Growing old waiting for a bus
CHERAS: Time weighs heavily on the hands of hundreds of senior citizens and pensioners in as many as 10 housing estates in Cheras.
As if growing old isn't bad enough, they also have to suffer long waits for public transport and endure long journeys just to get to a post office or a bank.
The public transport system in areas in Cheras, including Taman Koperasi Cuepacs Batu 71/2, is pathetic, say some pensioners who live there.
To make matters worse, it's 10km to the nearest post office and bank where they collect their pensions every month.
Civil servant pensioner S. Mylvaganam, 67, said residents have been facing problems with the RapidKL bus services for three years.
"The RapidKL buses do ply our neighbourhood but we have to walk a long distance to the nearest bus stop. Once there, we have to wait for almost an hour for a bus.
"Even then the bus that plies our area (RapidKL U405) only stops at Taman Segar bus stop; we have to board another bus to go to the nearest bank or even to town," he said.
Mylvaganam, who moved into the area 10 years ago, said there are no banks or other public amenities near his housing estate and the other nine neighbouring areas.
"Is it too much to ask for these amenities to be provided nearer our homes? Many residents here are pensioners and elderly people. These amenities should be built nearby so people need not travel far."
He pointed out that some shoplots in Taman Alam Jaya, close to Taman Cuepacs, are vacant. "Why can't the authorities allow these premises to be used for post offices or encourage banks to move in there? It will make life so much easier for us who have served the government for a long time."
Mylvaganam said the nearest Bank Simpanan Nasional where civil servants' pension money can be withdrawn is in Taman Suntex, more than 2km from Taman Cuepacs.
There is no bus service to Taman Suntex and residents have to take taxis there. Mylvaganam said errant cabbies sometimes refuse to accept passengers because the journey was too short, and the fare too little.
"For old folks like us, 3km is not a short distance. Even the closest government clinic is about 3km from my taman.
"It is all right for those who have grown-up children living with them. The children can drive them to these places. But it is difficult for others who have to fend for themselves," he said.
In response, RapidKL official said the irregular bus service in certain areas was due to the traffic congestion in the city centre. "With such bad traffic conditions we cannot provide an accurate scheduling of bus services. We also need more buses to ply a wider area."
He said RapidKl was in the midst of rescheduling its bus routes and Cheras would be among the areas looked into.
Mylvaganam added that his neighbourhood was also badly affected by mosquitoes.
"Although the drains were cleared recently by the Kajang Municipal Council, this has not ended the mosquito menace.
"I hope the municipal council will carry out regular fogging in Taman Cuepacs. One never knows when dengue could break out," he said.
Council public relations officer Shahril Zapkah said council health workers had been conducting daily fogging in all areas under its jurisdiction.
"We have about 500 residential areas in Kajang and fogging has been scheduled for each area. However fogging itself is not the best solution; the mosquitoes will become immune if the pesticide is used too frequently."
He urged the residents to write to the council to organise gotong-royongs in their neighbourhood to deal with the mosquitoes.