Monday, March 18, 2013

Penang Citizen Alternative Transport Initiative 2.0

Penang Citizen Alternative Transport Initiative

The elixir of growth that will make Penang livable and accessible in a sustainable way.
Ong Eu Soon

1          Why the initiative?

Without integrating transportation with land use planning, Penang public transit faces the daunting challenge of creating strategies for policies, technologies, infrastructure, and business models that pave a path to the future. The challenge lies in creating strategies that lead to scalable solutions for meeting growth in demand, including strategies affecting the communication, navigation and transit oriented development. We need a transit oriented land use policy that gear towards transportation improvements to make land more accessible and so increase the likelihood that it will be developed or redeveloped. Unfortunately, we only have policies that make our transportation worst and our traffic congestion become chaotic.
The wanton changes that made to the development density against the permissible maximum density with total disregard to traffic management is contributing to serious environmental problems and urban sprawl. What is an urban sprawl? The rapid expansion of metropolitan areas through building housing developments and shopping centers farther and farther from urban centers and lacing them together with more and more major highways. Widespread development that has occurred without any overall land-use plan. This is the type of development envisaged by Lim Guan Eng administration,  it is characterized by high densities, few transportation options, and rigid separation of residences, jobs, and shops, that will exacerbate air and water pollution, noise pollution,  habitat loss, and a decline in ecosystem functions. It can also increase the demands on the road system and reduce the efficiency of the system, as the same number of people and same level of economic activity generates more and longer trips. Managing these challenges is particularly demanding when transportation and land use are planned separately, as they are in most localities.
On Feb 28,2013, the Chief Minister finally confirmed that the state government has awarded the RM8bil tender to construct road and undersea tunnel projects on the island to Malaysia-China joint venture Con-sortium Zenith BUCG Sdn Bhd. This is the most expensive road expansion project in Malaysia since independent.
The decision to build more roads instead of improving the public transport system go against the motto of Penang Transport Council: moving the people, not cars. This go against it's promises of seeking a new approach in handling public transport and mobility. The state government promised to adopt a new vision paradigm in tackling transport, one that moves people away from our dependence on private transport mode to a more economically and ecologically sustainable public transport system. The biggest and most formidable challenge for the Penang Transport Council is to fight against the the adrenaline rush of Lim Guan Eng which it failed dismally.
The council is made up of “state and city council members, civil servants, university professors, professionals, stakeholders, and members of the public with no spine or sense of dignity. They have failed to deliver their promises of moving the people, not cars. They have allowed Lim Guan Eng to usurp their decision making authority and to trivialize their expertise. They have allowed Lim Guan Eng to persist in pressing onward all the road construction solutions to the bewilderment of sustainable transit advocates.
The worst thing that ever happened to us is the way money was spent on transit infrastructure that do not benefit us.
The state government only need  about  USD$500million or  RM1.5 billion to implement a BRT based on the following specification:
Length of BRT Service Route
per direction
Length of Feeder Service Route
per direction
Number of  BRT Station with security camera and emergency call
2km interval
Number of  air conditioned BRT buses
5km interval
Number of air conditioned Feeder buses
5km interval
Terminal Facilities

Depot Facilities

Restroom at Terminal

Taxi Stand at station

Bicycle Parking at Station

Pedestrian crosswalk with signal

Pedestrian bridge at station

Improvements to pedestrian access ways

 Kiss-and-ride facilities only
(Drop-off point no parking)
5 unit

 Park-and-ride facility (open lot parking)
5 unit
 Park-and-ride facility (multi-level parking)
2 unit
Standard intermediate transfer station
10 unit
Large intermediate transfer station for multiple feeder services
8 unit
Control centre (including software)
1 unit

Public shared bicycle program
400 stations with 12,000 bikes
With half of the stations and bikes at BRT stations
Penang Outer Ring Transit Corridor
Stop at 2km interval
Penang Central Transit Corridor
Stop at 2km interval
Penang Mainland Rapid Transit Corridor
Stop at 2km interval
BEST Corridor
No stopover
Total cost
RM1.5 billion
Total cost per km
RM15 million
The estimate has been compiled using the BRT infrastructure cost estimation calculator provided by IDTP.
This BRT system has a service route with a total length of 100km. It consists of 4 main transit corridors, i.e. Penang Outer Ring Transit Corridor (40km), Penang Central Transit Corridor (25km), Penang Mainland Transit Corridor(35km) and the existing BEST transit Corridor (20km). A total of 8 large intermediate transfer station for multiple feeder services are allocated to link up all the corridors to complete the loop for a total solution. The BRT system also has a feeder bus system of 50 buses operated at 5km interval at peak hour with 10 standard intermediate transfer stations to link up with existing public bus services.
Each BRT station has 2 public shared bicycle stations with 60 public shared bicycles for easy renting.
This BRT system is complimented by a large public shared bicycle program of 400 stations with 12,000 units of bicycles to serve commuter's need. It also put emphasis on improving  pedestrian walking by allocating a budget of RM35,5million for pedestrian crosswalk, pedestrian bridge and improvements to pedestrian access ways (100km).
If the government drop the RM780 million upgrading project  for the three main roads linking Penang second bridge on the island, with the money saved  we only need to come out with less than RM800 million for this sustainable solution. This budget is something that the MPPP and MPSP can afford to pay especially when it is spread across 5 years term.
Why wasting our money in the tunes of billions for white elephant projects with dubious economic viability, when we can have an affordable transit solution?
This solution cost only a fiction of RM6.8billion mega projects. No concession need to be given. No toll to be paid. No environmental impact. No major financial risk. No wastage of land resources. It is a sustainable solution, the elixir of growth that will make Penang livable and accessible in a sustainable way.
Therefore it is imperative for us to initiate a Bus Rapid Transit solution complement by cycling and pedestrian travel to solve our traffic woes. We should not  wait for Lim Guan Eng administration or the federal government to find way to understand and respond to the inextricably link between land use and public transport  in a way that fulfills natural resource and quality-of-life objectives while fulfilling community economic objectives.

2          Statement of Vision

Provide  an  economically and  ecologically sustainable cost effective public transit system that moves people away from over-dependence on private transport.
This is captured in the simple motto:
" Moving People NOT Cars "

3          Benefits of Public Transport Initiatives

The benefits of public transport initiatives is as follows:
Time saving benefits to transit users
·         Labour productivity
·         Quality of Life
Time saving benefits to mixed traffic vehicles
·         Labour productivity
·         Delivery efficiency for goods and services
Fuels saving from public transport operations
·         Reduce fuel expenditures for public transport operators
·         Reduce fuel expenditures for mixed traffic vehicles
·         Reduced dependency on fuel
·         Reduced usage of domestic supply
Air quality improvements (reduced emissions of CO, NOx, PM, and  SOx
·         Human health
·         Preservation of built environment
·         Preservation of natural environment
·         Labour productivity
Greenhouse gas emission reductions
·         Global environment
Noise and vibration reductions
·         Human healt
·         Labour and education productivity
·         Built environment
Other environment improvements
·         Reduced solid and liquid waste
·         Reduced impact on flora and fauna
·         Property values
·         Shop sales
Transit system employment
·         Construction employment
·         Operational employment Commercial sector
·         Employment generation
Amenity benefits to transit passengers
·         Comfort of passengers
·         Prestige of system Social benefit
·         Reductions in crime and social problems in area
·         Sociability of  street environment
·         Equity for low income group
·         Increase civic pride and sense of community
City image
·         City-wide pride
·         Tourism
Urban form
·         More sustainable urban form, including densification of major corridors
·         Reduced cost of delivery services such as electricity, sanitation and water.
·         Delivery of mass transit system within one political term
·        Delivery of high quality resource that will   produce positive results for virtually all voting groups.

4          Bus Rapid Transit

The following subsections are excerpts from Bus Rapid Transit Planning Guide of IDTP:
       Introduction to public transport technologies
       Public transport topologies
       Type of public transport topologies
       Criteria in technology selection
       Vehicle Station Interface
       Off-board fare collection and fare verification
      Platform level boarding

4.1       Introduction to public transport technologies

“The technologies which have had the most profound effects on human life are usually simple.”  -Freeman Dyson, physicist, 1923-

4.2        Public transport topologies

Public transport in its broadest sense refers to collective passenger services. It can thus include the assortment of both the para-transit and  formal services found in cities around the world. Public transport thus encompasses shared taxis,mini-vans, conventional bus services, BRT, water based services,  and rail based services.
More specifically, Mass Rapid Transit (MRT) is a collective urban passengers service that operates at high level of customer performance, especially with regard to travel times and passenger carrying capacity. Mass Rapid Transit can achieve reduced travel times through the provision of widely accessible networks, higher  speed vehicles, exclusive right of way infrastructure, special limited stop or express services, efficient rate collection systems, and /or faster boarding and alighting techniques. Higher carrying capacities may also be achieved through larger vehicles, multiple sets of vehicles(ie., bus platoon or a train),  and/or more frequent services.

4.3        Type of public transport topologies

The following defines the major categories of public transport topologies. No one of these options is inherently correct or incorrect. Local conditions and local preferences play a significant role in determining the preferred system type.
Bus Rapid Transit (BRT)- Bus based technology typically operating on exclusive right of way lanes at the surface level; in some cases underpasses or tunnels are utilised to provide grade separation at intersections or in dense city centers.
Light Rail Transit (LRT) – Electric rail-based technology operating either as  a single rail car  or as a short train of cars, typically on exclusive right of way lanes at the surface level with overhead electrical connectors.
Trams – Trams can also be  considered as a type of LRT, but typically utilised smaller sized carriages and may share road space with other forms of traffic.
Underground metro – A heavy rail transit system operating on grade separated tracks that are located principally underground.
Elevated rail transit - A  rail transit system operating on grade separated tracks that are located principally on an aerial structure; elevated systems can also considered a form of metro.
Suburban rail -  A heavy rail transit system operating on  exclusive right of way tracks that are located  at the surface level but generally  grade separated; typically carries passengers between suburban and urban  locations; differs from other urban rail systems by the fact that carriages are heavier and the distances traveled are usually longer.
Personal  rapid transit  (PRT)  - A rail or wheel based system carrying passengers in small Automatic Guided Vehicles (AGV) ; PRT typically operates on exclusive rights of way  lanes that may also be grade separated. The ideas behind PRT is to combine the flexibility of taxi services with the automation of fixed track systems. More suitable for high density apartments or flats  to transfer passengers or goods to transit stations.

4.4        Criteria in technology selection

The decision to  select a particular technology depends upon many factors. Costs, performance characteristics, local conditions, and personal preferences have historically all played a role in the decision making process.
Factors in choosing a type of public transport technology
·         Capital costs(infrastructure and property cost)
·         Operating costs
·         Maintenance costs
Planning and management
·         Planning and implementation time
·         Management and administration
·         Scalability
·         Flexibility
·         Diversity versus homogeneity
·         Capacity
·         Travel time / speed
·         Service frequency
·         Reliability
·         Comfort
·         Safety
·         Customer services
·         Image and perception
·         Economic impacts
·         Social impacts
·         Environment impacts
·         Urban impacts

Public transport decision matrix
Demand requirements
Metro rail / elevated rail systems
High to very high passenger demand (30,000 to 80,000 pphpd)
·      High commercial speeds (28-35 kph)
·     Attracts discretionary public transport riders
·    Uses relatively little pubic space
·    Low local air emissions
·    Good service image
·               Very high infrastructure costs
(US$45million to US$350million per km)
·               May require operational subsidies
·               Poor revenue recovery during non-peak periods
·               Long development and construction times
·               Complex integration with feeder systems
Light rail transit (LRT)
Moderate passenger demand (5,000 to 12,000 pphpd)
·       Attracts discretionary public transport riders
·       Quiet ride performance
·       Can be fitted to narrow streets
·       Low local air emissions
·       Good service image
·   Moderate high infrastructure costs (US$15million to US$45million per km)
·   May require operational subsidies
·   Limitations with respect to passenger capacity
·   Long development and construction times
Bus rapid transit (BRT)
Low to high passenger demand (3,000 to 45,000 pphpd)
·  Relative low infrastructure costs (US$0.5million to US$14million per km)
·  Often do not require operational subsidies
·  Good average commercial speeds (20-30 kph)
·  Ease of integration with feeder systems
·  short development and implementation  times
·  Good service image
·    Can carry with it the negative stigma of bus technology
·    Relative unknown to many decision makers
bus services
Low  passenger demand (500 to 5,000 pphpd)
·  Low infrastructure costs
·  Relative low operating cost
·  Appropriate for small cities or rural areas with low demand
·  Poor service image
·  Often lacking in basic customer amenity and comfort
·   Regular loses mode share to private vehicles

4.5        Why BRT?

The infrastructure costs is a pre-eminent decision making factor. Without the federal funding and support, the state government is unable to undertake any  project  that involved huge investment.  BRT is the preference as it is low cost and can be undertake by private business entity. The planning,development and implementation also shorter compare to all other type of public transport topologies.  A BRT system will likely permit a city to build a network 4 to 20 times more extensive than a tram or light rail system if the same budget is applied to both technologies. Thus, BRT is capable of providing more value for the given investment.
The relative robustness of capital cost projections is also an important consideration. Higher cost options tends to demonstrate greater disparity  between projected and actual costs. As the estimated budget increases, a greater range of variables may tend to create uncertainty in the figures. This disparity translates into greater financial risk for those undertaking the project.
The long term financial sustainability of a public transport projects is highly dependent upon the on going operating costs of the system. These costs can include vehicle amortisation, labour, fuel, maintenance, and spare parts. If a system requires on-going subsidies, the financial strain can end up affecting the effectiveness of both the municipal government and the public transport  service to customer. The level of operating cost will often also be related to the expected fare levels of service, and thus will ultimately affect affordability and issue of social equity.
Ideally, a public transport transport project can be planned and implemented within a single political term. This short time span would provide an additional incentive, as the project initiator would want to finish the project in time to reap the political rewards.
BRT planning typically can be completed in a 12 month to 18 month time horizon.      

4.6    Corridor Identification

4.6.1      Penang Outer Ring Rapid Transit Corridor

The stretch of road 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. Moreover, the road is narrow. By discouraging the use of private vehicles with the implementation of an economical and ecological sustainable BRT is the only way we can reduce the traffic flow. Therefore it is imperative that we solve the traffic need using BRT to cater for the growing tourism industry and sprouting development along the coastal line.
The subsequent stretch of the route along the coastal road from Tanjung Bungah, Gurney Drive, Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah, Lebuh Farquhar, Lebuh Light , Lebuh Pantai ,Lebuh Downing , Pengkalan Weld, Lebuhraya Lim Chong Eu to Batu Maung Maung face the problem of intense development arising 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.
We can have our own BRT 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.

4.6.2      Penang Central Rapid Transit Corridors

One of the biggest obstacles in improving the ridership of bus transit on Penang island is the lack of visibility of route networking. Under decades of misrule of Koh Tzu Kon, the island is left with only 4 transit stations making the built environment totally transit unfriendly. The half century old centralized hub-and-spoke model which use Weld Quay(Jetty) as the central hub for interchange has reaches the limits of its scalability. The problem is compounded by the poor visibility of route networking.
If you ask a commuter to travel from Air Hitam to Gurney Drive without travelling via Weld Quay or Komtar using bus interchange in the most efficient and effective manner, no one can come out with a good answer. When a commuter face this kind of problem, how do you expect the normal car users to opt for bus transit. If a commuter is force to make bus interchange at Weld Quay or Komtar, unnecessary trip will involve, which will prove to be time consuming. If a commuter who is unfamiliar with the destination he want to travel using bus transit and unsure about where to stop or where to take a bus, do you seriously think the habitual car drivers will opt for bus transit.
Bus transit ridership will only be able to improve if the route networking visibility is improved. To solve the traffic woes on Penang island, the first thing is to do is to complement  the existing hub and spoke topology for route networking with the BRT.
We need central transit corridors to provide the interconnection for the existing conventional bus system to improve the route networking visibility.

The BRT servicing routes for the central rapid transit corridors :
Paya Terubung - Jalan Air Hitam-Jalan Masjid Negeri - Jalan Scotland - Jalan Utama- Jalan Gottlieb - Jalan Bagan Jermal -Gurney Drive -Interchange at Jalan Masjid Negeri
Paya Terubung - Jalan Air Hitam - Jalan Dato Keramat - Jalan Magazine-Jalan Ria - Komtar Terminal--Jalan Ria - Jalan Lim Chwee leong - Jalan Pinang - Lebuh Chulia - Pengkalan Weld
- Interchange at Jalan Masjid Negeri, Jalan Dato Keramat
Paya Terubung-- Jalan Air Hitam-Jalan Masjid Negeri -Jalan Tunku Kudin-Tesco (Taman Kudin) - Lebuhraya Lim Chong Eu - Interchange at Jalan Masjid Negeri
Lebuhraya Lim Chong Eu- Tesco (Taman Kudin) -Jalan Tunku Kudin-Jalan Masjid Negeri - Jalan Scotland - Jalan Utama - Jalan Gottlieb - Jalan Bagan Jermal - Gurney Drive
- Interchange at Jalan Masjid Negeri
Lebuhraya Lim Chong Eu- Tesco (Taman Kudin) -Jalan Tunku Kudin-Jalan Masjid Negeri  Jalan Dato Keramat - Jalan Magazine-Jalan Ria - Komtar Terminal--Jalan Ria - Jalan Lim Chwee leong - Jalan Pinang - Lebuh Chulia - Pengkalan Weld
- Interchange at Jalan Masjid Negeri
Gurney Drive -  Jalan Bagan Jermal - Jalan Gottlieb -  Jalan Utama -  Jalan Scotland-  Jalan Masjid Negeri- Jalan Dato Keramat - Jalan Magazine-Jalan Ria - Komtar Terminal--Jalan Ria - Jalan Lim Chwee leong - Jalan Pinang - Lebuh Chulia - Pengkalan Weld
- Interchange at Jalan Masjid Negeri

4.6.3    Penang Mainland Rapid Transit Corridor

We need the BRT to provide efficient bus service for connecting the various towns on the mainland using the old federal trunk road.
The route for the Penang Mainland Rapid Transit Corridor should connect the following towns at the old federal trunk road:
Butterworth, Chain Ferry, Prai, Bukit Tengah, Bukit Tinggi, Simpang Ampang, Valdor, Sungai Bakap, Nibong Tebal.

4.6.4      Bridge Express Shuttle Transit Corridor

Bridge Express Shuttle Transit is the safe, stress free and convenient way to travel to work. Currently Rapid Penang provides the following Bridge Express Shuttle Transit services.  BEST A Route

Morning Trip -Sunway Carnival Hub to Bukit Jambul Hub
There are 9 journeys by BEST A  each morning using five buses, four of which make 2 trips. The journeys start from Sunway Carnival at 5:30 am, 5:50 am, 6:10 am, 6:30 am, 6:50 am, 7:10 am, 7:30 am, 7:50 am and 8:10 am. The stops are:
Sunway Carnival-Penang Bridge Toll Plaza (10 min later) - Queensbay Mall (18 min later) - Seagate (3 min later) - PSDC (1 min later) - Osram (1 min later) - Towam (5 min later) - BBraun (2 min later) - Sunshine Square (5 min later) - Bukit Jambul (13 min later) - Sunway Carnival* (23 min later).
* only for buses making two trips.

Evening Trip - Bukit Jambul Hub to Sunway Carnival Hub
There are 9 journeys by BEST A  each evening using five buses, four of which make 2 trips. The journeys start from Bukit Jambul at 4:30 pm, 4:50 pm, 5:10 pm, 5:30 pm, 5:50 pm, 6:20 pm, 6:40 pm, 7:00 pm and 7:20 pm. The stops are:
Bukit Jambul - Osram (7 min later) - Towam (4 min later) - BBraun (3 min later) - Jalan Tengah (5 min later) - PSDC (5 min later) - Seagate (3 min later) - Tun Dr Awang Roundabout (9 min later) -
Penang Bridge (10 min later) - Perai Jaya (28 min later) - Sunway Carnival (7 min later) - Bukit Jambul* (27 min later).
* only for buses making two trips.  BEST B Route

Morning Trip - Sunway Carnival Hub to Bukit Jambul Hub
There are 9 journeys by BEST B each morning using five buses, four of which make 2 trips. The journeys start from
Sunway Carnival at 5:30 am, 5:50 am, 6:10 am, 6:30 am, 6:50 am, 7:10 am, 7:30 am, 7:50 am and 8:10 am. The stops are:
Sunway Carnival - Penang Bridge Toll Plaza (10 min later) - Queensbay Mall (18 min later) - Intel (5 min later) - Jabil (3 min later) - PSDC (2 min later) - Seagate (3 min later) - Sunshine Square (4 min later) - PISA (1 min later) - Bukit Jambul (3 min later) - Sunway Carnival* (28 min later).
* only for buses making two trips.

Evening Trip - Bukit Jambul Hub to Sunway Carnival Hub
There are eight journeys by BEST B each evening using five buses, three of which make 2 trips. The journeys start from Bukit Jambul at 4:30 pm, 4:55 pm, 5:20 pm, 5:45 pm, 6:10 pm, 6:35 pm, 7:00 pm and 7:25 pm. The stops are:
Bukit Jambul - Intel (6 min later) - Jabil (5 min later) - AMD (2 min later) - Kastam (1 min later) - PSDC (2 min later) - Seagate (3 min later) - Tun Dr Awang Roundabout (10 min later) -
Penang Bridge (10 min later) - Perai Jaya (27 min later) - Sunway Carnival (12 min later) - Bukit Jambul* (46 min later).
* only for buses making two trips.  BEST C Route

Morning Trip - Sunway Carnival Hub to Bukit Jambul Hub There are nine journeys by BEST C each morning using six buses, three of which make 2 trips. The journeys start from Sunway Carnival at 5:30 am, 5:50 am, 6:10 am, 6:30 am, 6:50 am, 7:10 am, 7:30 am, 7:50 am and 8:10 am. The stops are:
Sunway Carnival - Penang Bridge Toll Plaza (10 min later) - Queensbay Mall (18 min later) - Seagate (4 min later) - Jabil (3 min later) - Schenker (2 min later) - Pentamaster (2 min later) - Zhulian (2 min later) - Dell/Dufu (4 min later) - Bukit Jambul (9 min later) - Sunway Carnival* (38 min later)
* only for buses making two trips.
Evening Trip - Bukit Jambul Hub to Sunway Carnival Hub
There are ten journeys by BEST B each evening using six buses, four of which make 2 trips. The journeys start from Bukit Jambul at 4:30 pm, 4:50 pm, 5:10 pm, 5:30 pm, 5:50 pm, 6:10 pm, 6:30 pm, 6:50 pm, 7:10 pm and 7:30 pm. The stops are:
Bukit Jambul - Seagate (6 min later) - Jabil (3 min later) - Schenker (3 min later) - Pentamaster (2 min later) - Zhulian (2 min later) - Dell/Dufu (6 min later) - Tun Dr Awang Roundabout (15 min later) -
Penang Bridge (8 min later) - Perai Jaya (22 min later) - Sunway Carnival (10 min later) - Bukit Jambul* (31 min later).
* only for buses making two trips.
The return trips of the BEST is now empty, it should be used to ferry those who stay in the island to the various industrial zones in the main land. The state government should  negotiate with Bukit Jambul Complex to provide parking space for this purpose. The Sungai Nibong pesta car park can be used for the BEST park and ride scheme as well.
Rapid Penang should  launch free feeder bus service from Sunway Carnival for commuters to go to the various industrial zones, i.e. Bukit Tengah Industrial Park, Prai Industrial Estate, and Mak Mandin Industrial Estate. This will help reduce the operating cost of BEST services and gain more ridership.
To make the BEST system work more efficiently, a monthly pass can be introduced for commuters to enjoy attractive season parking rates at designated sites as well as "chauffered convenience", via public transport. This will ease the planning of Rapid Penang.

4.7  The Factors affecting the performance of BRT

4.7.1                    Vehicle Station Interface

Fig. 1: Transit Station of Curitiba BRT
Fig. 2.: Transit station of Bogota BRT

The innovation introduced by Curitiba system, beginning in 1974, profoundly shaped the course of BRT. In particular, 4 of the most important innovations from Curitiba involved the vehicle-station interface:
1.     Pre-board fare collection and fare verification;
2.     At-level, platform boarding;
3.     Efficient vehicle alignment to station;
4.     Wide, multiple doorways;
5.    Sufficient customer space on station platform.

4.7.2    Off-board fare collection and fare verification

Most BRT systems since Curitiba have instituted external or off-board fare collection and fare verification. Passengers pay their fare prior  to entering the station, and then have  their fare verified as they pass the entry turnstile.
With most conventional bus services, the driver is responsible for the collection of fares as well as driving the vehicle, and passengers are only allowed to enter through the front door. Thus, on-board fare collection means that boarding time is largely determined by the fare collection activity. If the fare collection is slow, the whole public transport service is slow. Typically passengers take from 2 to 4 seconds just to pay the driver. If the driver also have to give passengers change manually, even longer delays are seen. Once passenger flows reach a certain point, the delay and time loss associated with on-board fare collection become a significant system liability.
Off-board payment also facilitates free transfers within the system. The enclosed, controlled stations also give the system another level of security, as the stations can be better protected by security personal, and thus discouraging theft and other undesirable activities. It will also eliminate the fare discrepancies problem associated with on -board payment system.

4.7.3    Platform level boarding

To further reduce boarding and alighting times,most state of art BRT systems have introduced platform level boarding. With platform level boarding, the stopping bay platform is designed to be the same height as the vehicle floor. This allow for fast boarding and alighting, and also allows easier access for the persons with wheelchairs, parents with strollers, young children and the elderly.

Fig. 3: Platform level boarding – Curitiba BRT
Fig. 4: Platform level boarding – Bogota BRT

4.7.4    Choice of vehicle

Selection of BRT vehicle must be carefully planned as it influences every aspect of transit performance. BRT vehicle characteristics affect overall levels of service in terms of speed, reliability, capacity and cost.
For selection of BRT vehicles following aspects must be taken into consideration.
1.     External dimension and capacity
2.     Acess
·         Internal Layout
·         Doors and Aisle Width
·         Multiple doorways
·         Floor Height
3.     Fuel Choice
4.     Vehicle Guidance
5.      Aesthetics, Identity and Branding

Fig. 5: Articulated Bus - Bogota BRT

4.7.5      Implementation Strategy

The BRT  buses should  run every 15 minutes  during peak hour periods and make fewer stops than local bus service between those locations. During peak hour periods, all private vehicles should be discourage from using the routes on the rapid transit corridors. All side parking on the routes of the rapid transit corridors should be strictly prohibited during designated peak hour periods. Dedicated bus lanes can be designated along  Pengkalan Weld and Lebuhraya Lim Chong Eu.

4.8        Stations

To maximize flexibility and reduce the need for transfers, stations will be located at key points along the busway where passengers can connect to other modes of travel (e.g. cycling, local transit service). The impact of BRT systems on reducing traffic congestion and air pollution is even greater when the stations incorporate facilities for bicyclists and pedestrians. All the stations should be incorporate with free bicycle storage facilities , segregated cycling facilities  and pedestrian walkway.

Fig. 6: Bogota BRT station with pedestrian walkway

1)      Teluk Bahang station
This station should be integrated with a publicly shared bicycle scheme
2)      Batu Ferrighi station
This station should be integrated with a publicly shared bicycle scheme
3)      Tanjung Bungah station
This station should be integrated with a publicly shared bicycle scheme
4)      Tanjung Tokong station
This station should be integrated with a publicly shared bicycle scheme
5)      Gurney Drive station
This station should be integrated with a publicly shared bicycle scheme
6)      Esplanade station
This station should be integrated with a publicly shared bicycle scheme
7)      Weld Quay station
This station should be integrated with a publicly shared bicycle scheme
8)      Rapid Penang Bus depot at Lebuhraya Lim Chong Eu

9)      Macalum station

10)  Sungai Pinang station

11)  Tunku Kudin station

12)  Tesco station

13)   The Light station

14)   N Park station

15)   Queenbay station

16)  FTZ station
This station should be integrated with a publicly shared bicycle scheme
17)  Batu Maung station

18)  Komtar station
This station should be integrated with a publicly shared bicycle scheme
19)  Air Itam station
This station should be integrated with a publicly shared bicycle scheme
20)  Paya Terubung station

21)  Jalan Masjid Negri station

22)  Caring Society Complex station
This station should be integrated with a publicly shared bicycle scheme
23)  Youth Park station
This station should be integrated with a publicly shared bicycle scheme
24)   Gottlieb station

25)   Dato Keramat station

26)  Time Square station

27)  Nibong Tebal station

28)  Sungai Bakap station

29)  Valdor station

30)  Simpang Ampang station

31)  Bukit Tinggi station

32)  Bukit Tengah station

33)  Prai station

34)  Chain Ferry station

35)  Penang Sentral station (Butterworth)

4.9        Park and ride scheme for Penang Hill

Penang Hill lately has been plagued with controversy after controversy since the upgrading of the funicular train system. The frequent breakdown of the new funicular train system, the construction of a Kancil car park full of flaws, and the controversial and dystopian sheltered walkway, the resulting chaos due to tour buses and cars parked haphazardly, the resulting traffic congestion and long beeline of queue as thousands of tourists swamped the area, all these are the by product of the piecemeal approach adopted by Lim Guan Eng administration towards development.
If you think that enough is enough, another scandalous decision to allow the Kek Lo Si temple to build a 1000 car park is threatening to plague the built environment with disastrous destruction and worsen the alredy bad traffic in Air Hitam. Renowned architect Dr Jimmy Lim Cheok Siang, who has been hand picked by Lim Guan Eng to undertake the Penang Hill facelift project, when commented on this scandalous decision described the move like pumping large volume of blood into an already choked blood vein, a move that will have Penangites heart attack.
We have witnessed Lim Guan Eng and Ting Hock Nam spar over the Penang Hill development. How Lim Guan Eng vehemently denied that there is a plan to resume the proposed development by Berjaya in Penang Hill. Now suddenly there is news that Lim Guan Eng administration has approved a 1000 car park facilities for Kek Lo Si temple. The project will involved excavation, trees removal and major landscape change. It also encourage private car use on an already congested road at Air Hitam.

For the Penang Hill station, even if the Kancil car park is not mired in sloppy design controversy, it can hardly cope with the demand for parking space. Lim Guan Eng administration should discourage the people from using their private cars to go to Penang Hill or Kek Lo Si temple. The state government can arrange with RapidPenang to provide shuttle bus services in a Park and Ride scheme. The shopping complexes or malls play an important role of providing parking facilities to commuters. Without parking facilities, it will be very hard to persuade commuters to opt for public transports or carpooling. Most shopping complexes would be happy to provide the parking facilities at nominal fees in order to attract commuters to their complexes especially during economy downturn. The state government should encourage shopping malls like Tesco and Sunshine Falim to allocate parking lots to help provide parking spaces for the Park and Ride facilities. People can park their cars at Tesco or Sunshine Falim and take a shuttle bus to Penang Hill or Kek Lo Si temple. RapidPenang and the shopping malls will not be able to reject the offer as the number of tourist that go to both destination amount to nearby 10 thousand during public holiday session. The shopping mall can help to adsorb the cost of travelling ticket for those who purchase above certain amount at their shopping malls.
For those who prefer to use their private vehicle, an exorbitant parking fees should be leveraged to discourage them from using their own vehicle. The road leading to the Penang Hill or Kek Lo Si temple should be classified as towing zone. Any car parked haphazardly should be towed away immediately.

5          BRT Infrastructure Investment

Successful implementation of BRT requires working closely planned highway projects to insure that BRT infrastructure is incorporated. Another element critical to the success of BRT is to provide the necessary level of investment to support the increased ridership demand that all the corridors will experience. This investment includes capital for BRT infrastructure and annual funding to pay for operating, maintenance and administrative costs.
Attached with this initiative is the initial BRT infrastructure cost that the state government should invest in to make the BRT a reality.

6          Integrating Bicycle and Pedestrian Travel

Access trips to public transportation are often for short distances, and these trips are excellent candidates for shifting people from single occupancy motor vehicle (SOY) use to bicycle or pedestrian or intermodal trips. The inability of conventional bus system to provide comprehensive feeder bus services means we need to find way  to provide for the optimal use of both non-motorized and public transportation by linking bicycle, pedestrian and transit travel, and to develop programs which will increase transit ridership through improved bicycle and pedestrian access.
Nearly all transit customers are pedestrians, and in the Netherlands, Japan and other places around the world, as much as 35% of ridership access is by bicycle. Bogota, Paris, Curitiba, Portland, Seattle, Burlington and Phoenix have all provided bicycle parking docks  and publicly shared bicycle scheme on their public bus systems, and have experienced ridership increases.

6.1    The Bike Sharing Phenomenon

The History ,Impacts,  Models of Provision, and Future by Paul deMaio (2008)

Bike-sharing programmes have received increasing attention in recent years as an answer to public's desire to increase bicycle usage and lessen the environmental impact of transportation. Originally a concept from the revolutionary 1960s, bike-sharing's growth had been slow until new technology spurred a rapid expansion of this innovative concept.
Bicycles have several advantages as a mode of transportation for short-distance urban trips; they reach under-served areas, required less infrastructure and generally do not add to congestion. In addition, they are relatively inexpensive to purchase and maintain, do not create pollution in their operation, and provide user with exercise. Their value is undeniable when one also considers that these bicycles may increase trips on other modes of public transportation by expanding the reach of trains and buses.
There have been 3 generations of bike-sharing system over the past 40 years. The first generation began 1964 in Amsterdam with the Witte Fletsen or White Bikes. Ordinary bikes painted white were provided for public use. Individual were to find a bike, ride it to their destination, and leave it for the next user. Things didn't go as planned, as bikes were thrown into the canals or appropriated for private use, so the programme collapsed within days.
Nearly 30 years later, a second generation was launched in Copenhagen called Bycyklen, or City Bikes, with many improvements over the previous generation. These bikes were specially  designed for intense utilitarian use with solid rubber tyres, wheels with advertising plates, and could be picked up and returned at specific locations throughout the central city with a coin deposit. While more formalised than previous generation- with stations and an organisation to operate the programme – these bikes still experienced theft due to the anonymity of the customer.
A new breed of bike-sharing was seen soon after in 1996 at Portsmouth University in England with Bikeabout. This involved using a magnetic stripe card which the student would swipe to rent a bike. This and the following third generation systems were 'smartened' with a variety of technological improvements including electronically locking racks or bike locks, telecommunication systems, smart cards, mobile phone access and on-board computers. Bike sharing grew slowly in the following years until the launch of Velo'v in Lyon, France caused a stir.
Before bike-sharing, Lyon wasn't a bike-friendly city – only 1.5% of  trips were made by bikes. After Lyon created more bike facilities and introduced its Velo'v programme in 2005, bicycling increased as more felt safer cycling. Bike traffic has jumped around 500% since the launch of Velo'v with one quarter of this increase coming from bike-sharing. Velo'v reported 1.5million km travelled by customers in June 2008, and 36 million km since the programme inception in 2005. This equates to 7,260 tons of CO2. saved for the same distance travelled by cars.
As the success of the France's second city became known, the capital took note. In 2007, Paris launched it owns bike-sharing programme, Vélib' , with about 10,600 bikes soon expanded to 20,600 bikes. This massive undertaking and its better than expected success changed the course of bike-sharing history and generated enormous interest in this transit mode around the world.
To date, bike-sharing programmes have been offered as a bonus to local governments by advertising companies, such as the big three of JCDecaux, Clear Channel and Cemusa. The municipality gets a bike-sharing programme run by the advertising company while they gain locations for their adverts in public space. It's a convenient deal for governments who can't afford to provide the service otherwise.
As the demand for bike-sharing increased, more companies became involved in the industry and created their own technologies. Many of the new systems have no advertising  component, but rather require direct subsidy from the local government in addition to user fees to be financially sustainable. These new bike-sharing systems allow jurisdictions and universities either with population too small to make advertising profitable or where advertising on public space is prohibited, to consider launching their own services.
As we approach 100 bike-sharing programmes worldwide with as many as 10 times this planned, the future of bike-sharing is bright. Gerald Collomb, the President of Greater Lyon, said, “there are two type of mayors; those who have bike-sharing and those who want bike-sharing.” This certainly seems to be the case as each bike-sharing programme creates more interest in this form of transit- call it a virtuous cycle.
Europe certainly has the lion's share of programmes due to forward-thinking elected officials and a greater commitment tocycling in general, but the ideas  is finally taking hold elsewhere. In the east, New Zealand realised three programmes this year and China one. North America saw its first couple of programmes late this past summer with the launch of Washington, DC's programme, followed by three additional programmes in Denver, Minneapolis, Montreal. Each bike fleet was small, but plans for the four cities include expansion. Many other cities and universities throughout North America are in the process of selecting their bike-sharing vendor. South America's first bike-sharing programme opens in  November in Rio de Janeiro with a handful of others for 2009, including Buenos Aires and Santiago. The Middle East should see its first programme soon in Tel Aviv, and Melbourne and  Brisbane are on their way in Australia.
As the price of fuel continuous to rise, traffic congestion worsens, population grows, and a greater world-wide consciousness arises around the climate change, it will be even more necessary for leaders around the world to find modes of transportation to move people in environmentally sound, efficient and economically feasible ways. Fortunately, bike sharing fits these needs and not a moment too soon. Not a panacea, as bike-sharing is a complementary mode of transport and another tool in the toolbox of public transportation.

Fig.7: Vélib' Bikes of Paris, France

Fig. 8: Oybike in London, UK

6.1.1      Bike-sharing’s Impacts

Bike-sharing  has  had  profound  affects  on  creating  a  larger  cycling  population, increasing transit use, decreasing greenhouse gases, and improving public health. It has had the affect of raising bike mode share between 1.0 - 1.5 percent in cities with  pre-existing  low  cycling  use.  Cycle  mode  share  in  Barcelona  was  0.75  per-cent in 2005 and increased to 1.76 percent in 2007, the year Bicing was launched (Romero 2008). In Paris, cycle mode share increased from about 1 percent in 2001 to  2.5  percent  in  2007,  the  year  Vélib’  was  launched  (Nadal  2007;  City  of  Paris 2007).  Cycle  facility improvements  were  made  in  both  cities  during  these  time periods; however, it is difficult to extract the affects the new facilities had on cycle use.
Transit use increases in cities with bike-sharing due to the new bike transit trips, improved  connectivity  to  other  modes  of  transit  due  to  the  first  mile/last  mile solution bike-sharing helps solve, and decreased personal vehicle trips. While bike-sharing trips do replace some trips previously made on other modes of transit (50 percent in the case of Velo’v in Lyon), “[t]he loss of customers for public transport services  is  quite  low  as  many  users  are  still  holders  of  a  public  transport  pass” (NICHES  2007).  The  City  of  Paris  reported  50  million  trips  made  by  Vélib’  in  its first two years. In 2008, 28 percent of the survey respondents were less likely to use their personal vehicle; in 2009, this increased to 46 percent. In 2008, 21 percent of survey respondents used Vélib’ to reach the subway, train, or bus, and 25 percent used Vélib’ on the return trip from other transit modes. In 2009, 28 percent used Vélib’ to begin and to end their multi-leg transit trip (City of Paris 2008, 2009).
Many  bike-sharing  programs  take  pride  in  their  environmental  contribution. Montreal’s Bixi proudly states that its program has saved over 3,000,000 pounds of greenhouse gases since inception in May 2009 (Bixi 2009a). Lyon states that its program, which launched in 2005, has saved the equivalent of 18,600,000 pounds of  CO2  pollution  from  the  atmosphere  (Greater  Lyon  2009).  The  public  health benefits  of  bike-sharing  have  yet  to  be  analyzed;  however,  the  health  benefits of  cycling  are  well-known  (Andersen  et  al.  2000;  Cavill  and  Davis  2006;  Shepard 2008).

6.1.2   Models of Provision

Since  bike-sharing’s  inception,  various  models  of  provision  have  existed  (Büh-rmann 2008).  As  illustrated  in  Figure  2,  bike-sharing  providers  have  included governments,  quasi-governmental  transport  agencies,  universities,  non-profits, advertising  companies,  and  for-profits.  This  section  discusses  the  benefits  and detriments of each model.
In the government model, the locality operates the bike-sharing service as it would any other transit service. The government of Burgos, Spain, purchased and oper-ates  an  off-the-shelf  bike-sharing  system  called  Bicibur  (Civitas  2009).  With  this model, the government as operator has greater control over the program. On the other hand, it may not have the experience that existing bike-sharing operators have in managing a program. Also, the government maintains the liability for the program, which can be less desirable from a government’s perspective. The  transport  agency  model  has  a  quasi-governmental  organization  providing the  service.  The  transport  agency’s  customer  is  a  jurisdiction,  region,  or  nation. Transport  agencies,  such  as  Deutsche  Bahn  of  Germany  and  Stationnement  de Montréal, are prime examples. Deutsche Bahn is the national railway provider of Germany and operates a car-sharing and Call a Bike bike-sharing service. Station-nement de Montréal, the parking authority of Montréal, provides “management  of  municipal  paid  on-street  and  off-street  parking”  and  the  Bixi  bike-sharing service. Both organizations have gotten into bike-sharing as an extension of their other transport offerings to be a well-rounded mobility provider (Deutsche Bahn 2009; Stationnement de Montréal 2009).
The benefit of the quasi-government transport agency model is that the jurisdic-tion benefits from the experience and innovation of the bike-sharing service pro-vider, especially in the case of national Deutsche Bahn, without needing to develop the  capabilities  internally.  Additionally,  both  the  jurisdiction  and  transport agency’s top priority is to provide a useful transit service, rather than generating revenues, which is discussed in more detail below as a detriment in the advertising company  and  for-profit  models.  A  detriment  of  this  model  is  that,  without  the locality releasing a tender for the service, a more qualified operator may exist than the transport agency operator.
The university model has the educational institution providing the service, most likely in a campus setting. Examples are the former program at the University of Portsmouth, England, and newer incarnations such as that of St. Xavier University in Chicago (Black and Potter undated; DeMaio 2008b). The benefit of this model is  the  university  can  expand  its  intra-campus  transit  service  without  relying  on the jurisdiction to offer sufficient bike-sharing service on campus. A detriment is the surrounding jurisdiction potentially would not benefit from the service unless it  was  opened  to  the  adjacent  neighborhoods.  Also,  if  the  locality  were  to  use another system, there could be compatibility issues with the university’s system.
The non-profit model has an organization which was either expressly created for the operation of the service or one that folds the bike-sharing service into its exist-ing interests. Examples of non-profit programs include the City Bike Foundation of Copenhagen, which operates Bycyklen, and the Nice Ride Minnesota program in Minneapolis (City Bike Foundation of Copenhagen undated; Nice Ride Minnesota 2009). While the non-profit operates the program, it usually receives funding from the jurisdiction for the service it provides to the public in addition to collecting the revenues generated by membership and usage fees and sponsorships (Nice Ride Minnesota 2009). The non-profit model benefits the locality as it removes liability from it and places the liability on the non-profit which has limited funding and is less likely to be sued. A detriment of this model is the non-profit can be reliant on the public sector for a majority of its funding (Nice Ride Minnesota 2009).
With the advertising company model, companies such as JCDecaux, Clear Chan-nel Outdoor, and Cemusa offer a bike-sharing program to a jurisdiction, usually in exchange for the right to use public space to display revenue-generating advertisements  on  billboards,  bus  shelters,  and  kiosks.  The  benefit  of  this  model  is  it can be convenient and cost-effective for local governments that could not afford to  provide  the  bike-sharing  service  otherwise.  To  date,  this  model  has  been  the most popular. A detriment with the advertising company model is the problem of moral hazard. The advertising company usually does not benefit from revenues generated  by  the  system,  as  the  revenues  usually  go  to  the  jurisdiction,  so  the advertising company may not have the same incentive to operate the program as if the revenues were directly related to their level of service, regardless of what they agreed to in a service contract. This is highlighted in Paris by the statement by the director general of JCDecaux that its contract with Paris is unsustainable due to the unexpectedly high level of theft and vandalism the program has experienced:
“It’s simple. All the receipts go to the city. All the expenses are ours” (BBC 2009). In  one  case  in  particular,  the  advertising  company  provides  the  bike-sharing service  for  a  fee  and  not  for  an  advertising  contract.  In  Barcelona,  B:SM  (Barce-lona  de  Serveis  Municipals),  a  company  owned  by  the  city,  has  contracted  with Clear  Channel  Outdoor  to  operate  the  service  (Barcelona  de  Serveis  Municipals undated). This model is more similar to the transport provider model, as the con-tractor happens to be an advertising company but its advertising services are not used.
In the for-profit model, a private company provides the service with limited or no government involvement. Nextbike is a prime example of this model, with a local business running the service in a locality with the off-the-shelf flexible station sys-tem. While similar to the advertising company model, this model differs as there is no on-street advertising contract with the locality and the for-profit keeps all revenues generated. A benefit of this model is that the private sector can start a service as an entrepreneurial activity rather than wait for the public sector to do so. A detriment is that the for-profit may not receive funding assistance for the service as do programs offered under other models. Additionally, if the for-profit uses a fixed, versus flexible, system, they would need to have the locality’s support
to use public space, unless all stations are on private property.
There is no one ideal model that works best in all jurisdictions. There are factors that affect which models can be used and include the size of the jurisdiction and availability of both bike-sharing systems able to operate in the country and local entrepreneurs to run the program. The size of a jurisdiction is an important factor, as  the  predominant  model  of  advertising  companies  providing  bike-sharing  service tends to be mostly in larger cities where the potential for views of advertising, and therefore advertising revenue, is the greatest.
Demand  for  bike-sharing  has  been  around  longer  in  Europe  than  in  other  con-tinents, and the bike-sharing industry has grown more quickly, which has led to a more rapid growth of programs in European countries. From the continent to the  national  level,  home-grown  systems  generally  dominate  in  the  countries  in which  they  are  headquartered.  For  example,  Bicincitta’  is  headquartered  in  Italy and has the majority of programs offered there. Both Call a Bike and nextbike are headquartered in Germany and have the majority of programs there. The German government’s subsidization of Deutsche Bahn, which offers the Call a Bike service, also has an effect on its growth nationally.

6.1.3      Costs

The  capital  and  annual  operating  costs  of  programs  vary  greatly,  depending  on the  system,  population  density,  service  area,  and  fleet  size.  Capital  costs  include fabrication of the bikes and stations, license or purchase of the back-end system used to operate the equipment, member access cards (if necessary), purchase or rental  of  maintenance  and  distribution  vehicles,  and  installation.  Clear  Channel Outdoor’s SmartBike system is estimated to have capital costs of around $3,600 per bicycle; JCDecaux’s Cyclocity system is estimated at $4,400 per bicycle; and Bixi is estimated to be $3,000 per bicycle (New York City Department of City Planning 2009). Nice Ride Minnesota is planning to launch in 2010 using Bixi and estimates $3,200 per bike (Twin Cities Bike Share 2008).
Operating  costs  include  maintenance,  distribution,  staff,  insurance,  office  space, storage facilities, website hosting and maintenance, and electricity (if necessary). New York City’s analysis of several systems concludes an average operating cost of about $1,600 per bicycle (New York City Department of City Planning 2009). Minneapolis expects the same (Twin Cities Bike Share 2008).

6.1.4      Bike-sharing’s 4th Generation

What will the 4th generation of bike-sharing look like? As the 3rd generation of bike-sharing  brought  about  smartening  of  the  concept  with  smartcards,  mobile phones,  and  kiosks  with  screens,  the  hallmark  of  the  4th  generation  will  be improved  efficiency, sustainability,  and  usability.  This  is  being  accomplished  by improving distribution of bikes, installation, powering of stations, tracking, offer-ing pedalec (pedal assistance) bikes, and new business models.

6.1.5      Improved Distribution

Distribution of bikes must improve to make the bike-sharing service more efficient and  environmentally  friendly.  Staff  moving  bikes  from  areas  of  high  supply/low demand to areas of low supply/high demand is time consuming, expensive, and polluting. Programs will create “push” and “pull” stations which will either encour-age trips to leave or arrive, respectively, at these stations based on the demand for bikes. Incentives will include free time, credit, or cash. Vélib’ has made an improvement in this area with the launch of its “V+” concept, reports Velib et Moi - Le Blog. As it requires more physical effort and time for cus-tomers to reach uphill stations, V+ gives an extra 15 minutes to access about 100 of these designated uphill stations. The extra time given has encouraged greater use of these stations. Within the first three months of V+ being offered in Summer 2008,  314,443  instances  of  15-minute  credits  were  given.  These  extra  15-minute bonuses also may be saved up when not used during the trip to the V+ station (Vélib’ 2008). Free bike-on-transit capabilities adjacent to specific stations could also assist in pushing bikes uphill where bike-sharers could board another mode of transit. Luud Schimmelpennick, a co-inventor of the bike-sharing concept, reports the operational cost of JCDecaux’s distribution of bicycles is about $3 each (Schim-melpennick 2009). He believes paying customers for distribution to stations that need more bikes, either through providing a customer credit towards future use or paying the customer outright, would increase distribution efficiency at a fraction of the present cost.

6.1.6      Ease of Installation

Installing  a  station  takes  time  and  is  costly,  with  removal  of  asphalt  or  pavers, undergrounding of the structure and wires, hook-up to a nearby electrical source, and replacement of building materials. Public Bike System has limited this expense with its “technical platform,” which is the bike-sharing station’s base and houses the wires for its bike dock and pay station. The technical platform is placed on the ground without need for construction, as its weight and minimal bolting to the ground are sufficient to keep it in place (Public Bike System undated)

6.1.7      Powering Stations

The powering of stations has generally been with underground wiring to the near-est electrical source. This is expensive, time consuming, and affects where stations may be located. It also prohibits the easy relocation of the station due to the cost.
Bixi has incorporated solar panels to remove the need for underground electrifi-cation, as have Bicincitta’ and B-cycle (Bixi 2009b, Bicincitta’ 2009a, B-cycle 2009). Bixi  also  incorporates  rechargeable  batteries  to  provide  assistance  should  there not be enough solar energy for days at a time (Ayotte 2009).

6.1.8      Tracking

Better tracking of bikes during use with implanted global positioning system (GPS) devices will allow for improved data collection of favorite bike routes and quantifi-cation of vehicle miles traveled. Presently, many systems collect “as-the-crow-flies” data, which is a straight line between a customer’s origin and destination but may not accurately show the true distance of the bike trip. Also, GPS could allow for improved collection of stolen bikes.

6.1.9      Pedal Assistance

Not everyone has the leg strength to ride a bike, especially in hilly areas. Pedelec, or  electric  pedal  assistance  bikes,  will  allow  those  who  would  not  otherwise  be physically able, to give bike-sharing a try. Just as buses have added kneeling and wheelchair features to open themselves up to passengers with disabilities, electric pedal assistance moves bike-sharing to a wider audience. A bike-sharing fleet need not be composed entirely of pedalec bikes, but rather a percentage of vehicles for this  purpose  to  lower  the  barrier  for  a  portion  of  the  population.  Systems  that use pedalecs are in Genoa and Monaco, both programs of Bicincitta’ (Bicincitta’ 2009b, Avenir du Vehicule Electrique Mediterraneen 2008).

6.1.10 Business Model

As the demand for bike-sharing increases, the models of provision will continue to experience growth. New bike-sharing system vendors have sprung up in the industry and created their own systems, such as nextbike, Bixi, Veloway, and Smoove.
Many  of  these  systems  have  no  outdoor  advertising  component  but  rather  can be  purchased  by  a  local  operator.  These  systems  are  allowing  jurisdictions  and universities with populations too small to make outdoor advertising profitable or where advertising on public space is prohibited to consider launching their own bike-sharing services

6.2        Why do we need a publicly shared bicycle programme?

Penang is under the administration of Pakatan Rakyat, it has limited funds and resources to go for big huge transportation project like LRT or PORR. Therefore expensive transport solutions may not be suitable for Penang. The conventional bus system can not provide sufficient routes coverage, it tend to ply on lucrative routes in the State. We need to note that there is not a single  bus operator which will regularly and faithfully service unprofitable routes as a matter of public service. We need a solution to make up the shortfall to solve the problem of last mile to end a trip and to provide an alternative way of travel mode.  A BRT complement by bicycles and pedestrian travel is the only cost effective and efficient alternative we should look forward to.

6.3    Where should we begin?

6.3.1      Ride and cycle scheme for the Northwestern coastline

Along the northwestern coastline are some of the fine beaches on the island. Lining the coastline are abundant seafront lodgings ranging from simple budget-friendly A-frame huts to sprawling five-star luxury ventures with guestrooms that face the ocean and offer breathtaking views. The townships along the coastline are the main tourist attractions and the  destinations of choice for retirees and those looking for a laidback second home under Malaysia My Second Home programme.
The stretch along the northwestern coastline from Telok Pahang to midway of Tanjung Bungah is consider as “cul-de-sac” (a dead end road). The sprouting high rises development in this area threaten to create a traffic nightmare along the narrow coastline road. The worsening traffic will have devastating effect on  the local tourism industry. The proposal to build a tunnel is unrealistic as it is ecologically, economically and politically too expensive. A BRT complement by a publicly shared bicycle programme with help to lessen the traffic.

“Tourists get to experience a city more up close when they're biking. They can smell the aromas of the bakeries and enjoy urban life, rather than be frustrated about being stuck in traffic and worried about where to find parking.” -Paul DeMaio
Tourism improves when visitors can rely on the local transit network, including bike-sharing, rather than needing a car rental or taxi. The local government and the residents would welcome the BRT and the bike sharing system because of the positive impact on tourism as well as the positive impact through the reinvestment of revenue in the community.

6.3.2      Park and cycle scheme for Gurney Drive

Gurney Drive, or Persiaran Gurney, is a seaside promenade. The road is also one Penang’s most popular tourist destinations among locals as well as foreigner. During the daytime, the traffic at this stretch of road is not heavy. But the evening’s traffic is a nightmare due the narrow space caused by side parking.
The state government should eliminate all the side parking lots and provide cycle lane to ease the traffic.
The state government should introduce a Park and Cycle scheme with a bicycle sharing system (also known as: community bicycle programs, on-street bike rental, yellow bicycle programs, white bicycle programs, public bikes, or free bikes) in which numbers of bicycles are made available for shared use by individuals who do not own them.
The state government should encourage private car parks along Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah to participate in this Park and Cycle scheme especially after office hour. Private cars should be directed to park at those car parks and cycle to Gurney drive with publicly shared bicycles.
The state government can turn Persiaran Gurney into one way street between 500pm and 10pm for private vehicle, only allow traffic flow from the direction of the round about towards Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah. The other direction of the road can be used as BRT and  cycle lane.

6.3.3      Ride and cycle scheme for George Town

Parts of George Town are fast losing their charm. This has turned George Town into a ghost town after 6pm.
The way to rejuvenate George Town is to introduce a Ride and Cycle scheme. Tourists as well as locals can take the free Penang Central Areas Transit to Komtar, Weld Quay Terminal or Esplanade  and take a publicly shared bicycle to tour the various part of George Town.
By 8pm, parts of the city will be deserted, the deserted streets make commuting much easier, it is quite safe to cycle around the central town at night.
This effort will not only rejuvenate George Town, it will also help rejuvenate Komtar which will act as the main bicycle sharing library. To further rejuvenate Komtar, turn the under utilised Komtar into a budget hotel for backpackers. The backpackers will tend to use the publicly shared bicycles  and BRT for their travelling.

6.3.4      Park and cycle scheme for Youth Park and Botanical Garden

Limited the car parks at Youth Park and Botanical Garden to the disable and elderly. Classified both areas as towing zone. Install publicly shared bicycles. All cars should park at the Caring Society Complex or Midland One Stop.
From  Caring Society Complex, a cyclist can cycle to Persiaran Kuari via Jalan Sepoy Line, Jalan Ayer Rajah, Jalan Brown and Jalan utama. Those are the routes which have light traffic as it is in a posh housing area. The same apply to the routes one can take from Midland One Stop Shopping Mall where you can enter Jalan Brown and cycle towards the Youth Park.
With a bit of modification to existing roads to ensure safety and right of way for the bicycles, we will be able to make the areas around both the Youth Park and the Botanical Garden a cycling friendly place.
The publicly shared bicycles at the Midland One Stop Shopping Mall can be used for Gurney Drive as well.

6.3.5      Ride and cycle scheme for industrial zones

The suitable places where segregated cycle facilities can be introduced in Penang are the industrial zones, whether it is in the main land or the island. Majority of the road shoulders of the industrial zones have sufficient setback which can turn into bicycle lanes. The segregated cycle facilities should be extended to the nearby housing areas. This will encourage the factories to arrange factory workers to stay at nearby housing estates thus eliminate the need for long distance travelling.
Majority of the foreign labors as well as the locals are used to cycling. With the segregated cycle facilities properly setup where the safety of cyclists is being emphasis, the promotion for cycling will be made easy.  If feasible publicly shared bicycle programmes can be deployed too for those who take the BRT to work. This will not only help the factory worker, it also help to reduce the burden of investors in providing transportation for the workers.

6.4        Pilot Programme

According to New York bike-sharing master plan, past experience show that a small “pilot” bike-share program would be unsuccessful. Evidence from bike-share programs around the world suggests that small programs do not provide meaningful transportation, health or economic development gains nor do they provide a significant basis from which the city could evaluate the effectiveness of the program. In a city which is densely populated, small pilots in particular pose problems because the program coverage area would be insufficient to warrant bicycle use.
SmartBike in Washington DC provides valuable lessons about the difficulties posed by small pilots. With 120 bicycles spread out over 10 bike-staons, the bike-staons are hard to find unless one knows where to look. Washington has not seen transportation benefits from the program. In contrast, Velib’ opened its doors with 10,000 bicycles and then six months later doubled the number of bicycles to cover the whole city, allowing the program to see immediate transportation gains (5% reduction in automobile traffic in the first year).  Six months afer Velib’ opened it was credited with helping Paris weather the multi-day transit strike in the winter of 2007.
Because SmartBike is too small to generate large revenues from membership or use fees, expansion options for the program are also limited. Velib’ opened with 13,000 annual subscribers, €377,000 in starting revenue. In contrast, SmartBike opened with 250 annual subscriptions for initial revenue of $10,000.  The small number of bicycles makes one day passes infeasible and has led program operators to consider liming the number of annual passes. Thus tourists or potential riders who are unwilling to commit immediately to an annual pass cannot use SmartBike.
In contrast, Paris sold 2.5 million one day passes in the first 6 months alone, dramatically changing how many tourists explore Paris and generating significant revenues. In Penang, the state’s ability to develop a bike-share program is dependent on starting at the right scale. It need  funding mechanisms, such as membership and user fees, which depend on volume,  to pick up the slack.

6.4.1      Programme size and extent

According to New York bike-sharing master plan, Bike-share programmes that are financially self-sufficient tend to be larger programs that can take advantage of volume-based funding mechanisms such as advertising or membership fees, and focused around densely populated or highly trafficked area where bicycles and bike-stations can be used by the maximum number of people. In many cases, this combination of attributes also creates programmes which see significant transportation and health benefits. In contrast, small programmes, and programmes that are placed in low density/less trafficked areas, do not typically produce the revenues required to be financially self-sustaining. These programs provide few, if any, transportation or health benefits. Purely recreational programmes, similar to bike rentals currently offered by private companies such as Metro-Bike, likewise fail to provide needed positive transportation or health impacts.
A high bike-station density (28-30 stations/square mile or 10-13 stations/square km) is necessary for bike-share programs because it allows users to find and return bicycles easily. In lower density areas this bike-station density may be financially infeasible. In some lower density areas, it may be more cost effective to encourage bicycling by increasing the quantity and quality of personal bicycle parking facilities rather than by introducing a bike-share program.

For the initial phase, the planned stations and number of bikes should be as follows:
Number of Stations
Number of Bikes
Northwestern coastline
Telok Pahang
Batu Ferrighi
Tanjung Bungah
Tanjong Tokong
Gurney Drive
Jalan Sultan Ahmad Shah

Youth Park
Botanical Garden
Caring Society Complex
One Stop Shopping Mall
George Town
Weld Quay
BRT stations


Assuming average cost of $3500 per bike

$42 million or
RM126 million

7          Transit Oriented Development

Penang Transit faces a peculiar problem of serious lack of transit stations , this is a unique problem that no other transit planner ever face. It is common sense to expect the building and setup of transit stations in any transit planning. Land normally will be allocated to build the infrastructure. The built environment of Penang is so bad that there is hardly any available land that can be used as a transit station unless the state government go for forced land acquisition. Without transit stations it will make transfer and interchange a difficult task for commuters.
The state government intention to increase the development density to 87 unit per acre without any transit supporting plan is also not well received by Penangites.
With the type of predicaments we face, we need to adopt transit oriented development to force developers to build transit stations for high density development. Transit Oriented Development, or TOD, is the creation of compact, walkable communities centered around high quality transit systems. This makes it possible to live a higher quality life without complete dependence on a car for mobility and survival.
A TOD neighborhood typically has a center with a transit station or stop (train station, metro station, tram stop, or bus stop), surrounded by relatively high-density development with progressively lower-density development spreading outward from the center.

8          Conclusion

Over the last 5 years, the performance of Lim Guan Eng administration is not up to the marks. With his controversial penchant for development and his total reliance on developers on properties centric development without any transit oriented land use policy, Penang has witness the sprouting of high rise buildings that threaten to turn the island into a big ghetto. It is now time for Lim Guan Eng to buck up  especially on issues related to public transportation and high density development. This initiative will provide him a blueprint on how to improve the public transportation and solving the issues of high density development. A genuine transit solution that make Penang livable and accessible  is the elixir of growth that will truly transform Penang into an international and intelligent city. It will also propel the tourism industry to a new heights.  

9          References

1.      Bus Rapid Transit Planning Guide, IDTP.