Bus rapid transit better for Penang

Yeoh (left) and Tang pointing to a screen showing how the BRT can serve Penangites better than the LRT at the Penang MCA headquarters.

PENANG MCA is urging the state government to replace the Bayan Lepas Light Rail Transit (LRT) project with the Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) system.

Its secretary Yeoh Chin Kah said besides being a cheaper option, the BRT system would take a shorter period, about a year to complete, and was more suitable for residents in the city centre.

“The construction of the BRT system will also provide wider coverage than the LRT,” he told a press conference at the Wisma MCA in George Town.

Yeoh was commenting on a news report quoting Penang infrastructure and transport committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari saying that the Bayan Lepas LRT project had received approval from key technical agencies such as the Department of Environment and Town and Country Planning Department (PLANMalaysia).

Yeoh said it was possible to build the BRT and have facilities such as a multi-storey carpark like the LRT.

He said the BRT could also be equipped with a system to track the number of people waiting at each station so that the bus service frequency could be adjusted.

He said many cities in China, such as Beijing, Hangzhou and Guangzhou had efficient transit systems using the bus service.

He said this would help solve the urban congestion problem, adding that mini buses could also be used to transport passengers from the BRT station to their respective neighbourhoods.

Bukit Bendera MCA division chief Tang Heap Seng, who was also present, touched on the RM10bil Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) highway project which he said was not needed as it could jeopardise the environment.

The PIL 1 connects Gurney Drive to the Penang International Airport.

Tang said instead of going ahead with the LRT, which is part of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), the state government should replace it with the more environmental- friendly BRT.

He said according to the National Statistic Department, Penang’s population was expected to reach 1.9 million in 2030, which was far lower than the estimated 2.8 million projected by the Penang government.

He said the operation cost for the BRT was cheaper than the LRT, and any damage or malfunction in its operating systems could be easily rectified.“LRT is not only expensive but also causes noise pollution to nearby areas,” he said.

The Penang government has been aggressively pushing through the Penang South Islands (PSI) project in the southern coast of Penang island to fund its RM46bil PTMP components.

These include the PIL 1 and Bayan Lepas LRT.

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