Time to bring back the trams


Before the general election, they told us that we would become a net importer of oil by 2011.

Now, with the sharp oil price increase, they tell us we can remain a net exporter of oil until 2014-2015. You see, domestic demand will slow down. Some of us might turn to bicycles – and even live to tell the tale, given the notorious absence of bicycle lanes on our roads.

Excerpt from Reuters:

“It will be postponed if the demand does not grow at the rate that it should grow,” (Petronas) Chief Executive Mohd Hassan Merican was quoted as saying by state news agency Bernama.

He added: “If the rate is reduced from six percent (demand growth annually) to four percent, it will be extended by three to four years to 2014 or 2015.”

You work it out to see if it makes sense. I am tired of doing calculations!

I suppose we should be celebrating. (Peeks out of the front door) Nope, no one outside dancing in the streets.

So what are we going to do with all that oil money for a few years longer now? Squander it on more useless projects? Or really invest in cost-efficient forms of public transport (hint, hint, what about trams?!) and a quality universal public health care system?

Article’s URL: http://sun2surf.com/article.cfm?id=22905

Groups: Bring back the tram to Penang

By: Diana Chin (Wed, 04 Jun 2008)

[email protected]

GEORGE TOWN (June 4) : Citizens groups in Penang have initiated a lobby to have the billion-ringgit monorail project replaced with a tram system in the state.

The movement stems from an increasingly popular notion that the monorail is far too costly and would bring about adverse effects to the heritage streets and green landscape of Penang.

‘Penangites for Tram’ campaign coordinator Anil Netto explained that investment required for developing a tram network would be much lower than for constructing the monorail.

“The tram is a more substantial choice as we can revive the system based on already existing old tram lines that Penang used to have, thereby eliminating excessive additional costs,” he said.

Netto said trams would blend in with George Town’s heritage and greenery, while the monorail would obstruct views of buildings and mar the attractiveness of the island.

He said a good tram system would also encourage people not to drive private vehicles within the town area, allowing them to save following the increase in fuel charges.

“If we give the people a better alternative in public transport, there will be less traffic congestion and more parking spaces in town,” he said.

As the roads of Penang are narrow, they suited the concept of the trams, he added. The campaign is currently being supported by 25 bloggers and websites.

Heritage writer Khoo Salma Nasution noted that the Penang Island Municipal Council was the first local government to introduce electric trams in the inner city in the early part of the last century.

“People think the tram is a thing of the past, but they are wrong because it is actually the thing of the future,” she said.

“It is clean, energy saving and user-friendly not to mention fast, efficient and also cheap.”

She said the tram could provide an iconic identity for Penang and help revitalise the heritage of the inner city.

Khoo, who published a book titled ‘Penang Trams, Trolleybuses & Railways: Municipal Transport History 1880s-1963’,said trams could also help traffic calming in Penang’s roads.

Aliran and Penang Heritage Trust activist Ahmad Chik said the campaign is calling for a traffic master plan for Penang that would include feasibility studies for trams as compared to monorails and underground transit systems.

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I agree with Jughead on his explanation why trams will not be better than buses for Penang.


Z, In UK, how many motorcyclists on the road as compare to Malaysia. Our grandpa, grandma, father,mother and those just 18s maybe riding on the bikes as compare to UK. I have ridden across tram tracks in Down Under and I almost fell. It does not need a spaceman and rock science to tell that the friction bewteen rubber and steel is almost zero. Even on a wet day, the road can be slippery and what is more when the surface is steel. If trams can be punctual here, so can be the bus if there are bus lanes as… Read more »


But what about the present bus system which is so terribly mismanaged? Renting out buses to any random people where they can do their own route and set their own fares is sooo Third World & not a way to run public transportation. Find a way to eliminate those rent-seeking companies & consolidate the system.

Otherwise if you just add trams into the mix, you’ll only make the mess worse. And how about trolleybuses instead?


Dear all supporters of trams for Penang. I can understand your sentiments. But, from a serious technical perspective, trams is indequate, and so not suitable for Penang of today/future. I am saying this not because I do not like trams. Trams just do not have the carrying capacity. Trams, you are talking about less than 10,000pph. In a dense urban environment like Penang, you will need at least 25,000pph. Now, in layman terms. Trams will simply take up road space. If your roads are already fully congested and cannot even provide buses, where can you find space for trams? Now,… Read more »


jughead, I’m a regular tram rider here in the UK. I find your claims misleading. It rains quite often as the weather is very unpredictable here, but I’ve never heard of any motorcycle accidents caused by slipper tram tracks. I personally don’t find the tram tracks slippery after a heavy downpour. In my humble opinion, trams are more flexible and easier to implement than the monorails, with proper planning. What makes you think trams cannot be punctual and are slow? It’s very punctual, cheap and fast here. It takes about 30 minutes to travel a 4-5 mile distance, with many… Read more »



this 1 can or not ?

actually georgetown is quite small. we make it looks big only !


haiya…u always talk about trams….u so like trams meh…got other things also mah…for example trisaw (of course modified 1 la)…why u like trams so much…ask people wat they want 1st la…dun be like that ok ? u want us to boycot trams later ah ?

sometimes is so sien reading ur blog leh…pls change a bit ok ?

thank you sir !


Tram tracks are very dangerous to motorcyclists. They are very slippery with the wet weather when they are trying to cross or running parallel. With so many cyclist, accidents happen and this makes the journey longer. Also what about overhead power? We cannot have Chingay or street processions unless they have to be cut off during the events. Also at turning, treams needs reasonable turning radius.

Monorails are more pratical as they are punctual than trams and the travelling time is not as long. In fact they can run according to the time table but not trams.


The magic of lies It spins and the people try Pockets shilling all gone They know what hit them Be thrifty spend what you need The market prices of essential goods The people must pay at higher prices The subsidies will be cut immediately The hidden contracts Amongst the cronies’ companies Benefiting a selected few The people get conned for rides Petronas makes huge profits in billions Yet the people must pay to feed this giant When we have the sleeping beauty always staring in his mirror Maybe looking for Kak Endon to appear………….. The magic gone The glitter in… Read more »


Anil. Right now would should really scramble about looking for other alternative sources of enerygy, now that petrol is scarce,and i’m reading our petrol reserves will run out by 2013! Then what?? If that is the case it is about time malaysians become more prudent on how they use this valuable soon to be extinct source. The price hike couldnt have came at a more suitable time (at Pak Lah’s expense tho, well he isn’t going out to be “popular” he says).