Following the positive response to the free Rapid Penang bus travel in 2022 through the use of the Pas Mutiara My50 travel pass, the Penang state government has agreed to continue funding for the programme in 2023, which means that those utilising the travel pass will continue to enjoy free rides on the Penang Rapid bus service next year.

This was announced by state infrastructure and transport exco member Zairil Khir Johari, who said that the number of subsidised passes will be increased to 150,000 for 2023, with RM7.5 million being allocated for the programme.

Penang started sponsoring the Pas Mutiara My50 unlimited travel pass in March 2021, with an allocation of 100,000 passes (equivalent to RM3 million) being offered that year. The subsidy continued in 2022 with an original allocation of RM4.5 million for 90,000 passes, but this was upped over the course of the year due to high demand.

“Taking note of the increase in Pas Mutiara card purchases and ridership on the service every month, the state government increased funding for the Pas Mutiara programme this year, adding 30,000 passes to make it 120,000 passes, with a total subsidy of RM6 million,” he said via a statement.

Zairil said that the state government believes that the subsidised travel pass can be a catalyst to attract more Penang residents to switch from private vehicles to public transport as their preferred mode of daily transport. “Indirectly, with the Pas Mutiara My50, users will reap cost savings from having to fork out less for petrol, parking and tolls every month,” he said.