Georgetown bicycle-sharing system – RM9.2 million

My Penangite friend said that her trip to KLIA2 was uncomfortable because it was jammed all the way from her office in downtown KL. Actually, if I am taking a flight from KLIA2, I would have taken the monorail to KL Sentral and from KL Sentral to KLIA2 via the ERL. Reason one, it’s much more convenient. Reason two, it’s much more safer, smoother and comfortable. This is the difference between KL and Penang. I agree totally that MRT is needed in KL. I agree also that the public transportation can be better than today. However, in my last trip back to Penang, I was caught in a 40 minute jam just from the stretch from Jalan Perak to Jelutong. There were no jams in Penang when I first started working there in 1998 after graduation. Yes, you can now guess my age. Haha. Today, jams are happening in many major roads and it’s getting worse every time I am in Penang.

I think some help may be coming. Penang has just awarded a RM9.2 million contract to a company called Public Bike Share Sdn Bhd to design, install, operate and maintain a bicycle-sharing system similar to that adopted by London, New York and Melbourne. This is a system whereby anyone with an access pass can pick up a bicycle at any station to cycle to their destination and return the bicycle there. Penang Chief Minister said that this will significantly relieve traffic congestion in Penang, improve visitors’ experience by making places accessible without a car. This new initiative will start from next May 2015 and the whole system will be operational by 2017. Overall operations cost for the system per year will be approximately RM750,000. The estimated operation cost per year will be approximately RM750,000. Public Bike Share will start to pay MPPP a concession fee of RM100,000 beginning year 7, RM200,000 for the eighth year followed by RM300,000 for the 9th to 12th year.

Personally, I hope the system can start earlier. I also hope more details such as the charges would be made public as soon as possible. There should also be a sharing of the minimum number of users needed for the system to be able to breakeven and maintain it’s continuous growth. I am sure it cannot have the same number of bicycles year after year. I think if I am staying nearby, I would be willing to give it a try. However, for those who is not staying nearby and they would like to use it, would there be places for them to park their car away from Georgetown and take the public transport into Georgetown to use the system? Would the stations be announced earlier as well? This would allow the public to feedback if the stations are not at the right places etc. Let’s hope everything can be answered soon and that the company can over deliver by starting earlier than May 2015.

written on 2 Aug 2014

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