New Straits Times
25 JUNE 2012 -
Vigilant: Her job is to ensure the LRT’s smooth operations, safety of commuters.
Ever felt being watched while at the LRT (light rail transit) train station? Well, that is likely to be the case as it is the job of control centre staff of RapidKL (Rangkaian Pengangkutan Integrasi Deras Sdn Bhd), operator of the LRT, to monitor what is shown on the screens to ensure smooth operations and safety of commuters at all time.
This is what control assistant manager, Sofiah Hussien, 37, does while on duty.
"We have several monitors at our control centre in RapidKL's depot for the Kelana Jaya line, including the system management centre to monitor train movements in real time and closed-circuit television coverage of station platforms."
"As for the rail tracks, the intrusion emergency stop system would alert us if someone steps on the track or something weighing more than seven kilogrammes falls onto it. The track will the be 'de-energised' (power supply cut) to stop trains and allow our staff to check on it," said Sofiah, who first joined RapidKL as a control executive.
Sofiah told Streets that she had never dreamt of working in the transport industry.
"After earning my degree in electrical engineering from Universiti Teknologi Malaysia, I worked at different places including at University of Malaya as a lab technician."
"It was a trying time as we were facing recession in 1997 so I couldn't be too picky about my job. As soon as my friend who was already working in RapidKL told me that there was an opening as control centre executive, I attended the interview and got the job."
"The LRT was new at that time and most of us were also 'fresh' to the field, so we learned on the job with courses and hands-on experience. It's good that my engineering basics helped me understand the operations better."
She said there were several unforgettable incidents while on duty, including some challenging ones.
"Once, a man went down the rail track from Kerinchi station and walked all the way to Abdullah Hukum, one stop away. The electrical supply was cut immediately and our staff at the stations were dispatched immediately to get the man out. This incident caused delay to the train services."
"I also remember a time when power supply was disrupted and caused us to 'lose sight' of the train movement. This is never a good thing for the control centre."
"When this happens, we have to do things manually, including determining the locations of trains based on the last recorded positions and dispatching our staff to do train count on the ground."
The Ipoh-born mother of two received her secondary education at SMK Raja Perempuan Ipoh and SMK Teknik Cheras.
She said her dream job was actually to be an architect, but "I probably didn't make the cut because I was not that good in drawing."
Nevertheless, Sofiah now gets satisfaction from her job here at the control centre as she finds it rewarding to see commuters enjoying the train services.
"It is a huge responsibility for us as it involves ensuring our commuters arrive at their destinations safely and also providing those using our services with a safe environment," she said.
"This comes down to teamwork as well as the ability to make the right decisions fast."
"Failure to our part may not only cause inconvenience to others, but even costs lives."