Bus rapid transit is better for Penang

PENANG MCA urges 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 that in addition to being a cheaper option, the BRT system would take a shorter period, around a year, and was more suitable for downtown residents.

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

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

Yeoh said it is possible to build the BRT and have facilities such as a multi-storey car park 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 frequency of bus service can be adjusted.

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

He said it would help solve the problem of urban congestion, adding that minibuses could also be used to transport passengers from the BRT station to their respective neighborhoods.

Bukit Bendera MCA Division Chief Tang Heap Seng, who was also present, spoke about the RM10bil Pan Island Link 1 (PIL 1) highway project which he said was unnecessary as it could endanger the environment.

PIL 1 connects Gurney Drive to Penang International Airport.

Tang said that instead of moving forward with the LRT, which is part of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), the state government should replace it with the more environmentally friendly BRT. .

According to the National Department of Statistics, the population of Penang is expected to reach 1.9 million in 2030, which is much lower than the 2.8 million estimated by the Penang government.

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

The Penang government has aggressively pushed the Penang South Islands (PSI) project on the southern coast of Penang Island to fund its RM46bil PTMP components.

These include the PIL 1 and the Bayan Lepas LRT.

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