Better tram service in the offing with change of operator


Hop on board: Tourists boarding the existing battery-operated tram for a tour of the Penang Botanic Gardens.

ECO-friendly trams, which are supposed to be fully battery-operated, will be making their rounds at the Penang Botanic Gardens come Feb 1.

Penang Botanic Gardens Department director Mohd Azwa Shah Ahmad said there would be at least three trams of different sizes operating at the Gardens.

He said the new trams should be battery-operated and the drivers would be trained by the Department.

“The tram drivers will also be trained to conduct a narration at the various stops at the Gardens.

Scenic ride: Tourists viewing the Garden’s attractions during a tour on a battery-operated tram.
Scenic ride: Tourists viewing the Garden’s attractions during a tour on a battery-operated tram.

“On top of that, the trams will also be equipped with either audio or visual aid, so that a recording about the Gardens and the flora and fauna found there, can be played for the visitors,” he said in an interview at his office at Jalan Kebun Bunga yesterday.

Mohd Azwa Shah said a new company succeeded in securing the open tender to operate the tram and would take over the service after the contract of the existing operator expires on Jan 31.

“The open tender was held from Dec 26 last year to Jan 26. Only one company took part in the process.

“The existing tram operator did not take part in the tender,” Mohd Azwa Shah said.

He also said that the new tram operator had to comply with several requirements, among them operating the trams using only batteries.

Old model: Visitors walking past the existing fuel-powered tram at the Gardens.
Old model: Visitors walking past the existing fuel-powered tram at the Gardens.

The current trams at the Gardens are both battery-operated and using fuel.

He said the upgrading of the trams would be in stages and was expected to be fully completed by June.

Mohd Azwa Shah said the operating hours for the new tram service beginning Feb 1 would be from 9am to 6pm daily.

“The tram fare from Feb 1 is RM3 (adult), RM2 (children) and RM10 (foreigner),” he said.

At the Gardens yesterday, Middle East tourist Mariam Al-Abri, 27, said she found out about the Botanic Gardens from the internet.

“I did not know there is a tram service here until I saw it from the garden entrance.

“The tram service is convenient because it helps visitors who come to the garden with their young children and are unable to walk for a long time,” she said.

Later, Mariam together with her husband Sulaman Al-Abri, 30, and their two children took the tram service to tour the gardens.

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