Penang, LRT, Tram or whatever transportation system

My Penangite friends said, the jam is becoming worst in Penang! I think, not yet. However, it has deteriorated significantly if compared to when I first arrived in Penang to work in 1998. At that time, even the town areas are ok and I can be in Tanjung Bungah within less than 30 minutes, most of the time, from town. Today, I dare not say so. Sometimes, it may be one hour or more. During peak hours, if you are trying to cross the bridge, I think it would best that you have your meal first. Yes, there’s the second bridge but if you are from town, trying to go to Ipoh, it is impossible for you to use the second bridge right? Anyway, jams in Penang are still nowhere near to KL type of jams as at now. However, be reminded that as soon the jams in Penang become worse, it will be worst very much faster compared to KL. Reason? KL still have public transport and with MRT coming up, it does seem rosier within a few years’ time.

tramsToday, in the state legislative assembly sitting, in his opening speech, the governor of Penang called on Putrajaya to approve the state’s application for tram and Light Rail Transit (LRT) systems. This is because, Penang needs better public transport to resolve the growing traffic congestion. He said, ‘Putrajaya needs to show a clear commitment to assist the state in implementing these systems by either funding these systems or allowing the state to run these systems on its own,”. He said that the state has also applied to the federal government for licences to run the tram, LRT or other types of public transportation systems together with the private sector.

Personally, LRT is better than tram, by far. Please, if the state government really wants to proceed, LRT should be the way and not tram. However, it’s always chicken and egg situation. Should you force more people to use the existing public transport first or build it first. Reason being, the current parking fees are still low and even the mindset is that, only the poor uses the public transport. ‘If I am a senior executive or higher, I am not going to be sandwiched like a sardine during peak hours.’ I prefer to drive. 2 years ago, in my previous company, I told my staffs during a heavy jam in Georgetown. The state should increase the parking fees, especially during weekdays and also if the parking spaces are nearby a bus stop. This is because if they can park there, they should also be able to take a bus there. You may think I am joking but fyi, this is how a lot of countries in the world control the car population. In Hong Kong, a car park can be RM1,500 per month or higher. In Singapore, it’s even worse, everywhere you go in the CBD area, you will pay, pay and pay and all HDB flats do not come with any car parks.

The state is on the right track, with car free days on certain roads, just continue this to include more and more roads. Then, increase the parking fees and issue summons to any cars which are parked haphazardly. With a LRT system many years away even if approved and tens of thousands of news cars being sold every year, Penang better has something up its sleeve and implement it quickly. Please do not go for trams. Think on a much longer term. If trams work and it is so called ‘less pollution’ option, majority of all the cities in the world are already on trams. They are not.

written on 20 May 2014

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8 thoughts on “Penang, LRT, Tram or whatever transportation system

  1. Hi Chialih,

    I have a question and don’t understand, if Tram or LRT is the main focus to mitigate the traffic congestion in Penang, why it has never been initiated in the first place as priority rather than 3rd link tunnel was proposed first instead.

    • I m also supporter of a third link. Tunnel or bridge is ok. The third link is for both mainland n island integration. The lrt is for improvement within island. I do not foresee it going till mainland. Island is small, roads are narrow, cars are increasing. Need a solution to start soon.

    • State gov tried to push for LRT but Fed gov did not bonder to response so they have no choice but to push for 3rd link. The approval of any grounds trasport like train, overhead bridges is fall under the authority of gov…if they dont approve…Penang will not get anything…so they state gov explore the loophole of the laws to push for underground bridges (law does not state underground transport is controlled by Fed gov). this is what i understand!

      • Hi DC,

        Thanks for your clarification, it seems the political factor resulted in this phenomenal, in the end, it does not benefit to anyone if both keep deviating to each others. I think that they should be putting more focus on solving issue rather than political matter. that should be the better way to prove themselves, you are thinking of Rakyat as main priority.

        I wonder that how likely is going to be when 3rd link is up, the whole Penang may encounter extreme of traffic congestion as our existing infra remain or slightly improved. besides, you may be facing another issue with high property price in that area as the 3rd link deal was exchanged in land with China developer. maybe I am wrong. my 2 cents.

      • Typo error with some correction, please ignore my previous posting to you.

        Hi DC,

        Thanks for your clarification, it seems the political factor resulted in this phenomenal, in the end, it does not benefit to anyone if both keep deviating to each others. I think that they should be putting more focus on solving issue rather than political matter. that should be the better way to prove themselves, you are thinking of Rakyat as main priority.

        I wonder that how likely is going to be when 3rd link is up, the whole Penang may encounter extreme of traffic congestion as our existing infra remain or slightly improved. besides, Penang may be facing another issue with high property price in that area as the 3rd link deal is, using lands to exchange with developer. developer absorb all the costs under this project, maybe I am wrong. my 2 cents.

  2. Hi Chialih,

    Actually, I also do support the Tunnel project because of improvement in traffic between Penang island and mainland, nevertheless, internal infrastructure of Penang need to be further improved aggressively to cater to congestion of traffic more than mainland due to the constraint of land size, unfortunately, the pace seems to be not keeping up or even align with the new property development, as noticed, the property developing keep sprouting especially high rise, unfortunately, our existing infra is not keep up to the same pace, the situation will get worse if it remains or without putting more effort on Penang island as a main priority, in long term, it may affect the quality of life especially longer travel time due to traffic congestion, it is waste of time and energy, my 2 cents.

  3. I am not from Penang. I do support any public transportation that ease traffics jam but it’s need to be feasibility study the needs.

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