For many years, Penangites have suffered enough of the worsening public transportation. When Rapid Penang is about to launch, it sounds promising with the new fleet of modern buses, professionally trained bus drivers and extended bus routes.
After the launch of Rapid Penang for nearly 2 months, I have made 2 attempts to try out the service. Despite the encouragement of other bloggers on “Hop on to Rapid Penang” and “Give support to Rapid Penang”, I have a complete different view.
The first attempt to try out Rapid Penang was 2 weeks back. There is this usual saying among Penangites – “New toilet, nice to sh*t.” (if you could directly translate it into Hokkien) or “Definitely must try out before it tears out.”.
As a supportive Penangite, sure I would like to hop on to support. Our destination – Queensbay Mall. By referring to the bus route and schedule, we knew that there should be a bus to service the Jalan Delima route, with a frequency of every 20 mins. We then waited for 30 mins but there was not even a single bus which came to our sight. With much disappointment we decided to head back and took a car instead. Have you ever had the frustration when you waited for hours for a bus to arrive but there was none and when you hopped into your car dozens of buses drove past you?
Anyway 2 weeks later we decided to give Rapid Penang a second try. This time we allowed more intervals for the bus to arrive. We walked to the main Bus stop at the junction of Jln Yeap Chor Yee and Jln Delima. We waited there for 45mins but again….still there wasn’t a single bus passed by! We decided to fail Rapid Penang’s service again.
With this experience, we realized that the passersby like to shoot us with a strange look as if they were asking “What the heck are these people doing here?” Ok, fine….!
After a long walk home, this major question popup into our mind. “Is Rapid Penang really solving our problem?” My conclusion is NO. My points as below:
· City Planning and Traffic Condition
§ Preservation on heritage building all around the town area and limitation of land. How will government build express lane for Rapid Penang? Unless they can be moved to another location.
§ No proper planning on cabling, the contractors will just dig and cover the roads which explains why there are so many pitholes on our roads. How to prepare an underground tunnelling system?
§ Encouragement on Rapid Penang and eliminating driving. We know that if everyone hops on Rapid Penang, our traffic will be smoother. However, what steps have been carried out to encourage taking bus instead of self-driving?
· Penangites’ attitude and mindset
§ Looking one kind at people who are waiting for bus, not sure if anyone of you had this kind of feeling where people stare at you as if you are a weirdo who would want to wait for a bus. Could it be that I have too high self-consciousness?
§ How many people live in Penang and how many people own cars? Statistic shows that on average one Penang family owns 3 cars. What will they do if they don’t drive?
· Routing and Scheduling
§ Most of the working people in Penang are concentrating in B. Lepas area, as far as I know, there is not even a single bus which stops by the factories.
§ The Rapid Penang schedule shows there will be a 20-30 mins of bus frequency. But the problem is when should a person wait for the bus and will the bus arrive on time to the destinations?
· Car park and travel distance
§ No proper car/motor parking lots nearby the bus stops. If the bus stop is far from one residential area, is there any proper car/motor park by the bus stop so that people no need to walk that far?
§ How far is the destination from one place to another in Penang? If today we foresee the traffic will be jammed today, why don’t I ride the motorbike instead?
If you do have comments or better suggestion about this blog, you are most welcomed to provide feedback.