TRANSIT took note of this creatively headlined article in the Star referring to the approval of the “Bridge Express Shuttle Transit” or “BEST” service which will begin operations on 1 March 2011
‘Best’ news for commuters (The Star)
6 January 2011
By PRISCILLA DIELENBERG
GEORGE TOWN: The free Bridge Express Shuttle Transit (Best) service to transport commuters from Seberang Jaya to factories in the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone on the island will start on March 1.
Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng announced that the “park and ride” system was approved at the state executive council meeting yesterday.
Under the system, Lim said, the commuters need only pay for the parking of their vehicles in Seberang Jaya while the state would supply the buses to transport them for free.
He said that Best service was open to all, and would focus on the Bayan Lepas FIZ for a start.
“Anyone can ride but the destination is only the factories in Bayan Lepas, not anywhere else,” he told a press conference at his office in Komtar here.
Lim said that with this service, motorists could save up to RM250 a month on the Penang Bridge toll and petrol.
He said the state would hold awareness and publicity programmes for greater participation, adding that details of the system would be fine-tuned and announced by state Local Government and Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow.
Chow, who was present, said that for a start, 10 buses would be deployed to shuttle commuters from 6am to 9am and from 4pm to 7pm Monday to Friday, which is when most factory workers would be commuting.
“We have done a survey among the factories in Bayan Lepas where 1,100 workers have shown interest in joining this programme,” he said.
Chow said a bus shelter was being built at the Sunway Carnival Mall in Seberang Jaya which would be the initial pick-up and drop-off point, while 50 to 60 stops would be put up in front of various factories in Bayan Lepas.
“We will have two or three routes to serve all the factories,” he said, adding that the system should help to reduce the number of vehicles on Penang island and traffic congestion.
Lim said Best was aimed at helping to reduce the financial burden of lower income workers, especially in view of the announcement by the Federal Government to increase the price of RON97 by 10 sen to RM2.40.
“This is our effort to reach out to help Malaysian workers fight the fuel price increase and subsidy reduction, which we feel is unfair as it is only borne by the poorer segments of society and not by the rich companies.
“The state government is concerned as this is the second time within a month that the price of petrol has gone up,” said Lim.
BEST sounds like one of the most interesting ideas in public transport that we have heard recently.
We are especially pleased to see the state take the initiative to fund public transport services (contracted to RapidPenang) instead of sitting back and saying that public transport was “a federal responsibility.”
As we have said before, we hope to see a stronger, proactive and positive relationship between the Penang State Government and RapidPenang, with the goal of improving all forms of active and public transport in the state.
The next step to take is a pretty simple one – get Azhar Ahmed, CEO of RapidPenang a seat on the Penang Transport Council.
Then, start talking to the Penang Bridge Concessionaire about bus lanes on the bridge.
As always, your thoughts & comments are welcome.