THE number of vehicles using the second Penang bridge to cross from the mainland to the island is less than 10% of those using the first bridge.
Penang Transportation Committee chairman Lim Hock Seng said an average of 6,752 vehicles used the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge in that direction daily in the first nine days of the month compared with the March daily average of 68,113 for the first bridge,
Lim, who did not have the April figures for the first bridge, said 6,099 vehicles of all classes used the second bridge when toll was first imposed on April 1 but dropped to 5,607 the next day.
On April 3, the figure was 5,757 and rose to 7,593, 8,900 and 9,647 on the three subsequent days which was the weekend. The figure then dropped to 6,123, 5,466 and 5,577 on April 7, 8, and 9 respectively.
Lim said an average of 19,601 vehicles used the second bridge daily in March before toll was imposed, from a low of 11,692 on March 19 to highs of 31,757, 33,464 and 43,815 on March 9, 8 and 2 respectively.
During that month, the vehicles using the first bridge dropped from an average daily figure of 79,289 in February to 68,113 in March when the second bridge opened.
Lim said in an interview yesterday that the higher toll rates and longer length of the second bridge could be the reason why there was a low number of vehicles using the link.
The toll rates for the second bridge are RM8.50 for cars and RM1.70 for motorcycles while they are RM7.00 and RM1.40 respectively for the first bridge.
The second link is 24km long compared to the first bridge which is 13.5km.
Lim said another reason why motorists and motorcyclists shy away from the second bridge could be due to the fear of breakdowns.
He said although the second bridge operator provided emergency assistance, they may still prefer to use the first bridge as they could get help from the many other users of that link.
He also said the industrial and residential areas in Batu Kawan on the mainland had also not been fully developed and occupied which could be why there was still low traffic along the second bridge.
Lim, however, felt that it was good to have the second bridge to cater to future needs.
It was earlier reported that Jambatan Kedua Sdn Bhd, which is the concessionaire for the second bridge, will launch an awareness campaign to attract more people to use the link.