85% of motorists ready to switch to buses and trams


Photo by Henk Graalman, Adelaide

Trams in Adelaide, the “twin city” of George Town, Penang Photo credit: lightrailnow.org

It looks as if a huge majority (85 per cent) of urban motorists in Malaysia are ready to leave their cars behind at home if there is an effective and integrated public transport system comprising buses and trams. That is the outcome of a just concluded poll of 551 visitors to this site.

The main reason I put out this poll is that I wanted to allay the fears of those who are worried that dedicated bus and tram lanes may cause road congestion for motorists. The results confirm what many of us may have already guessed: many motorists are ready to abandon their cars in favour of buses and trams. So why are we still talking about new urban highway projects, ring roads, and other infrastructure for more cars?

Here are the poll results:

Start Date: 11 July 27 June 2008 @ 11.00am
End Date: 19 July 11 July 2008 @ 5.24pm

If you had efficient buses and trams in your city, would you leave your car behind at home?

  • Yes, I am drooling just thinking of how much I will save (85%, 470 Votes)
  • It depends/Not sure (6%, 35 Votes)
  • No, it is quicker and more convenient using my car (5%, 29 Votes)
  • I don’t have a car-lah (3%, 17 Votes)

Total Voters: 551

Of course, the usual caveats for these kinds of polls apply, but the results do suggest that a majority of motorists are wiling to switch to more effective public transport options – if they are available.

Check out the next poll on the right sidebar: Who do you think will be PM in 2011?

Please help to support this blog if you can.

Read the commenting guidlelines for this blog.
Notify of

Most Voted
Newest Oldest
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Henk Graalman
Henk Graalman
22 Sep 2009 11.41am


happen to come across this photo which has been made by me, and as such I own the copyright and would like to see my name credited only

Any queries/clarifcation please let me know

Thanks and regards
Henk Graalman
Adelaide, australia

15 Jul 2008 2.05pm

i don’s think that the island’s roads are big enough to accomodate the trams but i hope that the state govt will look into the possibility.

12 Jul 2008 3.18pm

Will the buiding of trams be the most expensive in the world like RM150 million per KM highways?


Tell me lah, where in the world got RM150 million per KM highway?

12 Jul 2008 2.31pm

Oh yeah, regarding your post:
From People Power to Pedal Power

Have you actually tried to cycle around Georgetown or to your work place?

Good luck on smelling like car exhaust and trying to keep your bag from being stolen by mat rempit and i would give my prayer to vehicles user on the road that tried to avoid you from getting heart attack.

Or are you like our government only know how to propose big plan and not how to mantain the plan? Talk is cheap

12 Jul 2008 2.10pm

All this talk about tram is wasting time. Why you all keep comparing Penang island with western city that do not have our problem ie: bad traffic jam, small and congested road, mat rempit, bus system that is not dependable, uncovered bus stop and linkway to the nearest building. I know tram is cheap to implement and have less pollution but my point is it is not feasible in Penang. I wonder why the megacity does not have tram, Tokyo, Shanghai, Beijing, Jakarta, Bangkok ? Just because other cities can do it, why Penang can’t you said? I’m sure all… Read more »

K S Ong
K S Ong
12 Jul 2008 12.51pm

Hi Anil,

I have just posted something on Bus Rapid Transit. I got interested by chance and it is a long shot. Your comments will be most appreciated.

Best wishes,

K S Ong

12 Jul 2008 12.25pm

Don’t even talk about trams. Or intercity trains are ancient. Look at all European countries, their Intercity can do 3 times our speed at prices that are reasonable to their standards. For us, from KL to Butterworth, it takes like 10 hours including delays. So, if intercity trains, the most basic transportation network is not there, how can there even be trams? When I was int he UK 20 years ago, their intercity trains were still 3 times faster than our crap here. We are ancient lah cause money is being mismanaged left right and centre. Even our Astro is… Read more »

alvin lee
alvin lee
12 Jul 2008 11.25am

if our public transportation system is efficient, i cannot see any reason why the public would refuse to use it. Just look at Singapore.

12 Jul 2008 10.05am

Anil Please look at your photo closer. To protect passengers from knocking down by cars, there is a safety island and barriers. Very good if Panang can afford to widen its roads and knock down all the old buildings to accommodate the width of the trams and cars. Or how about readers do not mind the Government acquiring their properties for the good of the people to build tramways or to bear the construction work to lay the tracks along existing roads. For the start, the Government should improve the bus service and introduce buses that runs on NLG. The… Read more »

12 Jul 2008 8.01am

Hi Anil! I’m happy to read your blog, keep writing. Yes you are correct. I did spent few years in Adelaide. Phew! Even without trams, the bus service in Adelaide is 100 times better than any city/towns in Malaysia. Credit to the bus service which helps me a lot to complete my degree. Cheap and efficient. Additional to these 2 means of transportation there’s another one called ‘obahn’ which specifically meant for tourism and fast link Adelaide city to the countryside. They promised ‘obahn’ during election and put it available after winning it! Some complaint it’s a waste but i… Read more »

12 Jul 2008 3.47am

Just by 551 sample responding to the poll is pretty good number to go by it. You can’t say just because Malaysia has 27mil people, we need to do 27mil interviews/polls to get a fair indication. Although sampling takes into account other point like gender, race, age bracket etc as well, but this snapshot poll good enough indicator of what people actually want. And besides there are many other sites which people have responded, debated and called the government to provide better public transportation and integration which has received very positive feedback. So I guess the real issue is the… Read more »

12 Jul 2008 2.51am

Anil, 2011 is 3 years from now. I sincerely hope these dinosaurs won’t be in the running by then. What about Nurul? She is one pedigree which we should all be watching.

She is the one who has experienced the nasty side of politics and with Wan Azizah as her mother, God help those wanna be men.

11 Jul 2008 11.25pm

As a Penangite, I was attracted to the tram system introduced by you. But on your poll results, I must say that it is bias as you as an advocate for trams hosted the poll in your blog. I think that 85% is actually little because you provided lots of information and arguments for it…yet…only 85% However, like Richard said…as long as there can be a good transportation system…i don’t really mind what system it is…Singapore has MTR/MRT and is doing great…they don’t have trams! Still though, I am for the idea of tram if feasible considering the narrow roads… Read more »

11 Jul 2008 10.29pm

I say friend, population of Penang Island is over a million.(IF malaysia 27 millions) Your poll is from 551 visitors. And you say 85% are in favor.

11 Jul 2008 8.45pm

Hi Anil, Yes.. that’s what we want… a tram system that is continuously running 24/7/365. Recently i had to work for a 3 weeks in KL..staying in my sister’s place in Sentul and commuting to work in Pandan Indah… it was a real hassle using the Putra/Star line.. and the waiting for the feeder bus service. For one week, nearly every day I was late for the appointments and had to furiously apologize to my clients. The following 2 weeks, I decided I wud rather drive then take the public transport. The walking from the STAR to the PUTRA stations… Read more »

11 Jul 2008 8.02pm

I’m still waiting for the concrete proposal. Anil-sir, are you personally involved in it? It would be too long to wait for the state government with their hands full and budget constraints. After all the trams would take some time to implement and would not be of immediate help with the current fuel hike. It would be great if we can see more concrete proposals. Is there any ‘tram committee’ apart from yourself to sort out what sort of trams that are suitable for Penang? Startup costs? Routes? I think I’ve brought this up before but it seems that your… Read more »

11 Jul 2008 7.41pm

Dea Anil There can not be the slightest doubt that an integrated mass transport systems with bus, mrt,trams, monorails and taxis and peak-hour CND zoning and levies is the ONLY direction to go if we do not want to be wiped out in a few years by smog, pollution, stress from sitting in traffic jams and loss of FDI from foreigners who will go elsewhere where business can be concluded speedily. The operative word is INTEGRATED. If you have been to Munich, Paris or London you will know what I mean. To expect 100% efficiency is unrealistic, but even at… Read more »

11 Jul 2008 6.42pm

Hi Anil, Richard here, …

Your poll for “If you had efficient buses and trams in your city, would you leave your car behind at home?” ends only on the 19th July, but its taken out of your blog.

I think most Penangnites will surely go for a good system public transportations. It does not matter what kind, so long it is within reach, timely and efficient.