Socioeconomic Equity Tram Transit Facilities

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.

Alaa Abduallae, 30, and Wafaa Ali, 23, were thrilled to take the 10-minute ride up the hill.

“However, the train was going too fast for us to snap any good photographs,” Alaa said.

Panoramic view: Alaa and Wafaa enjoying the sights after taking the Penang Hill funicular train. Image courtesy of The Star.

The train will run for charity till April 30. The return fare for the charity ride is RM10 for adults. It is free for children aged 12 and below.

The proceeds will go to the Penang Welfare Department to help underprivileged people identified by the state government.

The service started at 6.30am yesterday.


From May 1, the return fare for Malaysians will be RM8 for adults (below 55 years) and RM4 for children (aged three to 12).

Senior citizens (aged 55 and above) and Malaysian students will enjoy a reduced rate of RM4.

For foreigners, the return fare is RM30 (for adults) and RM15 (for children aged three to 12).

The revamped train service runs from 6.30am to 9.30pm daily.

The service was suspended since Feb 22 last year for the RM73mil upgrading project by the Tourism Ministry.

Penang Hill Corporation marketing and promotion division senior assistant manager Anne Goh said 1,500 people rode on the train from 6.30am till 4pm.


While we are definitely happy about the return of the Penang Hill Railway, this letter Quadruple ticket price for foreigners just too much (The Star, 26 April 2011) by Scott of Penang also raises some interesting questions on the significant difference between the fares for locals & foreigners on the Penang Hill Railway.

Is the wide range in prices for locals and foreigners appropriate?

19 replies on “Penang Hill Railway restarts operations on 25 April 2011”

Hopefully no more political agenda about the funicular train and I hope there is no more first class facilities but third class maintenance.

just to share the Penang Draft Special Area Plan

Click to access RKK%207_b_merged.pdf

the plan is to create pedestrian paths, but w/o artist impression, i am not sure how they want to do this. with the malaysian weather of either too hot or too wet, there would need to be some form of shelter all the way be it using trees / some form of roof

Penang can take a leaf out of Singapore’s provision of pedestrian lanes. There is no need for fanciful tiles that cracked due to poor maintenance. Most pedestrian lanes in Singapore are broad, where 2 people can walk alongside each other, and there are no poles erected in the middle of the path thus forcing users to move out of the lane. The lanes conditions are also fit enough for the movement of baby strollers.

On 29/4/2011, we purchased 2 tckts. After waited for abt 45 mins,d train finally arrived for us n d rest of d much anticipated psgers. But only 1/2 of the psgrs were allowed to board the train leaving us n d rest of us behind making ways to a group of scndary school children which came much more later as Ms Farah (staff) allowed them to overtake the queue and our right to board first. Bad service!


Thank you for the reply. Having to wait additional time is disappointing. If the group had pre-booked, then making way for them would not be unreasonable. However, you should have been informed by the Penang Hill Railway staff that a large group was expected around that time.

If you have contact information for the Penang Hill Railway staff, please give them your feedback and do share the information (and reply) with us here.

Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

TQ for the response. None of the staff informed when we purchased d tickets.We had refunded the tickets n cancelled d much anticipated trip. Always believe in 1st come 1st serve. should hv no VIP treatment except for elderly n handicapped person. just think what u feel if other people cut queue while driving? What so great of those abled- bodied teenagers deserving previledge? Wrong message!


We have no way of knowing if the teachers/school had purchased the tickets (or made arrangements to purchase the tickets) earlier than you did – so we cannot comment on whether the students had the right to go first or not.

Either way, it would have been proper for the staff to inform you that a large group was expected to arrive.

I personally do hope that you have a better experience next time – if you choose to go back.

Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

i would sum up that the PHCshould train their staff on passenger handling well. Seems not systematic. Long wait, no info given or announcement. Sorry to say, may recommend to friends to not waste time going to png hill. better to go to other better hill in m’sia or oversees.

i did go up Penang Hill out of curiosity and to keep my gf happy on May 1st, he he he….

here are my 2 cents
1) the furnicular train is fast, which is good
2) the fare of RM8 in my opinion is not too high. if ppl can pay RM10 for cinema tix, there is no reason why they can’t pay that amt for other form of recreation

some grouses
1) tickets issued are with barcodes supposedly for scanning to enter. but the scanning does not work. neither do i see a need for such high tech tix and more likely it benefit some contractor
2) at the holding area, there is no proper queypically us typically everyone crowd around the entrance once the train arrives. usage of crowd manager like the ones in airport / cinemas would hv served well
3) once inside the furnicular train, it can accomodately supposedly 100 ppl (i think), but only seats for i think abt 30++. if there are more ppl standing, i would think having handles for holding would be a required, sthg like your LRTs. also there needs for signage to advise seats to be given up for pregnant women / old ppl like LRT

there is a real downside. due to the excitement caused by the furnicular trains, there is a massive traffic jam from jln bukit bendera stretching all the way to jln masjid negeri. now, up there at penang hill, it is not a really big space to loiter around. so if u hv that many ppl up there, i doubt that u can hv much fun and it can be a real turn off for visitors from going again in future. just like Coach handbag retail stores in barring too many ppl entering the store, there has to be an optimum number of ppl going up Pg Hill at any day.

to resolve this, i suggest for the tickets to go up the furnicular train to be purchasable online. by selling the tickets online, PHCB can know how many ppl hv purchased and are going up Penang Hill on that day and therefore caution visitors that there is already a crowd. secondly, unlike cinemas, going up in the furnicular train is free seating and seating arrangements is not necessary. more importantly, Penang Hill Corp can keep the experience fun and advise would be visitors to go to other recreational areas such as Itam Dam / Teluk Bahang etc to smooth out traffic

again on the issue of the massive traffic jam in Penang on May 1st. Penang lacks the kind of intelligent traffic monitoring and information dissemination like in Singapore, such as ITS, EMAS (digital signage advising road users that there are jams in front) etc.

but what can be done is to send out tweet updates like what RapidPg has done, and also traffic update via SMS. local telco already offer SMS for traffic but it only caters for major highways. a local drive with traffic for arterial roads would be necessary for Pg Island

I think this new funicular train is not cheap, but see not even one month our only funicular train is having problems already. First world facilities, third world maintenance!! Malaysia Boleh!!

Well, train is seemed to be under a curse. (maybe) partly due to the not so very good service. Surely so many people cursing over the last weekend.

The government of penang state does not believe the technical breakdown is caused by stray dogs, simply because it never happened before in the funicular history, it was believed that stray dogs had been always there since the first day of funicular. The Penang state government believes it was a sabotage effort after refering to the pictures and damage.

Hi Jeffrey

Please provide a link or other information about the breakdown of the Penang Hill Railway so we can update our website & information.

Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

Sorry. I replied in the wrong heading.
Yes, we seem to be struggling to operate & maintain good rail system here in Malaysia. In UK, US, other developed countries they have engineering degree course in Rail engineering not to mentioned other practical & focus field such as automotive eng, aeronautical eng, manufacturing eng, nuclear engineering, industrial eng, medical engineering, project engineering, business engineering etc.. but here in Malaysia, we are mainly exposed in mechanical, electronics and civil engineering in utmost outdated ways and contents.. First world vision, third world knowledge!


Presumably because the operator thinks that foreigners have more money than Malaysians – and because they are a “captive” market (no other “affordable” & “convenient” & “comfortable” way to get up Penang Hill) … and since Penang is just sooooo hot, the air conditioned train ride would be welcomed.

Regards, Moaz for TRANSIT

penang is an ideal tourist destination having the fare myr 30 is a bit too much for a foreigner unless the attraction at the top of the hill is really amazing so to speak.The surrounding as well did not change much compare to 25 years ago and it is justify to charge expensively to attract tourism.I guess the we have to rethink how we do things .

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