One hour or more of travelling to work? It’s the norm.

I think I am a spoilt Malaysian employee. I realised this when I traveled to Bangkok recently. When I had lunch with my colleagues, I came to know that majority of them take over an hour to travel to arrive on time in office everyday. Most of them were not driving. They were taking public transport. I told them it’s possible for me to take a public transport like what my General Manager and many other colleagues were doing because the monorail station is nearby and the LRT station is also not too far away but I did not. I preferred to drive. Reason? I wanted flexibility in timing, even if on and off I would be caught in a bad jam. How come my Thailand colleagues can accept such travelling duration everyday? I think this is because they think this is the norm. Perhaps the jam there is far worse?

I told my wife long time ago that if I have to take one hour or more to work by using public transport, I would either resign or move closer to my office. I think this may be because I feel that there are still choices. I could choose to change my lifestyle or I could buy a place nearer to office. Perhaps there are still places which are within my affordability range even today. In Bangkok, it’s harder. The good areas are already way too expensive for their salary range and the not so good ones are really not so good and I think it’s always the best to stay with family which majority of my Thai colleagues are doing today.

publiclinesWhat happens in the future? When MRT starts and your new home is at the very end of the MRT line and you needed to take one hour or more to reach your place of work? Perhaps I should also be ready to do the same. Oh yeah, for those who think MRT in Singapore is convenient, if you happen to stay at the end of the MRT line and your working place is in the CBD area, 45 minutes is the NORM if not more. Don’t try during peak hours, you have to push your way in or miss it and have to wait for the next. My friends who migrated to Australia also needed to drive 45 minutes or more every day as they are staying in ever further away suburbs. The prices nearby CBD? Haha. Stop joking. So, ladies and gentlemen, I think taking one hour or slightly more to work via public transportation may be here soon. It will stay that way too. Driving may take you even longer. Change or be changed.

written on 1 July 2015

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4 thoughts on “One hour or more of travelling to work? It’s the norm.

  1. Hi Charles,

    Enjoying your blog! My sis purchased a house in Pajam and she used to travel everyday from Pajam to KL. It took her nearly 1 to 1.5 hours in traffic! Unfortunately with the price of new landed property these days, most people will be looking outside the Klang Valley for affordable options unless they wish to settle for older property.

    I’m not sure if the purchase was a smart move but she believes the house will appreciate in the next five years.

    Would like to ask if you there’s a website where I can get the per square foot pricing history for a year or more…appreciate your help!

    • Hi HM, actually if we drive, 1 hour is considered quite a long journey. If your sis is still very fit, I think it should be okay. I wont be able to do as what your sis is doing. As for affordable and new landed options, I think it’s true that we have to be buying further away. Prices would continue to increase, there is little doubt. However, it would always start from nearer areas first before going further. Current plan in place is Greater Kuala Lumpur and this covers the following areas: The region comprises of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya, Klang, Kajang, Subang Jaya, Selayang, Shah Alam, Ampang Jaya and Sepang. I would personally buy where areas which are covered by the transportation masterplan, including MRT1,2,3s and LRT1,2,3s. This gives me flexibility in case I do not want to drive in future. Website with pricing psf history, I do not know. However, there is one site which has easy to review price psf info. Actually historical information may not mean much today. Focus on actual price psf. Do not buy at prices when there are still other cheaper available equivalent choices.

      • Thanks Charles!! Yes, I told my sister that the drive is very long but she still likes the area.

        For me, I’ve made a purchase in Cyberjaya as the area is very familiar to me, however, the prices have steadily increased! A year ago, you could still purchase an 700sq ft apartment in Cyberjaya for less than RM400,000 but now, never developments have advertised their 2-bd 2-bath apartments for RM500,000++.

        What do you think about the Cyberjaya/Putrajaya area? Thanks for your advice!

      • HM, I always think we look at the fundamental and not just the area. For example, if there’s a 1,000sf condo nearly KLCC selling below RM700k, it will find a buyer immediately. Cyberjaya relies a lot on the growth of more jobs in the area. If you continue to see more companies opening up, then it’s a great choice. However, if you are thinking about people buying and staying there and driving to work in KL city centre, the chances are very low. Putrajaya continues to grow as this is the administrative centre for the government. However, for price appreciation, I think there are also many other areas worth looking. Think 10 minutes duration away from the hotspots of today. 🙂 Note, this is just my opinion. I do know many are very bullish about certain areas. fyi, I would not pay anything higher than RM550psf today. I would rather stay further away and not fight for the hotspots with the majority. My theory? Look at the number of people registering for affordable homes programmes by both the states and the federal. Secondly, Look at the luxury markets of the developed market for signs….

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