Kelantan must stop at this one eatery in Merapoh which has, without a doubt the most stinking toilets in the whole universe. I mean, its like they never cleaned the place ever.
Words cannot describe how disgusting I felt visiting this toilet. And still they had the audacity to charge everyone for visiting the pig sty in disguise. Seriously, putting this boy in charge of collection is a crime against humanity.
Given a choice, many people would rather not take the bus or similar land public transportation. Seats on trains are rather limited and booking or buying one online or at the counter can be a pain in one's behind. Buses on the other hand is quite expensive and notoriously prone to crashes compared to other modes of transportation. The thing is, some people don't have the luxury of personal transport so they have no choice but to ride the buses and trains and suffer all the inconveniences. Rather than wait helplessly for these public transportation to improve, many would rather pay a monthly installment for a car, get caught in crazy traffic jam than choose the former.