PLUS Expressways Berhad (PLUS) is not serious in including accessible facilities at the rest and service area (RSA) and lay-bys along the North South Expressway (NSE). This is evident from my previous complaints regarding the facilities at Tapah RSA that went unrectified till now.
Likewise, the purportedly parking for disabled persons at all the RSAs and lay-bys have not been redone to comply with Malaysian Standard MS 1184. Disabled persons have no place to park and get out from vehicles conveniently. Moreover, the those parking spaces are usually occupied by vehicles without disabled persons.
Toilet for disabled persons with the door opening inwards at Ulu Bernam RSA Southbound.
To add insult to injury, on my trip back from Ipoh last weekend, I discovered that the accessible toilet at the Ulu Bernam RSA Southbound was as good as useless. The door opened inwards. When I got in, I could not close the door due to the limited space inside for me to maneuver. I got Wuan to move the sanitary napkin disposal bin out. That did not help either. In the end, I emptied my bladder into the diaper I was wearing instead.
Before PLUS officials attend another conference on accessibility for disabled persons and proclaim to all and sundry that they provide such facilities at the RSAs and lay-bys, they should do an audit to ensure that these facilities are really functional and comply with the code of practice.
Putting a wheelchair logo on the toilet door or painting the logo on the parking space does not make them usable by disabled people. These facilities must comply with the Malaysian Standard MS 1184: Code of Practice for Access for Disabled Persons to Buildings. The document clearly spells out the proper dimension and requirements to make facilities usable by disabled people.
The destination matters more than the journey. That is the truth. A 200 km drive on the expressway with only the view of oil palms, rubber trees and secondary forests is not exactly one that can keep bored minds awake. The excitement of driving long distances has worn off. Only what awaits at the other end beckons – family and food.
Sunset over the E1 North South Expressway.
To keep ourselves occupied and awake on those long journeys, we have a stash of our favourite CDs stored in a shoebox. It is ironic that we listen to most of them while driving and very seldom at home. I should really convert them into MP3s to save space and also reduce the need to change CDs so often.
Night shot of the E1 North South Expressway.
The camera comes in handy when we get bored listening to the music. But how do you take nice sharp photographs through tinted windscreen with the car bumping up and down at 100 km/h? The failing light of dusk makes it even more challenging but I like the drama such shots evoke, especially the chains of headlights from cars in the opposite direction. Those were the times when I found joy in the journey.
The stench of ash and thick veil of haze shrouded our entire journey from Kuala Lumpur to Ipoh and then to Penang last Saturday. It has never been this bad since we started travelling the E1 of the North-South Expressway (NSE) three years ago.
From our observations, the haze not only came from Sumatra. It is also a locally-induced problem as people are still practicing open burning even in this hazy condition. The following two images were taken on Sunday from my apartment at Taman Pekaka in Penang four hours apart. What a world of difference the view was after a downpour.
Haze in Penang as viewed from Taman Pekaka at 8.04am, July 19, 2009.
No more haze after rain. Taken at 12.03pm, July 19, 2009.