Rapid Penang is hoping a new strategy in commuting will help reduce traffic congestion by between 20% and 40% in high density areas in the state. The plan is expected to be launched within the next two months pending approval from the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD), according to a report by The Sun Daily.

Rapid Penang chief operating officer Mohd Azmi Abdullah said the strategy uses the same approach as the spoke-hub distribution model, where smaller feeder buses will gather passengers from various points in one locality hub before dropping them off at a centralised bus stop.

From there, a fleet of bigger buses will pick up the passengers in stages before driving to the final interchange stop, which is the main public bus terminal located in Komtar. This approach, Azmi explained, would help lower the frequency of all public buses travelling into town during peak hours.

“If there are no passengers at that juncture, the buses will not ply the route. The main pick up would be before, during and after office hours,” he said. Rapid Penang would also be able to free up space on congested roads in town as there would be a bigger load of passengers aboard its larger buses.

The spoke-hub method’s success in other countries served as the inspiration for Rapid Penang to try it out in the state, and has been known to improve logistical needs in the aviation and shipping industry. A pilot programme will first be introduced in April at Air Itam, which is notorious for its traffic crawls and narrow roads.