1. Article: Spotlight on Trams: Penang (Edinburgh Guardian) – Malaysian blogger Anil Netto writes about the history of tram service in Penang and the effort by some campaigners to bring the tram back to Penang.
TRANSIT: As nice as the tram campaign is, one really has to ask what has been accomplished beyond calling for trams. People need to understand that the solution is not to bring back “the tram” – it is to bring back a reliable public transport network that includes regular transit and rapid transit. If we can bring in Light Rail lines (trams that operate on their own right of way outside the city centre, but on the roads inside the city centre), so much the better!
2. Article: Waiting for the Bus (Ipoh Echo) – the early September issue of Ipoh Echo comments on the lack of improvement in Ipoh bus services, despite the promises of “Combined Bus Services” aka “Perak Transit” and the opportunity arising from the arrival of regular diesel shuttle trains and ETS trains.
TRANSIT: Simply put, a city that cannot make buses work does not deserve an LRT system. Maybe we need the people of RapidPenang to step in and make public transport work in Ipoh.
3. Article: An unfair deal? (The Sun) – Journalists express their concern about the details of the deal which will have the Unilever lands in Bangsar (prime lands on an 8ha site currently worth RM400 million sold of for a fraction of their full worth.
The Unilever lands are owned by the Railway Assets Corporation – and KTMB may only receive RM50 million for the sale!
The article is also profiled by blogger Anil Netto.
TRANSIT: Despite all the talk about improving public transport, it seems that no one really wants to see real money in the hands of operators like KTMB or real authority (and the power to make real changes) in the hands of the operators and local governments.
4. Article: Penang monorail test track not materialising just yet (The Edge) – The Edge Financial Daily reports on the status of the proposed test tracks for monorails in Penang.
Last October, the Penang State Government had given no-obligation letters of approval to two companies interested in building monorails in Penang. The companies were allowed to build test tracks within 1 year, which they could use to demonstrate their monorail technology. The state government would, however, retain control over the land and would be under no obligation to purchase the technology.
TRANSIT: The funny thing is that, despite the approval, nothing has actually been constructed – and time is running out. Or maybe the companies really had nothing to offer in the first place?