Penang transport masterplan: Back to the drawing board


On Sunday, while I was waiting for someone outside a mall in mainland Penang, I observed the throngs of people arriving to shop or hang out with friends.

What surprised me was how many people alighted from what looked like Uber or Grab cars. They were mostly young people – both male and female, three or four in a car – or entire families.

There is no doubt that this phenomenon has changed the dynamics and projections of what we can expect in the future. Perhaps more young people and retirees (most likely, we will see an ageing population in the future) won’t need a car of their own especially if fuel, insurance costs, and car prices continue to rise.

Now that SRS Consortium’s shopping list of massive transport spending, to be funded by land reclamation totalling 4,500 acres, is in limbo – no one knows when or if these plans will receive federal approvals – it is time to go back to the drawing board and look at more sustainable and affordable alternatives.

A good starting point would be the original Halcrow transport masterplan – minus what the state government wanted the consultants to include (eg the tunnel). This masterplan looked at measures that could be introduced in the near future apart from outlining a system of bus rapid transit and elevated or segregated-lane trams.

Going back to the drawing board would also mean working more closely with RapidPenang to expand the bus system, especially introducing feeder buses (for the last mile in housing areas), bus lanes and more flexible and affordable bus season tickets. Now that RapidPenang is taking over the Penang ferry operations – after they were discarded by the privatised Penang port operators – Rapid could better integrate its buses with the ferry services. Yes, the number of ferries and their frequency must be increased. Perhaps coastal ferry services could be introduced too.

We also have to figure out how Uber, Grab and future ride-sharing modes fit into this whole model.

The Penang Transport Council has rarely met this year. Not that it mattered as basically, the state government is aligned to the SRS shopping list of mega projects. The longer the federal government takes to approve the SRS plans, the more time we have to come up with an alternative vision of sustainable mobility for Penang.

So we have a window of opportunity to call for a more credible transport blueprint. Let’s make use of it.

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The same people who try to remove Lynas are the same one now who want to undertake massive land reclamation by giving all sorts of excuses. So, whither Malaysia? Next GE, I will dump my ballot paper. Sorry DAP. You’re no better than BN.


Singapore’s first large-scale electric-car sharing programme officially rolled out on Tuesday (Dec 12), with 80 hatchbacks and 32 charging stations offering some 120 charging points available for public use.

It is the first step of a plan to put 1,000 of such zero-emission cars on the roads for public use, along with 2,000 charging points, by 2020. This puts it on track to be the second-largest electric-car sharing programme in the world.


Yes. Please do not burn more fossil fuel to cause global warming!


Electric and hybrid cars are the future of driving, with countries intensifying efforts to cut greenhouse gas emissions.


Latest BBC podcast:
Smart Cities: Transport

Jane Wakefield hears from the BBC’s South America correspondent Katy Watson in Sao Paulo about the traffic jams which make commutes so hard, from Rahul Tandon in Kolkata about why driving to work in India can be a day’s work in itself, and from Regan Morris in traffic-clogged Los Angeles. Jane speaks to some of the people using new technology for transport solutions including Hyperloop’s Dirk Ahlborn, and to Sami Sahala from Helsinki, where driverless buses are already in circulation – apart from when it snows…


What happened to the better, cheaper, faster campaign? seems to have quietened down

On PTMP, I think we will know better after GE 14

Kah Seng

Is this the original Halcrow Report 1998?


Smart person to use report written 20 years ago to build infra for next 100 years transport plan. Report miss out uber, grab and rapid buses.

Kah Seng

Uber, Grab and other sharing technology will change “public” transport completely.

Trunk line buses and perpendicular routes of minibuses forming a network will work much better, even encouraging entrepreneurship. Like Hong Kong.

Decentralized, market demand driven, modular investments, flexible, entrepreneurial.

Especially in the cities. Dinosaur vs the mammals.


Mini bus? ask central gomen. Wonder if mca transport has a say? Why pg forum don’t engage with central gomen as c