LRT rail pix Bernama

With a rapidly increasing vehicle-to-population ratio, Penangites’ excessive dependence on private transportation has lead to the most severe traffic congestions the island has ever seen. To tackle the issue, transport experts say that Penang is in need of an LRT system, The Star reports.

At the moment, public transportation on the island is said to be facing challenges. Some of these include inadequate connectivity, lack of infrastructure, narrow roads and low frequency of bus services.

Goh Bok Yen, director of MAG Technical and Development Consultant and a transport expert as well, feels that a rail-based transit system should be a central component of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP). He believes a light rail transit (LRT) system is relevant for the island.

“It is important to have an urban rapid transit system that is user-friendly and that supports occupancy (ridership) rate,” he said. Goh notes that basic transport elements are key to creating a liveable city.


Stuart Macdonald, Fellow at the Penang Institute and Head of Urban Studies believes that high-capacity and high-efficiency modes of transport will do Penang a great service in terms of meeting transportation needs. However, a set criteria needs to be followed beforehand – it’s also a criteria that could potentially turn drivers into commuters.

Macdonald explained that the ‘3Cs’ (cost, convenience and comfort) criteria is needed when designing such transport facilities. “The improved public transport system has to cost less than operating your own vehicle, and convenient to use in terms of distance from origin and destination,” he noted, adding that it needs to be comfortable as well.

Major Mohd Shukri Abdul Rahman chief operating officer of Rapid Penang notes that many workers from international manufacturing firms depend on affordable transportation. In that, he agreed that public transport is particularly important in high-density areas, an area which Rapid Penang is currently looking into.

So folks, do you agree with this view?