Balik Pulau gets free shuttle service

A route map of the CAT Balik Pulau free shuttle service.

THE Congestion Alleviation Transport (CAT) Balik Pulau free bus shuttle service will start operating tomorrow from 10am.

Penang Local Government, Traffic Management and Flood Mitigation Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said the length of the route is 12km based on a loop concept that begins and ends at the Balik Pulau bus terminal.

“Two green buses are provided for the CAT Balik Pulau route.

“The frequency of each bus is with a 30 to 35-minute interval depending on the traffic condition,” he said told a press conference in Komtar yesterday.

Chow also said for a start, the daily operation will be from 6am to 11.45pm.

The main areas serviced by the CAT Balik Pulau route are Kampung Pondok Upeh, Taman Sri Indah, the southwest district mosque, the Balik Pulau court complex, SMK Pondok Upeh, Balik Pulau Vocational College and SK Genting.

It also covers SJK (C) Tar Thong, SMK Seri Balik Pulau, Maahad Al Mashoor Al Islami, SK Balik Pulau, southwest district education office, Balik Pulau polytechnic, Balik Pulau sports complex and MRSM Balik Pulau.

A route map of the CAT Balik Pulau free shuttle service.

The remaining areas are Taman Pondok Upeh, Masjid Jamek Pondok Upeh, Kolej Kemahiran Tinggi Mara Balik Pulau, SK Kongsi, Giat Mara Balik Pulau, Balik Pulau Hospital, Balik Pulau town (Pekan Balik Pulau) and Balik Pulau public market.

“The roads involved are from Jalan Pondok Upeh, Lintang Pondok Upeh, Jalan Balik Pulau, Jalan Sungai Nipah, Jalan Tepi Bendang, and back to Jalan Pondok Upeh, Lintang Pondok Upeh and Jalan Balik Pulau, before finishing the journey at the Balik Pulau bus terminal.

“This CAT service is expected to help reduce the use of private vehicles and smoothen traffic within in Balik Pulau town.

“It is also expected to encourage residents in the area to use public transport to go about with their daily activities,” he said.

It was reported last month that the Penang government’s RM15mil free bus shuttle service — Congestion Alleviation Transport (CAT) — had increased the number of its feeder buses to 52 from 46.

The project, jointly run with Rapid Penang, has also added a new route — Alma on the mainland.

(From left) Osman and state Local Government division’s traffic management unit head Nurul Asyikin Abdul Rahman showing Chow an artist’s impression of the bus design in Komtar. (Left pic) The bus terminal in Balik Pulau.
The bus terminal in Balik Pulau.

The routes identified for the service are George Town, Tanjung Tokong, Sungai Dua, Bayan Baru, Ayer Itam and Balik Pulau.

On the mainland, the routes are Bertam, Bukit Mertajam, Simpang Ampat, Nibong Tebal, Seberang Jaya and Batu Kawan.

Chow also conceded that the weather was among the factors that may affect the demand for public transport.

“That is why in Kuala Lumpur, there are now sheltered walkways to encourage pedestrians to walk to their destinations or to the particular bus stops.”

Rapid Penang head of operation, control and support Osman Amir said response had been good for the operation of the CAT Bukit Mertajam route since it started last week.

“There are between 1,500 and 1,800 passengers daily for the Bukit Mertajam route.

“There has also been an increase in ridership over the past eight days since operation started.”

He also noted that Ayer Itam, which is a high-density area, had a much wider coverage.

“Since the first day of operation, the ridership has consistently been around 5,500 to 6,500 passengers per day,” he added.

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