Master plan recommends BRT, trams for Penang


“Moving to a higher quality Light Rail Transit or Monorail system is unlikely to be justified,” say traffic consultants hired by the state government to formulate a Penang traffic master plan.

They have instead proposed a bus rapid transit and a tram-based system under a ‘balanced approach vision’ .

Make sure you check out their final draft Penang traffic master plan and submit your own views. See the programme below for public display dates and times.

The consultants actually came up with two alternative approaches for the master plan: the Highway Improvement-Based Approach and the Balanced Approach Vision.

The Highway Improvement-Based Approach consists of a Core Package along with:

  • the Third Crossing,
  • Cross City Link from Jelutong to Air Itam bypass,
  • North Coast Pair Road,
  • Air Itam to Relau Pair Road and
  • the North-South Expressway Link

Costs estimated at RM12.5bn.

We can toss out this approach as it is, quite simply, unsustainable – a recipe for congestion. This approach was probably included as the state government seemed keen on going down this road, so to speak.

So let’s look at the Balanced Approach Vision, which consists of the Core Package along with

  • the Penang Outer Ring Bypass,
  • the North-South Expressway Link on the mainland (to overcome congestion on the untolled section),
  • BRT, trams, ferries, commuter rail and
  • George Town/Butterworth access charges

Under the balanced approach, new roads would only be “introduced to facilitate the reallocation of road space from private vehicles to public transport – They will not be promoted as a means of increasing highway capacity.”

This approach also recommends road user charges targeted at private vehicles entering George Town and Butterworth. Money collected from these charges could be used to fund more public transport initiatives. Might I add, if there is a change of government at federal level, the toll from the Penang Bridge should also be used to fund public transport in the state.

But watch out for the proposed Penang Outer Ring Bypass. The consultants themselves warn: “The Outer Bypass has detrimental impacts in the outer areas of George Town, affecting the edge of the Penang Hills and the setting of the Botanical Gardens.” So I wonder why this was recommended as an option at all.

Reading between the lines, I sense the consultants have rejected the tunnel as a feasible option anytime in the near future. And they warn that major highways are likely to be environmentally controversial.

According to the consultants, the best public transport option under the ‘balanced approach’ would be for a Bus Rapid Transit or a tram-based system. They point out the need for somenthing different – because the “retention of buses on all routes, even in prioritised bus lanes, does not afford public transport the required image to make it a mass people mover”.

“Moving to a higher quality Light Rail Transit or Monorail system is unlikely to be justified.

“Nonetheless, in implementing a Bus Rapid Transit/Tram system, there would be merit in migrating from the current situation, through bus prioritisation to the ultimate solution.”

See the Penang Transport Council website for more details.

We must say NO to unsustainable transport options that are based on private motor vehicles. Say no to major new roads that will only encourage more private motor vehicles.

Instead, ask for more sustainable transport and public transport options (including buses, cycling, improved pedestrian networks).

Public Displays:

Penang Island

3rd Floor Foyer Area Mon-Friday 16 to 20 April, 2012 9.00AM to 5.00PM
Komtar, Pulau Pinang Mon-Friday 23 to 27 April, 2012 9.00AM to 5.00PM

Sunshine Farlim Mall Saturday 21 April 2012 10.00AM to 5.00PM

Gurney Mall Saturday 28 April 2012 10.00AM to 5.00PM

Penang Mainland

Ground Floor Foyer Area
MPSP Offices Mon-Friday 16 to 20 April,2012 9.00AM to 5.00PM
Mon-Friday 23 to 27 April, 2012 9.00AM to 5.00PM

Sunway Carnival Mall Saturday 21 April 2012 10.00AM to 5.00PM

Jusco Perda Mall Saturday 28 April 2012 10.00AM to 5.00PM

Public Workshops:

Thursday 3rd May 2012 Registration 9.15AM Workshop 10.00AM to 1.00PM

Saturday 5th May 2012 Registration 10.15AM Workshop 11.00AM to 2.00PM

Venue for both Workshops: Kompleks Masyarakat Penyayang, Georgetown, Penang

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22 Oct 2012 2.13pm

They’re still trying to relate buses, it won’t work. No matter how many buses are added on the road to plight the routes, especially in the Island. One factor they aren’t concluding are the weathers. Its a sweating hot weather in Penang. MRT’s in Singapore are underground, well most of the lines anyway.

17 Apr 2012 10.47am

We should discourage car ownership and promote more public transportation.

However, I am very disapointed by our nation’s policy of Proton.
Proton already bought by Hicom, a private entity, right?
Then why the launching of Proton Preve was shown live on national tv last nite?

Wonder why Perkasa did not complain about the name Preve.
Why not use the BM equivalent of Proton Bukti?

17 Apr 2012 12.08pm
Reply to  Aries

I agree. Proton Preve or Pudah makes no difference, sucking national resource, including airtime on RTM.

ong eu soon
ong eu soon
14 Apr 2012 11.19pm

What happened to the previous 4 reports on Penang Transportation, the state government should publish those reports? Why the secrecy?

semuanya OK kot
semuanya OK kot
14 Apr 2012 1.45pm

Key phrases like “master plan”, instead of signalling order, are symptomatic of the disease of capitalism. This year’s spending must be more than last years’s, and next years must be even more. So, ways must be found to squeeze individuals and businesses even more. The “religious” BJP of India was kicked out after one term because they were so corrupt. For e.g., the electricity they contracted from (American co.) … was just like the Malaysian IPP arrangement – so expensive that the state could afford to accept only the minimum supply, and generated the rest on its own. As seen… Read more »

14 Apr 2012 10.42am

got and get latest Bulletin Mutiara available at many shopping centres around Penang. There are pull-out report on Draft Transport Master Plan.

Better still go and view them in detail and propose your comments at Komtar from next week.

17 Apr 2012 10.49am
Reply to  rilakkuma

Good to see you back after so long. Your comments are always good. Keep it up!

Andrew I
Andrew I
13 Apr 2012 11.10pm

Are you talking about the freedom of a car park?

Gerakan K
Gerakan K
13 Apr 2012 6.29pm

Trams ???!!! So old and dusty tech ~ Buy a Viva lah. Cheap, got air cond and freedom.

Ric Francis
Ric Francis
14 Apr 2012 8.03am
Reply to  Gerakan K

What dream world do you live in You smell of petrol fumes
The world is moving to fast for your thoughts LRT & trams are more modern through out the world.Most countries are going LRT