KUALA LUMPUR (Sept 24): Penang wants its elevated light rail transit (LRT) system and will not settle for a tram system.
The Star reported recently that Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow explained to the media that trams were not suitable for Penang as “it would increase traffic volume on the roads which will further aggravate the congestion”.
“Therefore, we reject SPAD’s proposal and we will build the LRT system as contained in the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).
“The matter was voiced out during a meeting held between the state government, Transport Minister Anthony Loke and SPAD recently,” he said.
Chow was speaking to the media after handing over cheques to students who registered to study in institutes of higher learning at Dewan Milenium in Kepala Batas on Friday.
“We also explained to SPAD why the tram system was not suitable and they accepted our views.
“However, they voiced out on technical issues like the train depot area which will be located after the last station when the LRT is built later,” The Star reported Chow saying.
“We are now making amendments to the depot’s location to be submitted to SPAD within a month,” he said.
Loke was reported earlier this month to have said that an LRT system may not be the best solution to ease Penang’s traffic issues.
He said studies have shown that the rail system was not the most appropriate choice for the state and his ministry is seeking other modes of public transport.
SPAD has suggested alternatives such as a tram system, said Loke.
He added that the federal government will give its full support in terms of approval for Penang’s public transport projects, and the state will need to choose among the options proposed.
Meanwhile, a transport studies research expert said that Penang’s proposed LRT system is likely to lose RM1.2 billion in ticket revenue over the first 10 years of operation, due to a lack of passengers.
Roger Teoh, a postgraduate at the Imperial College London centre for transport studies research, was quoted by Free Malaysia Today as saying that the proposed RM8.4 billion Komtar-Bayan Lepas line would eventually require a bailout.