Did the second stimulus package announced by Najib give enough attention to public transport – or did the discounts offered owners of older vehicles to replace their cars with new Proton and Perodua cars overshadow the public transport component of the package?
Blogger Ong Eu Soon has come up with a proposal to ease congestion on the Penang Bridge, which deserves serious consideration. It involves the use of shuttle buses (or trams?) and park-and-ride facilities. If ferry services are also increased, expanded and upgraded, we could go a long way in easing road congestion in Penang. I hope the Penang state government will seriously consider this. The state government is also considering an earlier suggestion to have a rail link from the mainland to the island. This is worth considering for that would mean folks from JB, KL, and the mainland could enter Penang Island by rail while leaving their cars at home. This would be a great first step in promoting the wider use of public transport in Penang in a bid to create a more sustainable and liveable habitat.
Each day hundred of thousands of Penangites face traffic congestion as they commute to work in their cars via the Penang Bridge. The impact from this congestion is substantial in time, resources, and pollution. The vehicle trips per day are estimated to be 120,000. It is estimated that the Penang Bridge congestion alone cost travelers 328 million hours of delay, 10 million litres of wasted fuel, and minimum RM140 million in toll fees per annum.
For financial and environmental reasons Penang cannot build its way out of congestion. Unfortunately the Penang state government and the federal government are not different when come to deal with mass transit. Mass transit has been ignored for decades. The Penang state government as well as the federal government until today still continues to approach our traffic congestion problem with piece meal solutions instead of developing an overarching strategy that could be use to guide the development of public mass transit; land use and development policies supportive of mass transit are totally absent.
For our transportation system to sustain future growth we must use road space and transit facilities more efficiently and we should not dependent too much on private vehicles. Penang with its limited resources and the land scarcity should use public bus transit in innovative ways to improve mobility. Why public bus transit is the ultimate transportation choice to create a more efficient and resilient public transit system? Full article here.