GEORGE TOWN, Feb 14 ― Penang will launch a free bus service in the state covering 12 routes on the island and the mainland this April 1.
Penang local government, traffic management and flood mitigation committee chairman Chow Kon Yeow said this free bus service, named Congestion Alleviation Transport (CAT), will be based on the Hub-and-Spoke concept.
Chow said the bus frequency will be between 10 to 20 minutes and a total 46 buses will be plying the 12 routes at a cost of RM15 million footed by the state.
“This means the CAT service will function as a feeder bus to connect commuters with RapidPenang’s main routes,” he said.
He stressed that only the CAT service will be free while commuters will still need to pay for RapidPenang fees for buses plying the main routes.
The state government has identified six locations on the island for the feeder buses which is in a part of George Town, Tanjung Tokong, Sungai Dua, Bayan Baru, Air Itam and Balik Pulau.
Six other locations are on the mainland side which is in Bertam, Bukit Mertajam, Simpang Ampat, Nibong Tebal, Seberang Jaya and Batu Kawan.
“The CAT service will go past important points such as hospitals, schools, government offices, shopping centres, markets and colleges or universities,” he said when announcing this at the Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng’s office today.
Chow said the CAT service will start from 6am until 10pm daily and is free for all commuters.
“We are still finalising the specific routes of the CAT service,” he said.
The buses will go on a constant loop, for example, the shuttle service in George Town will go past important points such as Komtar, Penang Plaza, Wisma Persekutuan, Wisma TNB, KWSP and Gleneagles Hospital in an 8km loop.
This CAT service is an extension of the state’s 2008 Central Area Transit service around the heritage zone of George Town.
Lim later said the state has to announce this new service now before the general elections is called.
“We have to roll out our programmes early as Barisan Nasional plans to win back Penang in the elections,” he said.
He said BN had expressed confidence in winning back the state so the current administration will try to roll out all of its planned projects for the people before this happen.