Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rapid Penang Looks Promising

I intended to take a ride on the new Rapid Penang buses today but the plan didn't work out as intended but what I saw in that one hour when I was out on the road was enough to convince me this could (finally) actually work.

Everyone and their pets know how screwed up the public transportation system is here in Penang. I gave up taking the bus many years ago and never looked back. However, I'm an advocate of public transport and I look forward to the day I can leave my car at home and jump on the public transportation system to commute easily to wherever I want to go. Looks like it may materialise soon enough. Maybe Penang's traffic woes will improve from now on.

With the launch of the new bus service and Penang being earmarked as the transportation and logistic hub for the four northern states of Malaysia, things are really looking up for downtrodden Penang. Rapid Penang really looks very promising and I do hope the Penang Monorail will not disappoint when it eventually kicks off in a few years time.

I was travelling in my car for about an hour this afternoon and I saw at least five (possibly more than ten) Rapid Penang buses in that short period of time! As I left my neighbourhood, I saw a Rapid Penang bus. As I was driving on the road, I saw a few more. As I waited at a traffic lights, I saw one passed by. This is what it should be like! This is how it is like in Singapore, well-known for their efficient public transportation system.

During that same duration, I saw none of the old stages buses or mini buses plying the roads. Maybe they were on strike? Come to think of it, everytime I'm on the road trying to spot a public bus would seem like a really arduous task! I really can't remember the last time I saw a bus on the road. Yes, it's that bad. That's why I'm as blunt as to suggest that the bus companies be left to bleed financially for their lacklustre performance thus far which has caused much hardship for Penangites. This is retribution, this is payback time.

I really like what I see in Rapid Penang. It's a refreshing change. A very much needed and overdue one. I see many happy faces on the buses this afternoon. I'm looking at tomorrow or the day after to try out the new buses and it's free till then. Maybe I'll be able to comment further after experiencing the service first hand. Rapid Penang looks very promising and I hope it stays that way, if not better. Based on my observations so far, good job Rapid Penang!

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