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Five-minute target for Rapid Penang, says Ong

TRANSIT takes note of this article on RapidPenang bus service, which we think is a great way to end this interesting week.

Five-minute target for Rapid Penang, says Ong (The Star)

GEORGE TOWN: Rapid Penang hopes to shorten the waiting time for commuters to five minutes by having 350 buses within the first quarter of the year, said Transport Minister Datuk Seri Ong Tee Keat.

He said the management of the company has to work hard to achieve and sustain the five-minute target.

Ong said since Rapid Penang started operations in July 2007, the daily ridership for 33 routes was only at 38,000, with the modal share of public transport at 8%.

“But throughout the years, the modal share of public transport showed a drastic increase of 15%, with daily commuters reaching 65,000 for 38 routes.

“I am happy to note that Rapid Penang hopes to reach its target of 25% for the modal share of public transport by the end of next year,” he told a press conference after witnessing the signing of a memorandum of understanding between Rapid Penang and Puspakom Sdn Bhd at Rapid Penang‘s headquarters in Lorong Kulit here yesterday.

The MoU was signed by Rapid Penang chief executive officer Azhar Ahmad and Puspakom director Datuk Khalid Abdol Rahman.

The MoU will have Rapid Penang providing floor space to Puspakom for its fleet inspection at the headquarters.

Ong later took a bus from Datuk Keramat Road to the Weld Quay station to get public feedback.

He said this was the first time there was such a collaboration between Puspakom and one of its customers, and hoped it would be a model for other fleet owners to follow.

On the improvement of the bus services, Ong said travel time must first be shortened, especially in the downtown and congested areas.

[TRANSIT: How about something like RapidBET in Penang…following the Jelutong Expressway and across the Penang bridge…to start]

The level of comfort – something that cannot be changed immediately – must also be improved, and basic amenities such as bus stops was an area that must be looked into.

“Another aspect is inter-modal connectivity, which might not be applicable to Penang yet because there is no LRT or monorail here.

[TRANSIT: But there are the ferries and rail in Butterworth (well, there used to be) and future BRT]

“Nevertheless, we are on threshold of having more integrated terminals, with the first in progress in Kuala Lumpur. Other cities will follow suit,” he added.

When asked if Penang’s iconic ferry operations would be taken over by Syarikat Prasarana Negara Bhd, Ong said the matter was still being studied.


It is always interesting to hear what is going on in Penang. Hopefully things are as good as the story suggests.

Certainly RapidPenang is taking the lead and working hard to improve the quality of public transport services with a focus on customer service and convenience.

We can only hope that the effort to improve the quality of bus services will not be ‘derailed’ (pun intended) by efforts to bring monorail or LRT into Penang.

As TRANSIT has always said, make the buses work, then we can talk about the rest.

As always, your feedback is welcome. Please enter your comments below.

One reply on “Five-minute target for Rapid Penang, says Ong”

LGE and the PTC team are a bunch of idoit that have no vision nor foresight. 😥 Go to Singapore Boon Lay MRT and conduct a study on the bus drop off and pick up points. Why do you need a bus terminal for the BEST services? The buses are supposed to run like MRT or LRT. It should stop for a short interval and continue the journey without delay. All it need is buses drop off and pick up points. For the bus services to be successful, there should be buses drop off and pick up points for private vehicles like cars, vans or buses to pick up the commuters. Without it, there will be chaos. Traffic flow and congestion management will be a nightmare.

The bus services can’t be success by its own, it need the complement of other vehicles to ferry commuters to their destinations. At Singapore Boon Lay MRT station bus drop off and pick up point, buses charted by factories waiting bumper to bumper to pick up commuters from the MRT. Commuters can’t afford to wait for public buses to go merry go round before reaching their destinations. Public buses company unable to designate buses according to individual factories, they can only be designated for a particular route.

Not only private buses charted by factories will be waiting at the drop off and pick up points, taxi, illegal sapu, private cars, illegal vans or vans charted by factories might also be waiting at the drop off and pick up points. A bus terminals are impractical to the need of all those vehicles, the traffic generated will be a nightmare to be managed. A well designed bus drop off and pick up point will be able to solve this problem.

The cost to conduct a study at Boon Lay MRT drop off and pick up points is not some thing the state government can not afford. In stead of blindly implement the BEST services, PTC should send it’s members to Boon Lay MRT drop off and pick up point to make an observation, do measurement, gauge the member of vehicles waiting at the points, see for yourself how Singapore manage the MRT drop off and pick up points, look for the weakness.

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