After SRS’ ‘PTMP’ flops, Penang needs a sustainable mobility masterplan

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The RM46bn SRS rojak

Penang Forum has just released this statement in response to the proposal for a state-wide “LRT” system.

Penang Forum welcomes the federal government’s intervention in coming up with a more comprehensive public transport network for the entire state of Penang.

According to Transport Minister Anthony Loke, Prime Minister Anwar Ibrahim has pointed out that mainland Penang should not be left out of transport infrastructure plans.

This is consistent with Penang Forum’s stand all along: that the public transport infrastructure should cover the whole state.

Loke and the Penang state government has been talking about an “LRT” system.

But it is important to emphasise that light rail transit is not limited to the massive overhead LRT that people in Kuala Lumpur are familiar with. Light rail transit has been defined as “a form of passenger urban rail transit characterised by a combination of tram and rapid transit features”.

This means that articulated modern trams and modes other than an overhead LRT line also fall under the definition of light rail transit.

The crucial question is whether the proposed multi-billion ringgit overhead LRT proposed by Gamuda, which is its standard business, is the most suitable and cost-efficient public transport mode for a state with a small population like Penang?

What about other modes like buses, trackless trams, minibuses and water taxis?

Right from the start, Penang Forum had pointed out how the Gamuda-led SRS Consortium’s bloated “Penang Transport Master Plan” diverged radically from the original transport blueprint put forward by the state government’s then transport consultants, Halcrow.

Halcrow had proposed a RM10bn public transport component that would cover the entire state. This would comprise primarily buses, trams and water taxis. An overhead LRT system was never mentioned.

In contrast, the first phase of the RM46bn SRS PTMP alone would cost RM20bn – RM10bn for the Bayan Lepas-Komtar LRT and another RM10bn for the environmentally risky six-lane Pan Island Highway. Crucially, this first phase mainly focused on Penang Island and would take years to complete. It would neglect – for a decade or more – the congestion on mainland Penang, the first Penang bridge and its approach roads.

So Anwar’s desire that any new public transport infrastructure should not neglect mainland Penang is a welcome development.

But rather than push ahead with a costly overhead LRT system, Loke should stick to his initial position when first confronted with SRS’ plan for the overhead LRT on Penang Island.

In September 2018 Loke, as transport minister in the first Pakatan Harapan federal government, said Penang’s plans to build an (overhead) LRT may not be the best bet to improve public transport in the state.

He said a study conducted by the Ministry of Transport showed that (the overhead) LRT might not be feasible. He did not elaborate on other options, but did mention “trams and other modes” in broad terms.

A high-level Penang government delegation then met Loke, presumably to convince him to stick to SRS Consortium’s overhead LRT proposal.

This time around, Loke has a chance to come up with a forward-looking mobility masterplan after a decade wasted on the SRS PTMP, which was supposed to be financed by massive land reclamation to create three artificial islands (now scaled down to one). Obviously, this financing model and the proposed transport modes and routes have completely failed.

So the SRS PTMP should be scrapped, and the MoT should explore more sustainable options like pedestrian walkways, cycling routes, buses, street level trackless trams (which can be elevated along certain congested sections), a cross-channel rail route and extensive ‘water bus’ routes.

As modern technology does not require the laying of tracks, a street-level light rail or modern tram system can be built in a matter of months, not years.

This would minimise the period of traffic disruption during the construction period and would cost only a fraction of the budget for an overhead LRT system. Sarawak is already putting in place such a street-level system of autonomous trams complemented by buses.

Indeed, Penang’s transport network should be built on a foundation of an excellent bus system, to ensure first and last-mile connectivity for any rail network. After all, Singapore maximised the potential of its buses and created excellent pedestrian facilities before launching its mass rapid transit system. In contrast, Penang has only 200-300 buses in service compared to several thousand buses running in Singapore today.

Loke should also look into the poorly designed Penang Sentral mega-project, a concrete white elephant that is so pedestrian unfriendly. This federal project was conceived in 2007, before there was even a state-wide transport masterplan – and it shows. What do we do with this jarring project now?

Finally, we urge the federal government not to follow the SRS thinking of heavy overhead LRT infrastructure and instead think of more pedestrian-friendly and financially feasible modes of light rail, largely at street level. Many cities in Europe and elsewhere have already adopted lighter forms of light rail that have received high passenger satisfaction ratings.

Penang badly needs a financially feasible sustainable mobility plan that will integrate various modes of transport, including pedestrian and cycling facilities.

We strongly recommend that Loke seeks the assistance of world-renowned sustainable mobility planning experts to come up with a mobility masterplan Penang can be proud of.

Penang Forum steering committee
23 July 2023

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luca
luca
23 Jul 2023 5.45pm

To adopt public transportation, the education must start from young as shown in this video:

Steve
Steve
24 Jul 2023 2.25pm
Reply to  luca

Good to start young.
Must appreciate to save the earth.
Do you agree Anil?

NoNo
NoNo
24 Jul 2023 2.41pm
Reply to  luca

Big cheers to RapidPenang.

Drink “Coffee Tree” Kopi kaw kaw!

PinkTiger
PinkTiger
25 Jul 2023 5.02pm
Reply to  luca

Anil can invite Penang Forum folks to take RapidPenang around the island for a day and give honest assessment for improvement. No point writing about it without actual experience on the buses. Can interview passengers for their feedback along the way.

luca
luca
25 Jul 2023 7.22pm
Reply to  PinkTiger

Good idea. Can get Poon to be videographer for uploading to YouTube

Shriek
Shriek
26 Jul 2023 4.42pm
Reply to  PinkTiger

One day? On that day, rapid add in more buses and bring buses from KL.

Sheena
Sheena
30 Jul 2023 3.21pm
Reply to  Shriek

While the city does have a quality bus transit system, Rapid Penang, the lack of “last mile” connections and poor walking and cycling environment prevents it from replacing car trips.

Maharashtra
Maharashtra
1 Aug 2023 5.32pm
Reply to  Sheena

Last mile connectivity can be provided by electric tuk tuk. Can explorec this with BYD for custom made Penang electric tuk tuk – an icon as big as ferry.

Shriek
Shriek
3 Aug 2023 6.07am
Reply to  Sheena

Buses to the doorstep? Walking for 20 to 15 min is good for Penangkias. So 1 day walk about 20 to 30 mins is what health experts recommended.

Shriek
Shriek
27 Jul 2023 6.22am
Reply to  luca

At one time, reported here many young came out against reclamation and road building. Where are they now? Want star bucks, maccas, video games , smart phones and a car freedom to go anywhere?

GK Abdulah
GK Abdulah
25 Jul 2023 5.24pm

If the Seberang Prai people continue to support PN and reject PH, then there is no need to extend the LRT to their area.

Politics is about reality. They must face the consequences if they do not want development, and not to take clean water for granted.

All for Green
27 Jul 2023 10.23am
Reply to  GK Abdulah

Is these some kind of a threat to the people of Penang and their given right and freedom to how and who they wish to vote in local elections? Are you one of those clueless supporters of PH?

These are old school policies of political parties. Look at what PMX is doing now to woo and pull in Malay support. Don’t forget we now live in the digital age with almost everyone having a smartphone with multiple apps.

If you must know, Green is a very nice color.

IQ900
IQ900
28 Jul 2023 6.51pm
Reply to  All for Green

Green is a nice colour but you will miss the green bottles of Heineken or Carlsberg if PN governs your state.

All for Green
2 Aug 2023 12.44pm
Reply to  IQ900

They should not be governing the state, simply because they do not or will not know how to but would like to see a bigger representation by the opposition in the state assembly.

Plucky
Plucky
28 Jul 2023 7.26pm
Reply to  All for Green

I don’t like PH but I will still vote for PH-BN to deny the Green Wave.

Simple as that.

Shriek
Shriek
30 Jul 2023 7.14am
Reply to  Plucky

Green wave is nothing but 3Rs.They will borrow more $$$ like moo.

All for Green
2 Aug 2023 12.47pm
Reply to  Plucky

Go ahead. It is your right as to who you wish to vote. It is as simple as that.

Wonderstar
Wonderstar
28 Jul 2023 7.30pm
Reply to  All for Green

Clueless or not, educated or not, happy or not, poor or not, the logic is to vote for PH or BN as we do not want the Green Monster lurking behind PN.

All for Green
2 Aug 2023 12.58pm
Reply to  Wonderstar

Yes, logically you would want to vote for the current state government, as the Opposition, should they govern, believe will set our state a few years back but still would like to see a bigger representation by the Opposition in the state assembly.

The reason is simple. To see what the Opposition can contribute for the advancement of our Penang State in the next 5 years.

Herman
4 Aug 2023 12.25pm
Reply to  All for Green

There is a good reason why green colour is not on Jalur Gemilang.

Shriek
Shriek
3 Aug 2023 6.04am
Reply to  Wonderstar

Then PKR mosquito in mps sapu important ministries and rocket become MCA 2??

Shriek
Shriek
29 Jul 2023 5.06pm
Reply to  GK Abdulah

U think building lrt is like cooking Maggie mee? Pf and poon has to vet through and you can orso comment on the design and route.

Maharashtra
Maharashtra
24 Jul 2023 1.50pm

A lot of assumptions made by PF before the final plan is released. Those rich elite Penang people in PF want to keep the island to themselves to themselves so further housing development will affect them and their property value?

luca
luca
29 Jul 2023 10.34am
Reply to  Maharashtra

Penang Queen (Dancing Queen PARODY)

https://youtube.com/watch?v=AqO9QoYIAk8&feature=youtu.be

Remember to vote!

Mike
Mike
23 Jul 2023 9.20pm

Penang 2nd Bridge not fully utilised, with minimal traffic most of time. Has study being carried out if it has been a catalyst for speedier growth on mainland or Batu Maung/Permatang Damar Laut on island?

Mike
Mike
24 Jul 2023 5.54pm
Reply to  luca

The pedestrian walkways or roadside trees on island have been sacrificed to make way for wider roads to cater for increasing carbon motorised vehicles.
Limited land on island so tram system not practical unless PF can find sponsors to compensate owners for private land convertion.
You can’t even reintroduce tram system in heritage centre eg chulia street little india zone because commercial shop owners will protest for opportunity cost lists when private vehicles cannot access their shops.

Shriek
Shriek
26 Jul 2023 4.46pm
Reply to  Mike

If transport not puncture, crowded, jerking and takes a long time and go merry go round, it is Tak laku. lrt or monorail no traffic jam and no delay

Plucky
Plucky
28 Jul 2023 7.25pm

Hope to have PRN discussion starting tomorrow.

Anil can kick-start. Tell us which candidates to look up.

Summarise for us salient points of rally by various parties.

Maharashtra
Maharashtra
29 Jul 2023 3.24pm
Reply to  Plucky

Hope to hear the views of Anil on PRN.

I assume Anil is supporting PSM candidates in Penang.

Maharashtra
Maharashtra
1 Aug 2023 5.34pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

Anil you are so vague and not specific. What interest of ordinary people that is utmost important? Early withdrawal of EPF? Cheaper petrol? B40 and T20 have different wants and needs. Also camn elaborate what ecosystem you are talking about?

Herman
4 Aug 2023 12.26pm
Reply to  Maharashtra

Anil could be puzzled by PSM or Muda is not sending more candidates to Penang to oppose the reclamation work.

IQ900
IQ900
28 Jul 2023 6.50pm

I have mistaken Mahathir as a Seng Heng salesman when he wore that green jacket in Kelantan to be with hadi PAS.

Sheena
Sheena
26 Jul 2023 10.42pm

Penang voters should focus on securing the state from PN.

Gerakan eg at Bayan Lepas should be losing deposit.

As for MUDA, my feeling is uneasiness with them as Syed is also boboiboy of Madhater!

Maharashtra
Maharashtra
28 Jul 2023 7.13pm
Reply to  Sheena

Anil should go to Bayan Lepas to check the residents sentiments sincdvit is a key speaker to watch. Dominic must get the local malays to support him. He could get some Indian support by playing up the Emperor issue.

luca
luca
29 Jul 2023 12.13pm
Reply to  Maharashtra

Bayan Lepas Nomination centre: Utusan Malaysia reported that Dominic Lau’s entourage seemed to be lacking in fanfare, compared with the crowd of about 300 people who had gathered to support the Pakatan Harapan (PH) candidate Azrul Mahathir Aziz, who is from Amanah.

PAS boycott Dominic?

shriek
shriek
30 Jul 2023 7.27pm
Reply to  luca

300 all from outside, perak, kedah, selangor just to join the festive??

luca
luca
26 Jul 2023 11.43am

MYR vs SGD – Why Are We So Behind?

https://youtube.com/watch?v=M4AHnw3aPKo&feature=youtu.be

Simple and easy to follow explanation that our politicians could not articulate.

Shriek
Shriek
29 Jul 2023 5.09pm
Reply to  luca

Not articute but dare not to tell why ketuan is 3 times less or smaller. Why red dot is small but $$$ mighty bigger.

luca
luca
25 Jul 2023 8.19pm

Starlink is officially available in Malaysia and you can now place orders for their Starlink satellite broadband kit. This is a satellite broadband service under SpaceX which provides high-speed broadband with lower latency than traditional GEO satellites.

Anwar implies Elon Musk’s Starlink is cheaper than 5G. But is it true?

https://soyacincau.com/2023/07/24/anwar-implies-elon-musks-starlink-is-cheaper-than-5g/

IQ900
IQ900
28 Jul 2023 6.52pm
Reply to  luca

Good to have competition to drive price down to the benefit of consumers!

Maharashtra
Maharashtra
1 Aug 2023 5.35pm
Reply to  IQ900

Is this why Fahmi said Internet will be cheaper soon?

Haris
Haris
24 Jul 2023 3.10pm

Why you say PTMP a flop? It is an ongoing improvement project. It shows the ignorance and naivety of Penang Forum when things not going their way.

luca
luca
24 Jul 2023 10.29pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

Actually it can be seen as a success if you consider conceding 2 islands for full federal government financing of LRT. If it is a preplanned strategy, then it is a masterstroke instead of a fl0p?

Esme
Esme
25 Jul 2023 2.20pm
Reply to  luca

Not easy to get money from the federal government. So CM Chow must be a genius to use 2-yet-to-be-built islands as leverage for full LRT financing. So far only Cuepecs can easily influence the federal government in spending more money for civil servants’ pay and benefits.

Mike
Mike
24 Jul 2023 11.39pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

The answer can be clearer after the state election.

If use federal money, other states may not be pleased eg East Malaysians can question why to upgrading for Trans-Borneo transport system?

Shriek
Shriek
25 Jul 2023 3.34pm
Reply to  Mike

Why they no KbKb when malu boss throw billions to klang valley MRT?

GK Abdulah
GK Abdulah
25 Jul 2023 5.26pm
Reply to  Mike

Plenty of money available at federal if there is no corruption and mismanagement. That is why we must keep DSAI for another 4 years to see the improvement.

Shriek
Shriek
25 Jul 2023 3.33pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

Anwar yield to fishermen. But does he has deep pockets? Fishermen now are mostly ar peks. Any survey on fishermen population and how many join after S6 or F3 or F5?

luca
luca
25 Jul 2023 7.21pm
Reply to  Shriek

Actually some old fishermen are now disappointed by the cancellation of two islands as they will not get compensation money as retirement benefits.

Shriek
Shriek
27 Jul 2023 6.27am
Reply to  luca

Election time, anything and everything. Boleh just as Malaysia boleh

luca
luca
27 Jul 2023 1.03pm
Reply to  Shriek

A RM100 ewallet credit will be given to Malaysian adults who earn less than RM100,000 annually, says Prime Minister Datuk Seri Anwar Ibrahim, in launching Madani Economy today.

Maharashtra
Maharashtra
28 Jul 2023 7.15pm
Reply to  luca

Anil, do you qualify for this Madani ewallet? Maybe your annual income exceed RM100K?

Wonderstar
Wonderstar
28 Jul 2023 7.32pm
Reply to  luca

Great news!

RM100 can provide me good breakfast for one month!

Healthy Be
13 Aug 2023 1.16pm

“Bad air is hurting the heart to death” dd Sunday, 13 Aug 2023 9:00 AM MYT https://www.thestar.com.my/lifestyle/health/2023/08/13/bad-air-is-hurting-the-heart-to-death ======== Ride a motorbike or drive a car with the window down. At the end of your trip smell your cloths and the car seats and you will get a very strong smell of Carbon Monoxide. How much of that do you think has gone into your body. Not only polluted air, we also have polluted water and polluted food heavy with toxic chemical. “These tiny particles are not picked up by the body’s defences and easily get inhaled, making their way into… Read more »

luca
luca
30 Jul 2023 12.22pm

Penang Transport Master Plan in Works : Hillside View, (April 2023), Penang Island, Malaysia

Esme
Esme
30 Jul 2023 9.25am

GEORGE TOWN, July 28 — Penang is set to become the MedTech Hub of Asia as the state’s exports in professional, scientific and controlling instruments and apparatus including medical devices continue to rise.

Penang’s exports in medical devices make up about 65 per cent on average of Malaysia’s total in the MedTech industry between 2017 and 2021.

https://www.malaymail.com/amp/news/malaysia/2023/07/25/penang-on-its-way-to-becoming-the-medtech-hub-of-asia-as-it-continues-to-draw-in-investors/81751

Shriek
Shriek
3 Aug 2023 6.11am
Reply to  Esme

In return what did PKR mp, adun and PKR federal gomen do? What reformation? Put all important posts to kai kee lang??

Sheena
Sheena
28 Jul 2023 11.25pm

PF recommends seeking world-renowned sustainable mobility planning experts, any idea which organisations or experts?

Shriek
Shriek
29 Jul 2023 5.11pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

NY? More road transport, flyovers and highways. King of the roads. Go dutch and see how pedestrian friendly.

luca
luca
4 Aug 2023 8.49pm
Reply to  Shriek

Here’s a Boney M’s classic song specially for Shriek – King of the Road:

Maharashtra
Maharashtra
1 Aug 2023 5.37pm
Reply to  Anil Netto

New York? Have jou seen their old subway system?

Should consult Shanghai Transport University.

Shriek
Shriek
3 Aug 2023 6.14am
Reply to  Maharashtra

What is Penang sain uni being doing? What about tarc and MCA uni? Another bayan lepas factory mass production factory???

luca
luca
4 Aug 2023 8.52pm
Reply to  Shriek

You miss out Wawasan University from Gerakan. Open, but not sure got course on transportation or not.

Sheena
Sheena
28 Jul 2023 11.09pm

PTMP who can deliver for Penang ordinary folks like me ?

Gerakan – a bunch of jokers, no way.

MUDA – it’s leader a likely proxy of Apanama, so out of caution I ditch.

UMNO – still war lord mentality n ethnic based so no way.

Bersatu – Sheraton move still pisses me off so no way.

PAS – I passed out

DAP – The “Emperor” wants to return to forefront state politic, so I now hesitate to vote.

So Anil, where’s the 3rd Force?

Maharashtra
Maharashtra
29 Jul 2023 3.26pm
Reply to  Sheena

Any further details on the Emperor issue?

Seems like the Emperor is creating a Suoer Exco position, as widely speculated.

luca
luca
26 Jul 2023 8.45pm

Gerakan president Dominic Lau is facing further resistance from PAS members in Penang against him contesting in “Malay” seats.

Bayan Lepas PAS members staged a protest against the PN leader, threatening to boycott him if he contests the Bayan Lepas seat.

https://m.malaysiakini.com/news/673302

Mike
Mike
24 Jul 2023 11.36pm

Start from the very basics.

Improvise delivery of RapidPenang eg overhaul?

Make it more competitive with another company running the feeder mini bus system?

Program to encourage more to take RapidPenang can be boosted after free monthly rides for the locals ?

Again, need to emphasize the basics of public transport.

Shriek
Shriek
27 Jul 2023 6.25am
Reply to  Mike

Free buses, plenty passengers. Free period over, back to square one. Penang kias mentality.