Do our population projections warrant such a massive schemes at such tremendous cost? SRS projects a Penang state population of 2.45m people by 2030 while the Malaysian Statistics Department projects 1.94m by 2040. Penang currently has negative natural population growth and the only way SRS’s projected figures can be achieved is if there is a massive net in-migration of over 50,000 people every year - something that is highly unrealistic, given in 2013 net migration was only 1,300 and in the past twenty years net migration has averaged 9,400 a year. To reach the SRS projection for 2030, our net migration would need to grow by over 3,700% from 2013 and be maintained at 5 times the average of the past two decades!
In response to questions in the May 2016 Legislative Assembly, YB Chow announced that the LRT line is anticipated to carry 116,000 passengers per day in its first year of operation, 2022. This would be equal to an annual ridership of 42m a year, something that is unrealistic! Assuming current tourist arrivals into Penang airport double to 12 million by 2022 and half (i.e. 6 million) use the LRT, local ridership would have to make up the 36 million trips per year. This works out to 99,000 trips per day on just this one line. Put into context Rapid Penang carries 93,000 passengers daily across 42 bus routes for the whole state, the KL monorail carries 75,000 per day and the KLIA Express service carries less than 30,000 per day.
The financial viability of a public transport system is critically dependent on its ridership and fare structure; otherwise, it ends up as a white elephant waiting to be bailed out by the people of Penang. Will our projected ridership be able to support such costly projects as the LRT and monorail?
SRS estimates that the LRT line from Komtar to the Airport will carry almost as many people each day as the KL Monorail and the KLIA Express/Transit combined!
To reach the SRS population projection for 2030, our net migration would need to grow by over
from 2013 and be maintained at 5 times the average of the past two decades!