BRIGHT apple green coloured Rapid Penang buses will be a regular sight when the Penang government’s RM15mil free shuttle service kicks off in Ayer Itam tomorrow.
Known as the Congestion Alleviation Transport (CAT) feeder bus service, eight buses will be deployed on a 16km loop from the Paya Terubong hub with estimated frequency of 10 to 15 minutes each.
The buses will make stops and pick passengers at State Mosque, Kampung Baru market, Rifle Range, SK Padang Tembak, Ayer Itam market, Bandar Baru Ayer Itam, Bandar Baru district clinic, Sunshine Farlim, SMK Air Itam, SK Seri Indah, SJK (C) Shang Wu, SJK (C) Kong Min and Kolej Islam Teknologi Antarabangsa.
State Transport Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the feeder service would then connect passengers to the main bus routes of Rapid Penang buses in Jalan Ayer Itam, Jalan Semarak Api and Jalan Padang Tembak.
“The service for Ayer Itam route will begin from 5.30am to 11.45pm.
“The apple green colour is meant for easier identification for the Ayer Itam route.
“We will improve the service by adding more buses if necessary after some time,” he said during a soft launch at Komtar on Wednesday.
The project, jointly run with Rapid Penang, is meant to link commuters staying in villages and high-density areas to main bus routes.
It covers six routes on the island and seven on the mainland.
Besides Ayer Itam, the routes identified for the service are George Town, Tanjung Tokong, Sungai Dua, Bayan Baru and Balik Pulau.
On the mainland, the routes are Bertam, Bukit Mertajam, Simpang Ampat, Nibong Tebal, Seberang Jaya, Alma and Batu Kawan.
Chow said the contract with Rapid Penang for the feeder buses is three years at a cost of RM15mil.
Services to the other routes would begin at a later date.
The state presently has two other free bus service programmes — the Central Area Transit which began in 2008 and Bridge Express Shuttle Transit which was launched in 2011.