A green way to explore the island

A visitor checking out the condition of the vehicle used in the bicycle-sharing system at the docking station in Jalan Padang Kota Lama near City Hall in George Town, Penang. — Photos: CHAN BOON KAI/The Star

A BICYCLE-SHARING system (BSS) is now up and running, redefining a new way to commute within George Town and several parts of Penang island.

For a start, some 60 bicycles are now available at nine stations for free to those who want to explore the various attractions here until Monday.

Known as LinkBike, the BSS is a public owned and privately managed model, with the cost of RM1.85mil coming from Penang Island City Council (90%) and private company Fast Rent Bike (10%).

Fast Rent Bike director Ken Yeoh said there would be 250 bicycles at 25 strategic locations by February next year.

“Anyone can pick up a bike from any of the 25 stations and return it to another station.

“It is as simple as scanning the QR Code to release the bicycle. But first, you have to download the LinkBike apps from Google Play for Android users.

“Register yourself and choose your package. Everything is cashless and the payment portal will handle the transaction.

“These bikes serve as a shortdistance transit vehicle to reduce the use of motor vehicles.

“It is also a way to reduce traffic congestion and environmental pollution,” he said.

Yeoh said the bicycles were imported from China, with its design emphasised on durability and functionality.

He said many cyclists were fascinated by the vibrant colour of the bicycles.

“It comes with a pair of solid rubber tyres, anti-rusting body and anti-theft bolts and nuts,” he said.

On the pricing, Yeoh said there were five packages – one-day pass (RM2), two-day pass (RM3), three-day pass (RM4), one-week pass (RM10) and one-year pass (RM20).

“Once you have paid, you will get to enjoy the first 30 minutes for free. If you keep your bike out for longer than 30 minutes at a time, then it’s an extra RM1 for each additional 60 minutes.

“To avoid additional usage fees, keep your rides to 30 minutes each before you change to anotherbicycle at another station.

“Then you pay only RM2 for a 1-day pass, and can take as many rides as you want while your pass is active,” he said.

Yeoh said the nine docking stations in operation are at Gama (bicycle hub), Jalan Magazine (1st Avenue Mall), Jalan Padang Kota Lama (City Hall), Lebuh Pantai (OCBC Bank and Malaysia Tourism Office), Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah (MWE building), Jalan Penang (junction of Lebuh Campbell), Lebuh Acheh (opposite World Heritage Office) and Lebuh Light (opposite Hong Leong Bank).

He said another 16 stations would be set up by February.

The stations will be at Pengkalan Weld (opposite Ferry Terminal), Gat Lebuh Macallum (Olympia College), Lebuh Pantai (junction of Lebuh Armenian), Lebuh Bishop (RHB Bank), Persiaran Gurney (Evergreen Hotel), Lebuh Chulia (Little India and AirAsia Office) and Lebuh Muntri.

Other stations to be set up include Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah (Northam Hotel), Jalan Pangkor (Gleneagles Hospital), Jalan Macalister (Loh Guan Lye Specialists Centre), Jalan Kelawei (Gurney Plaza), Persiaran Gurney (Paragon Mall), Tanjung Tokong (beside Starbucks), Persiaran Karpal Singh (opposite Starbucks) and (Persiaran Bayan Indah (Queensbay Mall).

During the recent soft launch of the system, Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng said the BSS offered environmental, social economic and public health benefits.

He said the BSS was not something new as it was already available in many parts of the world like the United States, France and Canada.

He added that LinkBike was the IoT (Internet of Things) project by council, designed to serve the community and the environment.

“It is a step forward to realise the state government’s vision – the first bicycle state in Malaysia.

“This is going to be a huge paradigm shift in urban mobility.

“It will serve as a great alternative commute for the public, as well as tourists.

“It offers a brand new approach to travel around the World Heritage Site and the city area,” he said.

For details, visit www.linkbike.my.

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