Penang to set up task force on feeder bus system for PTMP

By Opalyn Mok
PTC committee member Yap Soo Huey said they have met with the SPAD and Prasarana RapidPenang to discuss creating a feeder bus system to complement the Penang Transport Master Plan. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, March 6 — The Penang Transport Council (PTC) will be setting up a task force on creating a feeder bus system to ensure connectivity of the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP).

A PTC committee member Yap Soo Huey said they have met with the Land Public Transport Commission (SPAD) and Prasarana RapidPenang to discuss creating a feeder bus system to complement the PTMP.

“We are looking at coming up with a system where there will be a bus stop at every 400m so that the public don’t need to walk more than 10 minutes to reach a bus stop,” she said in a press conference after a dialogue session on PTMP for people with disabilities.

She said the feeder bus systems and its routes will be dependent on the main LRT artery in the PTMP.

One of the issues raised during the PTMP dialogue session with the project delivery partner, SRS Consortium, is concerns on connectivity to and from the LRT stations.

Yap said the main concerns were for the disabled to have easy access to important locations such as the hospital, banks, post office and government offices.

The dialogue session today was attended by 41 people with varying disabilities who voiced their views and concerns on the project.

One of them, Penang Accessibility Action Group (PAAG) member Dr Tiun Ling Ta said it is also important to ensure all infrastructure is m accessible such as wider pavements to allow more space for users getting down from the buses.

“The road shoulder has to be 1.8m to allow more space for wheelchair users getting down from the buses, otherwise, now they get down on the roads and this is dangerous,” he said.

Wong Yoon Loong from the National Council for The Blind said the public transportation component of the PTMP is important as all people with disabilities have to rely on public transportation most of the time.

“The visually impaired can’t drive so we have to rely on public transportation a lot, that’s why I think this initiative is very important, especially in getting our feedback on the project,” he said.

Yap, who is also the chairman for PAAG, said the group works closely with local authorities to ensure planning major infrastructure works like the PTMP take into consideration views from the various disabled groups.

She said this morning’s dialogue is just the first of many other briefing and dialogue sessions with the disabled groups and PAAG members.

“We will continuously get their feedback and input to ensure all facilities and infrastructure planned are accessible to all,” she said.

Yap said there are 28,353 registered disabled persons in Penang as at 2015 but the figure could be higher as many do not register as an OKU.

The PTMP is an ambitious RM27 billion project to address traffic and connection issues in Penang by linking the island and the mainland by mass rail transit systems, bus services, ferries and water taxis.

SRS Consortium has been appointed by the state government as the Project Delivery Partner (PDP) while the funds are raised by allowing for the reclamation of a 930ha plot and a 445ha plot off the coast in Permatang Damar Laut.