GEORGE TOWN: In a bid to reduce traffic congestion on Penang Island, the state government is planning to introduce special parking areas for buses and lorries in March.
This followed rising complaints from road users that many tour buses, factory buses and construction lorries were parked haphazardly on main roads, causing traffic congestion.
There were also complaints that in some cases, these vehicles were parked overnight in housing areas, causing a nuisance to other residents.
Road users in the city complained that the road congestion was worse during the peak holiday period and whenever there was an international conference as the roads would be choked with buses.
State Traffic Management Committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said three special “depots” for buses and lorries at strategic locations had been identified to address the problem.
He said from March onwards, all the heavy vehicles would have to park at these depots and they would be fined if they failed to do so.
“We understand the role buses and lorries play in the tourism and logistics sectors. They are the key drivers of Penang’s economy.
“Given the limited road space on the island, some of these heavy vehicles can be an impediment to smooth traffic flow.
“By parking at these depots, we will get the traffic moving, rather than causing bottlenecks by allowing them to park at roadsides,” Chow told reporters at Komtar today.
Details on the cost and duration of parking at the depots have yet to be finalised.
The three locations identified for the depots are next to the fire brigade at Jalan Tanjung Tokong (next to Gurney Drive), Jelutong Industrial Area (behind Stonebay Restaurant along Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway) and Batu Maung (behind the Penang International Airport cargo terminal).
The depot in Tanjung Tokong is already in service and has between 15 and 20 bus bays while the sites in Jelutong (2.2 acres) and Batu Maung (80 acres) are currently unused land.
The sites will be paved to enable heavy vehicles to be parked there.
Earlier, Chow opened a forum attended by bus and lorry operators, the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and 13 other government agencies including the police, local municipal and city councils, and Puspakom, the national vehicle inspection company.
The forum was to discuss matters related to compliance and other legal aspects.