PENANG Forum stands by its proposal for an autonomous rail rapid transit (ART) system instead of a tram system.
The group’s steering committee member Dr Lim Mah Hui said they were not ‘tram salesmen’ and that they made the suggestion based on the best mode of transportation implemented in other cities.
“Basically, the Halcrow proposal favours a Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) and tram system.
“And, it is only the suggestion of SRS Consortium that the proposed Penang Transport Master Plan should include an elevated Light Rail Transit (LRT).
“The state said they were not going for the trams because of the cable work needed but the LRT system would require digging and piling which would be more expensive and take a longer time,” said Dr Lim in an interview recently.
He urged the state government not to rush into implementing the LRT as it “might be obsolete in a few years”.
“Penang Forum was only made aware of the ART system a few months ago.
“Who knows what type of advanced public transportation system we might see in a few years?” he said, adding that there was a need for a financial comparison of the LRT, tram, BRT and ART systems.
When asked if Penang Forum would conduct a session to explain the ART system, Lim said he would discuss it with the committee.
He cited an article in The Sydney Morning Herald which called for an ART system to be implemented in Perth.
He said the article also claimed that trackless trams would be able to avoid the worst features ofan light rail system in terms ofdisruption and costs.
The first trackless tram rolled out for a road test was in Zhuzhou, south China’s Hunan Province, on Oct 23, 2017.
Last month, Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said the state would look into the suggestion to implement the ART system when the matter was raised during a question- and-answer session of a public dialogue on the Penang Transport Master Plan at Dewan Sri Pinang.
Chow said the state government was briefed by China Railway Construction Corporation on the new train system.
“The ART has rubber wheels running on roads.
“It is directed by a sensor system installed along the road and it can be dedicated or shared with other modes of transport,” he said.
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