Tag Archives: Penang Government

‘Solutions’ to public transport problems focusing on the bus industry, not public transport users

By now everyone should be aware that a major crisis is taking place in the bus industry.

The shut down of CityLiner bus services throughout was the major ‘tipping pint’ in a series of crises [TRANSIT: refer to our “No Bus for You” series of posts] that showed the precarious state of public transport and the bus industry – and made it clear that SPAD has lost the plot by focusing on the MRT project rather than revamping & transforming public transport.

The nation-wide collapse of bus services are continuing, despite the recent announcement that the Malaysian Government has approved an RM400mn fund for public transport operators. Applications for this fund began earlier this week and SPAD intends to release the first Rm100mn as soon as possible.

TRANSIT notes that the government is stepping in with the financial aid to bus operators. We also note that Prasarana-RapidKL have talked about improving cooperation (actually, we should say “starting” cooperation) with private bus operators to reduce wasteful competition on different routes. At the same time, taxi drivers and other bus companies are benefiting from the lack of competition in the Klang area since CityLiner shut down bus services, affecting thousands of public transport users.

However, we need the government, SPAD and Prasarana-RapidKL to acknowledge that their “solutions” are not holistic and not sustainable. The problem is that they are focusing on short-term solutions for the crisis, not long-term solutions that will make public transport work, sustainably and effectively, and most importantly, meet the needs of public transport users.

And this, ladies & gentlemen, is the biggest problem. Everyone talks about fixing public transport but all the solutions that are put forward focus on the bus industry, rather than the public transport service. What’s worse is that the ‘solutions’ still fail to consider the needs of the public transport users.

Read about TRANSIT’s take on the issues and a proposed action plan after the jump! Continue reading ‘Solutions’ to public transport problems focusing on the bus industry, not public transport users


TRANSIT says goodbye to 2011 and wishes everyone a happy 2012

The year 2011 has been quite tumultuous for public transport and indeed, for many people in many places throughout the world.

Specifically to public transport, we in Malaysia have seen a number of major changes. Continue reading TRANSIT says goodbye to 2011 and wishes everyone a happy 2012

Penang expands car-free Sundays in George Town

TRANSIT took note of this article announcing the expansion of car-free Sundays in the central business district of George Town.

This initiative of the Penang Government and MPPP will likely be well-received by most residents of the area as well as visitors.

We hope to see more people using public transportation to get to the Central Business District to enjoy the car-free spaces in a carefree manner.

Ban’s on every Sunday (The Star)
Saturday December 10, 2011

DRIVERS and motorcyclists heading towards George Town’s Central Business District on Sunday from now onwards should take note that certain stretches of roads will be cordoned off from 7am to 5pm in conjunction with ‘Car Free Day’.

The affected roads are parts of Beach Street, Bishop Street, Church Street, and the whole of Church Street Ghaut which runs from Weld Quay to Beach Street. Continue reading Penang expands car-free Sundays in George Town

Prasarana proposes cooperation and “code share” system for Klang Valley bus operators (Update #1)

Update: The response from bus operators & government is mixed!

Yesterday TRANSIT learned of a proposal from Prasarana, the government-owned “National Infrastructure Company” to introduce a cooperative system between bus operators, where bus operators would share information, operate routes together under “code sharing” agreements, and implement “blue ocean strategy” to rationalize their operations.

We were immediately surprised and intrigued by the possibilities … and wary of the risks.

The public transport industry in Malaysia is in crisis. Part of the reason for this is because there is no holistic understanding within the government and among the public of what public transport is (a public utility), what it does (stimulates and ensures productivity and economic growth), and what it provides (mobility and access).

Malaysia has no National Public Transport Strategy or any form of cohesive public transport strategy except for “build infrastructure” and “subsidize or buy out when necessary.” And we should mention that to many Malaysians both of those “strategies” have the unfortunate subtext of “enrich cronies.”

What makes things worse is that there is no clear interest in improving public transport services or approaching (and appreciating) public transport as a public utility with economic & social benefits. The public does not seem to be aware and the state & local governments did not seem to care.

Until the crisis started, that is.

Now state governments are being forced to take notice and ensure that there are solutions to the problems in the industry. Unfortunately, they do not have the knowledge, experience or the tools to ensure these solutions will work.

SPAD has asked state governments to do whatever they can to resolve the problems in the short term. The Governments of Penang and Negri Sembilan have stepped in with subsidies. Prasarana’s proposal for cooperation might represent an alternative way of doing things – but the big question is, Will private operators want to work with a government-owned asset-owner-cum-operator that receives capital & operational subsidy from the federal government and appears to be actively competing with private operators on any number of routes?

And more importantly, will corporate collaboration work effectively and meet the needs of the public transport users?

More information, articles & comments after the jump!
Continue reading Prasarana proposes cooperation and “code share” system for Klang Valley bus operators (Update #1)

CityLiner to receive operations subsidy from Penang Government

TRANSIT took note of this article which states that the Penang Government will provide an operational subsidy of RM140,000 per month to bus operator CityLiner to continue operating bus services in Sebarang Prai until May 2012.

This came after the bus companies operating under the CityLiner brand threatened to stop bus operations in Sebarang Prai as of November 21st, because the operations had become unsustainable due to low revenues and higher costs. This came as part of a shutdown in multiple states that has provided major inconvenience for public transport users throughout Peninsular Malaysia.

CityLiner is the stage bus brand of Konsortium Transnasional Berhad (KTB), which is Malaysia’s largest bus operator.

Cityliner gets subsidy to keep it going (The Star)
Saturday December 10, 2011

BUTTERWORTH: Cityliner buses will continue to provide services on the Penang mainland at least until May next year.

The Penang Government will provide a RM140,000 subsidy per month to Konsortium Transnasional Berhad (KTB) for six months to help the company maintain the Cityliner service.

State Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the state had accepted the subsidy proposal by KTB as a short-term remedy for the company to continue providing the bus service. Continue reading CityLiner to receive operations subsidy from Penang Government

Penang Hill Railway Update: new proposals for PHR stations draw ire of bloggers

TRANSIT took note of the recent announcement of plans for Penang Hill by PDC, the Penang Hill Development Corporation.

The PDC has been in the news recently because of problems with the recently reopened Penang Hill Railway, as well as complaints about parking access and the size of the newly (slowly?) constructed car park which is being described as a “kancil car park” (as in, only suitable for small cars like the Perodua Kancil).

This post by Anil Netto, Welcome to Penang Hill Airport Terminal … oops, Railway Station, encapsulates some of the issues that are being held regarding development on Penang Hill.

TRANSIT will update this post with our own comments in a short while.

Updates #85

Updates #85

1. Video: Wong Tian Yeong posted this 33 second video of what appears to be a leaking ceiling at Puduraya bus terminal – https://www.facebook.com/video/video.php?v=1894585558875 – on 9 May 2011. According to this article in the Star, the “leak” was actually a sprinkler head that somehow started gushing water during a test.

2. Letter: LPTC should be under Transport Ministry (The Star, 9 May 2011) – Puzzled of Kuala Lumpur wonders why the Land Public Transport Commission is not directly under the Transport Ministry.

3. Letter: Cab goes the extra mile (NST, 10 May 2011) – NURADZIMMAH DAIM writes of a positive experience with Sunlight Taxi, receiving an SMS update of the arrival of her radio-hired taxi.

SMS read: “Dear MS (Miss), your taxi HB**** (Refn: 15****) has arrived, Ps (please) proceed to pick up point within the next 5 to 10min. TQ for calling Unicablink@Sunlight 90575757/1300800222.”

[TRANSIT: A useful example of customer service. Kudos to Sunlight.]

4. Letter: MRT may reduce cost of cars on road (NST, 10 May 2011) – V. Thomas of Sg. Buloh writes about the MRT and the changes it may bring to car drivers.

5. Article: Rahim: Govt Satisfied With Public Transport NKRA (Malaysian Digest, 11 May 2011)

6. Blog: Penang Hill Railway Breakdown: An Insider’s View (Anilnetto.com, 11 May 2011)

7. Article: Camp-in threat by railway squatters (The Star, 11 May 2011)

8. Letter: Risking injury to be on time for work (The Star, 14 May 2011)

9. Letter: Costly LRT mistakes (NST, 12 May 2011) C.K.Y. of Kelana Jaya comments on the lack of public transport access to the University Malaya Medical Centre, which is bypassed by the Kelana Jaya LRT as there is no station at Jalan Gasing/Jalan Universiti and calls on the government to build another station.

[TRANSIT: There is a station at Taman Jaya and there is also Stesen Universiti. No one is stopping UM or UMMC from operating a shuttle bus connecting their facilities to one of these LRT stations.]

10. Letter: Tram will ease traffic flow (NST, 12 May 2011) – K. Ramamurthy Achari of Penang comments on the need for improved public transport in Penang and suggests a tram system be developed, including a revival of the old tram.

PHR Update: Who let the dogs out?

TRANSIT took note that service on the Penang Hill Railway, (which recently re-started operations on April 25th) was disrupted on Tuesday 3 May – apparently by a stray dog or group of stray dogs getting caught in the power system and getting caught – causing the train to run into them.

Stray dogs said to have caused damage to hill railway system (The Star, 5 May 2011)

Ng Wei Aik, Komtar assemblyman, responding to the collision and the service problems over the labour day weekend, later commented that the Penang Hill Corporation had hired unqualified staff for the Penang Hill Railway.

More info about the rush in demand for the railway:

And to add to the strangeness, one newspaper reports Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng alleging that the Penang Hill Railway had been brought down by sabotage.

Lim not convinced with canine excuse for Penang Hill train failure (The Star, 6 May 2011)


Yeah…this is getting weirder and weirder. So we don’t know what to say. So we thought we would leave it to another blogger, Anil Netto (based in Penang) who has a few additional posts on the Penang Hill Railway upgrading project:


Penang State politics, BN and Pakatan politics, DAP vs. MCA politics. Why does public transport in Malaysia always have to involve politics?

Penang Hill Railway restarts operations on 25 April 2011

TRANSIT took note of this article about the Penang Hill Railway, which restarted operations yesterday.

2,000 take upgraded Penang Hill train (The Star)
Tuesday April 26, 2011

The Penang Hill Railway is back! Image courtesy of The Star.

GEORGE TOWN: A honeymooning couple from Saudi Arabia was among some 2,000 tourists and locals who boarded the Penang Hill funicular train, which resumed operations after a lapse of 14 months. Continue reading Penang Hill Railway restarts operations on 25 April 2011

Updates #82

Updates #82

1. An Electric Trike In The Trunk Makes For The Ultimate Hybrid Eco-Car(Fastcompany.com, 22 April 2011) – The Geely McCar concept (electric or electric hybrid) includes a built-in electrically powered trike (3 wheel scooter) that fits into the space between the driver & passenger seats.

A Geely McCar hybrid with its electrically powered trike. Image courtesy of fastcompany.com

[TRANSIT: Now this is an interesting concept – and there would certainly be a market for the “real” version of the vehicle here in Malaysia. More info here. Google search on Geely McCar here.]

2. Article: Prasarana’s gearing to rise to 4-5 times when remaining LRT sukuk issued (The Edge, 23 April 2011) – More information on Prasarana bond rating & sale of additional bonds for the LRT extension

3. Article: Boost on the way for Kuantan bus service (The Star, 22 April 2011) – the Pahang Gov’t is in talks with a consortium to improve the bus service in Kuantan.

[TRANSIT: Hopefully this will not be a repeat of RapidTerengganu or Perak Transit – nice ideas from a well-meaning government that end up going nowhere.]

4. Article: BEST passengers increase six folds, more pick-up points mulled (The Star, 22 April 2011) – demand for the Penang Bridge Express Shuttle Transit service is increasing.

5. Letter: Ferries and terminals need makeover (26 April 2011) – Sohan Singh of Tg. Tokong comments on the appearance of the ferry terminals at Weld Quay, Penang.

6. Article: Cabbies get new uniforms (The Star, 25 April 2011) – Seberang Prai Municipal Councillor Teoh Seang Hooi used his April allowance to purchase uniforms for 17 taxi drivers in Nibong Tebal (at a cost of RM65 each).

7. Article: Fast Exit (NST Streets, 25 April 2011) – The direct link from KL Sentral to Lebuhraya Mahameru is now complete and open to drivers – and hopefully to buses. The article also has some information on plans for a contra-flow lane for buses & taxis on Jalan Tun Sambanthan in Brickfields.

8. Article: KTM run attracts 760 (NST Streets, 25 April 2011) – KTM’s Komuter Run 2011 attracted 760 runners.