Thursday, 14 October 2010

Tollways

The paths of least resistance are fraught with toll plazas.

If you live where I do, tolls are a pain in the purse. You become adept at seeking routes that avoid them, often as the situation presents itself, unless of course you ride a motorbike, because you get free passage through these plazas, even if you are a rich Singaporean and ride one of those SUPER bikes..

And that's why sometimes, especially in the wedding season, you see convoys of kapchai bikes conquering the lanes of these tolled expressways, reducing them to paths of havoc and danger. When approaching these swarms, you carefully overtake them but still keep an eye on the mirrors in case someone decides to make a go at becoming the leader of the pack and overtakes everbody, including yourself, at top speed.

Once while driving on the fast lane I saw a rider speeding on the road shoulder simultaneously talking with his pal who was on another motorbike on the slow lane, both of then not noticing a car parked a few yards ahead. The inevitable happened; he was flung 10 feet into the air, his friend skidded on the road. We drove on, somewhat traumatised by the scene, me thinking about their mothers... and also that had we been a few minutes later we might have gotten stuck in the ensuing jam.

Yup, sometimes I'm nasty that way.

We would expect roads we pay to use to be relatively safe and the traffic smooth-flowing. But there had been  countless times in my experience where traffic basically came to a standstill - on the fast lane. Most often on the inter-city expressways these are due to accidents, be they major or minor.

However on those that criss-cross the Klang Valley, a crawl can be due to no reason at all - just  a humongous build-up of traffic - especially on Friday evenings. But some people still pay these dreadfully expensive toll charges because doing the "normal" roads is even more exasperating.

To get to my housing area in USJ Subang Jaya, if you come from the Ampang side you pay a total of RM4.40 at two toll plazes on the KESAS. If from Kampong Pandan or Bukit Bintang, you may want to get on the MEX and then join the KESAS at Bukit Jalil. You'll have to pay an extra RM1.50 though on top of the RM4.40.

From the Damasara/TTDI area you use the LDP and exit at Sunway without paying toll and then join the Kewajipan mandatory jam. Or you can proceed further, pay RM1.60 before joining the KESAS and paying a further RM2.20, for an earlier arrival.

If from KL Jalan TAR area, you can make your way to the NPE in Bangsar, pay RM1.60 each at two toll plazas, exit at the Sunway Pyramid and join the *Kewajipan mandatory jam. Or you could exit on the LDP and then join KESAS as above.

From Damansara Heights or Kiara, you can use the Kerinchi Link - pay RM1.50 - then proceed to the NPE via Jalan Gasing PJ and pay RM1.60 at the Subang Jaya toll plaza and then decide whether to join Kewajipan and its crawl or use LDP and KESAS.

From Shah Alam you pay RM1.00 on the Federal Highway or.. surprise, surprise... nothing on the KESAS. But from Klang and Banting, you'll have to pay a certain amount near the Jalan Kebun exit.

As you can see, the charges are exhorbitant. Many brave the jams each morning and evening sacrificing a few hours of time to save about RM200 every month.

But for me as a retiree and not having to commute on a daily basis, I figure spending some ringgit on tolls do not make me any less poorer than I am, or make me any richer... when I do not spend.

No resistance from me on using the paths of least resistance.

But I do have to submit to the **Summit choke-up each time I venture out of my haven.


Note:
* Kewajipan - is the road in Subang Jaya notorious for it's jams - they say "wajib jam" (jam is mandatory)
** Summit - the road opposite the Summit Hotel on Jalan Kewajipan where the jam for outgoing traffic is at it's summit, so to speak

16 comments:

Cat-in-Sydney said...

Aunty Zen,
Don't you wish you can fly? Or perhaps ride on a horse (or zebra) to get from point A to point B? But I heard in some places, owners of cattle will be fined RM5,000 if their herd dare to make poo near some palatial homes. purrr....meow!

Nin said...

Haa Kak Zen... on our last trip back to KL, you know what happened? We were heading to USJ from the old airport road. Saw this new flyover that says it leads straight to USJ (that area where you can make a u-turn to glenmarie tu lah) so we were like wahh! ni sure lagi dekat and so we opted for that one instead of taking the usual road yg lalu tepi komuter station and KFC lama tu. Big mistake! It took us right into the summit choke-up. I was like, why la?? They know this are mmg gile jam, why make a flyover that exits here, of all place? I was the one driving at the time and to make matters worse, I was the lead of a convoy to a relative's house. Saja je nak bagi orang pressure kan??

Wan Sharif said...

Wish we have better planners at designing new highways..

Pak Idrus said...

Zen, I use smart-tag and see to it that there is enough money in the card so that I would always get a smooth exit at the toll plaza.

Well that is living in the first world and I made no complaint for I am getting a first world facilities which enable me to enjoy life.

Take care.

Zendra-Maria said...

Cats, sometimes I could be like that genie in I Dream of Jeannie TV series, just blink my eyes and wrinkle my nose and I'm there..

eeyer.. whose palatial home are you talking about... I never issued such a decree!!

Zendra-Maria said...

Lady Nin, that is specifically why I made no mention of that new flyover. It has made the situation at the Summit junction even worse than before since heavy vehicles from the NKVE now use it as the link to KESAS on to Port Klang. It's horrible - I avoid it before 8pm, but it's absolutely convenient for getting to the Federal Highway or NKVE from Subang after getting through the Summit choke :)

Hey next time you're Summiting, buzz me ok?

Zendra-Maria said...

Ayoh Wang (you're getting popular with this call-sign hehe).. you have a oint there. Take the DUKE for example, it's a breeze to travel to Ampang by, but once there you get caught in the onslaught of traffic on the MRR2 :(

Zendra-Maria said...

Pak Idrus, you're a smart one for choosing the smart-tag. For us laid-back and fancy-free retirees, we can choose the right window of time to go out and come back, and like you I still prefer tollways over freeways(?)
However in white-space, we don't even have to leave home *winks*

Tommy Yewfigure said...

Glad I don't have to worry about tolls & traffic jams, lucky me :))

Zendra-Maria said...

Tommy, me follow you retire in Perth lah..

Tommy Yewfigure said...

now that will be a REAL WORRY!!!....

Zendra-Maria said...

haha Tommy takut kantoi!!

kay_leeda said...

Uhh..tell me about the Kewajipan wajib jam!!! Wajib redah & wajib cilok - my attitude towards it and so does everyone else.

Zendra-Maria said...

Hahaha Kay, ini namanya alah bisa tegal biasa..

mekyam said...

zee, i absolutely love love love the euphemisms "Kewajipan" and "Summit"! :D

ayoh wang, perhaps it's not just the planners fault but the lack of good and efficient public transport systems to take care of the bulk of daily commuters. :)

DrSam said...

Salam kanda. it seems in our Bolehland, new roads are built almost like a Lego - pasang siap and non-stop every now and then but you still got stuck somewhere and somehow. To say car price is getting cheaper thus more cars on the road...nope! Nasi lemak nation love to drive...not really! Our pubic transport is so efficient...yes (looking at the many expat commuting more than the locals)...so what is the root cause. Now my brain toll started to get congested...