Too many and poorly integrated modes of public transport
The success of a public transport system hinges on its level of accessibility, connectivity and integration, and as far as possible, there should a single integrated transport system. London, Tokyo and New York are large cities that require multiple modes of well integrated public transport systems. Furthermore, many of these modes were built historically over time. Penang, however, is only a small city and is starting from scratch. So why is SRS proposing four different systems? - LRT, monorail, tram and bus rapid transit - which will be difficult and more costly to coordinate, maintain & upgrade?
Seamless connectivity will be difficult to achieve and Kuala Lumpur’s failures should not be repeated. The monorail is eminently unsuitable for the Penang landscape, being elevated, unsightly and intrusive. Even the present chief minister of Penang rejected the monorail system in 2013 as being unsuitable for the city.
Transport experts tell us monorail is used for short sectors at theme parks and is hardly used anywhere in the world for public transportation. Sydney has dismantled its monorail, Mumbai’s monorail is in financial difficulty, Las Vegas monorail went bankrupt and Malacca’s monorail is non-functional and a visual and economic blight on its city. Do we want to go down this treacherous route?
Why is the tram system limited to the World Heritage Site? Modern generation trams are used in many cities. These modern trams are more manoeuvrable, flexible and much less costly to build and operate and their carrying capacity can match LRT.
BN’s monorail is inappropriate for a world heritage city like Penang, as its elevated structure will destroy Penang’s charms. As a tram system on level ground would match Penang’s heritage, new alternative roads are required so that existing roads can make way for tram lines.
Lim Guan Eng
15th March 2013