Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Penang Outer Ring Rapid Transit Corridor

According to the TDM Encyclopedia, us Rapid Transit (BRT) refers to a set of bus system design features that provide high quality and cost-effective transit service. These include:
  • Grade-separated right-of-way, including busways (for bus use only, also called O-bahn or Quickways) HOV lanes (for buses, vanpools and carpools), and otherTransit Priority measures. Some systems use guideways which automatically steer the bus on portions of the route.
  • Frequent, high-capacity service that results in passenger waits of less than 10-minutes during peak periods.
  • High-quality vehicles that are easy to board, quiet, clean and comfortable to ride.
  • Pre-paid fare collection to minimize boarding delays.
  • Integrated fare systems, allowing free or discounted transfers between routes and modes.
  • Convenient user information and Marketing programs.
  • High quality bus Stations with Transit Oriented Development in nearby areas.
  • Modal integration, with BRT service coordinated with walking and cycling facilities, taxi services, intercity bus, rail transit, and other transportation services.
  • Excellent customer service.
  • Improved Security for transit users and pedestrians.

In the past, bus transit was generally considered an inferior service, to be provided for people who lack alternatives, and in communities that cannot afford “better” transportation services such as rail or private automobile. This creates a self-fulfilling prophesy, resulting in reduced investment and support for bus transit, and an emphasize on cost minimization, that leads to inferior service. Bus Rapid Transit represents a shift in perception, so decision-makers recognize that buses can provide high quality service which can attract discretionary travelers (those who have alternative travel options). For many trips, BRT can provide faster and more direct service than urban rail, since grade separated Quickways can accommodate multiple bus routes from various destinations, reducing the need for transfers (Hoffman 2008).

Bus Rapid Transit is considered a more affordable alternative to Rail for improving transit service quality and attracting travelers who would otherwise drive on congested urban corridors. It was initially implemented in less developed countries such as Brazil and Columbia during the 1990s, but the concept has become widely accepted by transportation planners and transit advocates throughout the world.

We can have our own Bus Rapid Transit connecting Telok Pahang to Batu Maung if we established the route that pass through Telok Pahang, Batu Feringgi, Tanjung Bungah, Tanjung Tokong, Gurney Drive, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, Lebuh Farquhar, Lebuh Light - Lebuh Pantai - Lebuh Downing , Pengkalan Weld, Lebuhraya Lim Chong Eu and Batu Maung as the Penang Outer Ring Rapid Transit Corridor.

The stretch from Telok Pahang to midway of Tanjung Bungah is consider as “cul-de-sac” (a dead end road) , the carrying capacity of that stretch of road is reaching it's maximum. Further development along the route will caused serious traffic woes. There is no way for us to expand the road due to the nature topography, the proposal to build a tunnel is too costly. Therefore it is imperative that we solve the traffic need using Bus Transit to cater for the growing tourism industry.

The subsequent stretch of the route of the Outer Ring Rapid Transit Corridor face the problem intense development arsing from large scale land reclamation. Soon the traffic will become a nightmare. For this reason the Penang Outer Ring Road was proposed which is not well received by Penangites.

Malaysian attitudes toward transportation planning should undergo significant change. We can't adopt partisan stand and ignore the need to bring changes into our land use policy. For decades after independence, our public policy only emphasized the construction of new highway and road system with no respect to the permissible maximum density. Our urban growth continue to be dictate by developers and corrupted politicians. Our transportation policy tend to accelerate automobile ownership to protect the national car. For the most part, there was no consensus among transportation policymakers that their primary goal was to accommodate growth by constructing facilities which would have adequate capacity to handle future demand. It was understood that land use patterns and economic development were the sources of traffic, yet we still see irresponsible land reclamation to build high density development that flout the permissible maximum density.

Three years after we ousted zero KPI administration, the current Kai Sue administration is no different than zero KPI when come to issues regarding development. Why want to revive the controversial Penang Outer Ring road knowing that it might turn out to be a political suicide? Why reclaim the shoreline and build as many high rises like there is no tomorrow? Lim Guan Eng has failed his supporters with his obsession for development. His empty shouting of Heng Ong Huat will only make our road system worst beyond imagination.

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