Bike-share system set to start in Penang


The aim is to promote cycling as an alternative mode of transport in Penang. But more dedicated cycling lanes have to be introduced to make it safer for Penangites to cycle.

Penang bicycle share system

Statement from the Chief Minister:

Public Bike Share Sdn. Bhd Won The MPPP Tender For Design, Install, Operate And Maintain A Bicycle Sharing System In George Town, Penang For RM9.2 Million Funded By The Private Sector

Over the past few decades, Malaysia, and much of the world, began to embrace a car-centric transport culture, full of highways and car parks. The humble bicycle lost its place among the people following the influx of cars into our society.

As London, New York, Taipei and Melbourne opened up their streets with better infrastructure for cycling, Bike Share Systems in these cities have re-introduced cycling to our modern era. On such a system, no longer do you have to be tethered to your vehicle. With a simple access pass, you can pick up a bicycle at any station, Ride, Commute and Cycle to a destination of your choice, returning the bicycle there with ease and convenience.

In line with the state government’s vision of turning Penang into a bicycle state, it is with pleasure that I announce that Penang will be getting its own Bike Share system. This is a move to encourage Penangites to cycle as the first step to an evolution in the state’s transport system. The system is to promote cycling as an alternative mode of transport and to introduce a more healthy and environment-friendly scene. We believed that the system will significantly relieve traffic congestion in Penang, improve visitors’ experience by making places accessible without a car. This project supports the State Government’s commitment to a Cleaner, Greener, Safer and Healthier Penang, and is a stepping stone to a public transport future in Penang.

The Open Competitive Tender of RFP (Request For Proposal) For Design, Install, Operate and Maintain A Bicycle Sharing System In George Town began on 31/12/2013 and closed on 7/4/2014. MPPP received 4 tenders proposal after the deadline. Companies participating in the tender includes 2 companies from Penang, 1 company from KL and 1 from Selangor. Penangites-owned Public Bike Share Sdn. Bhd won the tender after numerous technical meetings and tender evaluation.

Public Bike Share Sdn. Bhd will bear all the cost of planning, preparing, operating and maintenance of the Bicycle Sharing System with a 12-years concession period. Estimated operation cost per year will be approximately RM 750,000. The company will pay MPPP a concession fee beginning from year-7, with RM100,000, year-8 of RM 200,000, and RM300,000 each year for year-9 to year-12, with a total sum of RM 1.5 million.

The rental of the bicycle will be by using a prepaid bike pass, credit card or Mobile app.

Once again Penang leads by becoming the first state in Malaysia that provides an automated bicycle sharing system. Penang will be able to enjoy a Bicycle sharing system with at least 25 stations, 1000 bicycles docks and 500 bicycles in the George Town area. The project will be on our street as early as May 2015, with the network planned to be completed by 2017. Assisting the state government and MPPP, Public Bike Share Sdn. Bhd. will undertake to realise a low carbon emitting, traffic congestion free future.

For each car on our roads, we can fit five bicycles on the same infrastructure. A bike share network will improve public transport networks via the introduction of a transport alternative, and ease overall traffic congestion in Penang. The initiative will kick start local businesses and cycling related enterprises, cementing Penang as our nation’s first cycling state and capital. Public Bike Share Sdn. Bhd will undertake the project with full private sector funding, with no contribution from the state government.

Just as cycling is gaining popularity in Penang, the Penang state government is committed to supporting this movement with better infrastructure. As such, we invite residents, tourists and businesses alike to get on your bicycles, and let us all ride together to turn Penang into Malaysia’s first cycling state.


Some questions arise:

  • What do you think of this concept?
  • What will it take for Penangites to turn to cycling?
  • Who are the key players, shareholders and directors behind Public Bike Share Sdn Bhd?
  • What do you think of the terms of the concession?
  • What were the rival bids like?
  • Will smaller bike rental shops be affected?
  • Does this go far enough? Should it be extended beyond George Town?
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
ong eu soon

Commonwealth reported that the Taipei City Government announced in July that it was going to invest NT$228 million (US$7.6 million) to turn YouBike around with the expectancy of expanding to nine areas in Taipei City, adding 5,000 bikes and an extra 162 rental stations over three years. The main goal is to help Taipei reduce its 5,021 metric tons of carbon emissions by 2018. US$7.6million for 5000. Each bike cost US$1520 or RM5016. This is the cost of Giant’s youbike in the year 2012. The cost of RM 18,400 per bike, quoted by Public Bike Share is clearly exaggerated. A… Read more »


Yeah-lah, how can the bike sharing system be self sustaining. Just like – how can low cost housing be self sustaining? Nothing is free. If you want the government to fully bear the cost – it just means the tax payers pay for it. As for the bike sharing system, I applaud the initiative, but am sceptical (although I don’t mind being proven wrong). Providing the infrastructure isn’t enough, mind set must change. And they still have not address the main concern – cycling in the city is relatively dangerous. For example, the buses provided by the state government for… Read more »

Walking is safer

Most dangerous road users in Penang are the motorcyclists (kap chai).
Should educate them on how to give way than zig-zag and vroom like nobody business.
Even car drivers are scared of them.
Then only people will take to cycling with peace of mind.


Penang CAT gomen can entice Tham Chiah Kui Penangites to cycle with incentives such as: 1) Free Teowchew Chendol 2) Free Nasi Kandar or 3) Free Laksa or a Free Ride (one trip) on Rapid Penang. for minimal 3 trips on bicycle (proven with membership card records) in a month. Example: 9 trips in a month = 3 x 1 Bowl of Chendol or mix of street food or 9 trips in a month = 3 x 1 Free Ride (one trip) on Rapid Penang Incentive Coupons to be stamped with membership card number with validity date. It will be… Read more »


3-in-1 experience (cycle + bus ride + makan), an experiential cycling marketing for both local cyclists & tourists.
The experiential potential can spill over into pictorial Instagram, Facebook & Pinterest.
Selfie is the rage right now.
Remember Walk Round Penang Island? Why not Cycle Round Penang Island?
Chap Goh Meh, also a memory night to carry your lovers on bicycles! Vietnam style!
Good night. Time to dream (small) some more.

ong eu soon

Your Penang laksa and chendol is more expensive than the bike rental. What make you guys think that bike sharing is a big time lucrative business.

ong eu soon

if lim guan eng refuse to withdraw the tender award and apologize. I will issue an article challenging the decision of the state government and make him the greastest laughing stock in Bolehland. I have finally figured out how to write a beautiful letter to editors which you will surely admit that I am the greastest when come to defeat this Penang state government.


I LOL at following statement:

“But more dedicated cycling lanes have to be introduced to make it safer for Penangites to cycle.”

it’s not safe for cycling now. Don’t be a stupid follower listening to the racist CM banning non local in hawkers stalls.

ong eu soon

From pure mathematical calculation, you know that there is no way Public Bike Share can survive. Not only it can’t recover the capital investment, it has to pay concessions of RM1.5million begining year 7th. God and nature only help those who are sincere … not some stupid .. who want to make fast buck. Simple calculation also don’t know you expect the guys to create miracle? Lim Guan Eng should apologize and withdraw the tender award to save PublicBike Share. The tender board should call each bidder to give a real presentation with sufficient time given. Stop this stupidity before… Read more »

ong eu soon

The worst thing in this Bolehland there is always somebody who dare to challenge me on my experiences and expertise. Wait until you read my proposal and business proforma and tell me who is the real professional.

ong eu soon

Public Bike Share invested A capital cost of RM9.2million for 500 bikes. With yearly operating cost of RM750000. Giant with 5000 bikes in Taipei managed to archieve 10million ridership. Assuming Public Bike Share also capable of archieving the same target, then with 500bikes, the ridership will be 1 million. Let say Public Bike Share claims RM1million per year. Minus the operating cost of RM75000, IT WILL BE LEFT WITH RM250,000. Investing RM9.8million for a return of mere RM250,000. You better keep the money in the bank with 3%interest you get better return. How can MPPP select a vendor without a… Read more »


The Penang CM has accountancy background. I trust that he has done his homework.

Eu Soon should not be too hard on such initiative. I suggest he spend time providing his expertise and feedback towards those wastages by the government agencies that had been highlighted in the AG’s Report.


Coupled with behind the scene arrangement

ong eu soon

7A claimable deal is not a free deal.I’m Guan Eng is misleading the public by telling the public that the bike sharing scheme is private fund. The other bidders are denied the same rights and opportunities to compete. Invest RM20milion and claim RM20million every year without limit who dare not give you a private funding bike sharing scheme. I can invest RM20million and give you 10,000 bikes without hesitation. 5000 for the island and 5000 for the mainland. All deployed within a year no need to wait until 2017. All bankers will queue to give me money. All ah long… Read more »

ong eu soon

I just get a confirmation regarding the subsidiaries for the 1st half hour of bike usage which allow claim without limit. If we were given the same terms and conditions, we also can give you a private funding bike sharing scheme. The question here is if I invested RM 20 million for the facilities , will you allow me to claim RM20million a year. Giant this year poised to claim RM20million from Taipei City Council. The ridership of youbike hit 10million mark on May this year. My system cost less than RM20million for 5000 bikes. Why the unfair bidding? Stop… Read more »


White elephant??? Maybe the cm should show leadership by example and use the bicycle to work.

ong eu soon

I conducted 2 economy lectures over Skype for the US and the UK suppliers, the US supplier who accepted my advices today have more potential leads to close than he can image. Everyone want to make fast buck without caring for the customers’ survival. Lim Guan Eng is such a fool … Just look into the cost different between my system and Gaint system, you will realise that the cost if Gaint system become exorbitant compared to mine. The most incredible is that they will stick to Haunt to get the system even at exorbitant cost. That is how I… Read more »


Learn some tips on how to cycle safely in the city from this youtube clip:

ong eu soon

According to Haunt, each of the system’s bikes costs about NT$10,000 (US$330) because they are designed to withstand frequent use. The bicycles are built to be used 13 times a day on average, much more often than the twice a day use that most other bicycles average, the company said. 13 times a day is a world record for bike sharing. Most other. Bike share only average twice a day due to high usage fees and lack of economic scale. To make the usage rate as low as possible, you need to have the economic scale to absorb the capital… Read more »

ong eu soon

The net profit for Giant is NT$10.1million not RM10.1 million.

ong eu soon

Giant suffered losses from 2009 to 2012, until the Taipei city Council agree to bailout Gaint by subsidizing the 1st half hour of bike usage. In the 2013 financial report, the operating income of NT$123.93 million is consist of mainly the subsidies for 1st half hour of bike usage. That finally gave Gaint a net profit of RM10.1 million. When I plan for the proposal, the system is designed for non profit venture which mean that we keep the profit as low as possible. The best deal I ever broker for the state government. The operating cost has no mark… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

TAIPEI, Taiwan — The Department of Transportation of the Taipei City Government (臺北市政府交通局) released the 2013 Financial Report of the YouBike system yesterday, following a report that accused the department of approving subsidies inappropriately. In a news article released earlier yesterday, a reporter analyzed the system’s current data to conclude that a single YouBike is usually rented for an average of 15 minutes per session by users, whereas the system only starts charging riders after the first 30 minutes and the government pays for the initial “free” time. The finding led the reporter to deduce that the department over-subsidizes by… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

No right thinking businessman will ever propose to you a private funding project that allow you to claim exorbitant fees for the 1st half hour of bike usage as in the case of Giant Bicycle in Taipei. Giant Bicycle invested about RM 25 million to deploy more than 5000 bikes in Taipei. The yearly claim of RM 10 million is a controversial in nature. Taipei bike share has 10 million ridership per year. The City Council paid the 1st half hour of bike usage at 10 Taiwan Dollar,which is approximately RM1. 10 million ridership per year amount to RM 10… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

I have put up a good fight for this project. I have substantiate support from the civil servants. I only lose to a few politicians. The MPPP has to delay the decision making due to strong objection internally.


Ah Soo Ko, why not approach Rapid Penang to propose a “Ride (A Bus) & Cycle” dual transportation system? It can be wholly privatised or partially subsidised (a more realistic way) by Federal. This has a wider impact on public transportation for the whole state of Penang & may well meet your business projection to break even. I empathise with some of your points but then again seek out other avenues & not let your bike-share dream (to share with others) go down the drain. At least, the state gomen has seen your proposal & capability. My Penang Street Food… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

You can see clearly the signature of Lim Guan Eng on this project. Another private funded, no need money invested project without revealing (many of) the real terms and conditions or concession. Is this another coincidence? I predicted this will happen from the very being. I knew they will learn from Giant and Taipei City Council. What Lim Guan Eng never told you is that Giant was bailout by Taipei City Council with the subsidiaries for the 1st half hour of usage. What Lim Guan Eng never reveal is whether he also agree to this subsidiaries for the 1st half… Read more »


One small bicycle-share for Penangites, one giant sustainable green initiative for Malaysia.
Cheers Kopi-O kau kau to CM Lim Guan Eng.

Take it as a positive step, but caution as the devil is in the details.

Having not cycled for 34 years, I wonder how to balance while wearing a sarong & riding a Bengali bicycle like Charlie Chaplin!

Ong Eu Soon

I have purposely enter the bidding with a Penang based company. The whole purpose is to see for myself the so call hanky panky in the open tender system. I was given 30 minutes for my presentation. It took me 45 minutes just to introduce the products and the systems. I have no chances in drilling deep into the business decision making process, projected demand, expected revenues, marketing strategies, and others. I was not provided with any microphone or loud speaker for speaking to a big crowd of audiences. I really wonder if they can hear what I said. We… Read more »

Ong Eu Soon

If the project really only consists of 500 bikes, Lim Guan Eng is really doing a disservice to himself, his friends, his supporters and the people. To take 2 years to deploy 500 bikes you better close shop, no money to make. No ability to survive. You can only say this; Incredible! Lim Guan Eng didn’t realise the political impact that a successful system would bring to his administration. The failure of this system will once again proved that he is totally incompetent as a Chief Minister…

Ong Eu Soon

If Public Bike Share need the time from May 2015 to 2017 to deploy 500 bikes, how can you expect it to survive. The operating cost will always be there, it will not be significantly change whether you deploy 100 or 500 bikes. If the system really only has 500 bikes then you can conclude now that it is destine to die prematurely. It make no business sense to invest RM 9.2 million for 500 bikes to deploy from 2015 to 2017. Bike sharing should be treated as a public transportation services, not a profit making venture for business novice.… Read more »


Currently my Wife and I cycle regularly to/from our home in Pepper Estate. They are second hand Japanese imports and were bought about eight months ago in Armenian street. They have three gears and both bikes run well. We brought the bikes for RM550.00. We enjoy the round trip from Pepper Estate to George Street, and can park them anywhere; enjoying a stop to view the sights, or have a Teh Tarik or Kopi wherever we like. There are no deadlines to keep and no cost involved. In fact, apart from breathing in the haze on many days, our fitness… Read more »


Michael, I love what you said about cycling in Penang.
It just bring back good oldie memories of my Carlton Raleigh cycling days of the 70s.
Free, Easy & Breezy Cycling.
Yes, who need a bin-chui expensive bicycle to kick start a personal cycling habit?
(unless one is in competitive cycling or loaded to compete with thy peers’ bin-chui cycling)

Ong Eu Soon

If the bike share is subsidized as in the case of Giant. With 5000, Giant claimed RM10million per year. If you operate for 10 years, you will be able to claim RM100million. This is a very lucrative business when you can pay only RM15million at one lump sum.