We support the Penang State Government’s initiative for a transport masterplan which promises public transport delivery. However, we have serious concerns about the Penang Transport Masterplan proposed by the Project Delivery Partner SRS consortium.
1. The TMP calculates future ridership based on a projected 2.45 million population by 2030 even though the Malaysian Statistics Department projects only 1.94 million by 2040.
2. Without adequate ridership, Penang people will end up bearing the burden of running expensive LRT and monorail.
3. The TMP proposes 4 different systems – LRT, monorail, tram and bus rapid transit – difficult and costly to integrate, operationally coordinate and physically upgrade.
4. Elevated monorail is unsuitable for the Penang landscape, unsafe and way past its prime – many would say obsolete.
5. The latest Light Rail Vehicles (LRV) – matching LRT carrying capacity – will be much cheaper, more efficient and faster to build, operate, maintain and upgrade. At half the cost, Penang can implement an extensive network of modern trams complemented by buses within a 10-15 year time frame.
6. The TMP lacks vision and disregards the latest technology. Its expensive built-in obsolescence will embarrass Penang “in the eyes of the world” as soon as it is built.
7. By advancing massive road and tunnel expansion, this car-centric TMP imperils Penang’s heritage, the ecological fragility of our hills and coasts, and our responsibility to future generations to strive for zero carbon emissions.
8. The TMP apparently ignores many of Halcrow Transport Master Plan’s recommendations for quickly-achievable, cost-effective fix-it measures to improve mobility.
9. The government’s hurried bid to sign a RM 40 billion 50-year binding agreement lacks transparency, accountability and genuine engagement with the public.
The above statement is the shortened version of a statement issued from Penang Forum on the Penang Transport Master Plan. The statement was signed by 15 local non-governmental organisations including Penang Heritage Trust, and can be read here