Tram service viable means of transport in George Town

Dr Hassim Mat

By Kenny Teng Khoon Hock

GEORGE TOWN : The DAP-led Penang state government should look at tram services as an alternative mode of effective public transportation to ease traffic congestion in the island.

Former Universiti Sains Malaysia (USM) Housing, Building & Planning Faculty professor, Dr Hassim Mat when making his suggestion said tram services using hybrid engines would be the best mode of transport.

Hassim said in a city like George Town that has numerous heritage sites and buildings, tram services would ensure such buildings are not ruined by pollution from other types of transportation.

“Tram services can be installed without having to acquire land because tracks for trams can be built on existing roads and shared. The government must focus on only one system to ease operations,” he said citing the tram service in Turkey, especially from Istanbul to the Airport.

The Penang state government had earlier submitted a Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP) aimed at reducing traffic congestion on the Island by building new infrastructure and through the integration of land, air, water and rail transport systems.

The RM27 billion mega project proposed as a solution to the traffic woes in Penang involves an integrated transportation system of highways, LRT lines, bus services, ferries and water taxies and the undersea tunnel.

The PTMP which is supposed to address the state’s worsening traffic woes, by connecting the island and mainland via light railway transit, monorail, tram, highways and an undersea bed tunnel has come under fire since the initiative includes several reclamation plans.

There were questions raised and concerns from various parties since it would affect the livelihood of fishermen in more than 10 villages.

Hassim who has been involved in project planning for transportation systems said in principle the PTMP was a good system and complete but the question is whether the state government would be able to operate and manage the various systems involved, effectively and efficiently.

“Since the people of Penang are accustomed to driving their own mode of transport, they might not want to shift to the public transport system. The government must therefore, have a plan to encourage the people to use public transportation,” he told Bernama.