From up in Penang – we learn that public transport is getting closer to accessibility. With better buses and hopefully, accessible bus stops, we can only hope that public transport use will increase in Penang in the years to come.
With current use at only 8% there is a long way to go.
Decision on disabled-friendly bus stops next month
Tuesday March 10, 2009
THE Penang Government will decide in a month’s time whether to give the green light to Rapid Penang for the construction of disabled-friendly bus stops once the company submits its proposal.
Penang Local Government, Traffic Management and Environment Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the bus stops needed to have proper facilities to complement the new 200 disabled- friendly buses which would arrive in batches from May until the end of the year.
On Rapid Penang’s predicament over the uncertainty of whether the state authorities would approve the use of five new depots to place its new fleet of buses, he said the matter was negotiable and that he would follow up on the matter.
Rapid Penang chief executive officer Azhar Ahmad had said that the company had not received a reply from the autho-rities.
Chow told newsmen yesterday that Rapid Penang was currently using the Sungai Nibong bus terminal and three other areas belonging to the Penang Municipal Council located in Lorong Kulit, Balik Pulau and Tanjung Bungah as its depots.
“All the 200 buses are not going to arrive in May and therefore I feel the existing sites can still accommodate the buses.
“If I’m not mistaken, the company is in the final stage of looking at a piece of land belonging to the Malaysian Resources Corp Bhd,” he said.
He said Rapid Penang had asked the state government to lease these areas for a long period (30 years) before it builds a proper depot.
“The company is also asking for a nominal fee to be charged and we understand that in order to subsidise public transportation, costs need to be cut,” he said, adding that Rapid Penang had not paid rental for its existing depots since July 2007.
Chow said the state had put on hold the idea to set up its own bus company.
“Now, only 8% of the people use buses. It is not advisable to compete with another company until the percentage rises to 35%,” he said.
The government has ordered 200 buses for RapidPenang, including 148 buses from Scania. Those 148 buses will be accessible – but accessible buses are only part of the issues.
Accessible buses also need accessible bus stops and it is only logical that the government approves this.