Penang kicks off ambitious transport revolution with RM9.2m bike-sharing system

Tourists exploring central George Town on rented bicycles. — Picture by K.E. Ooi
Tourists exploring central George Town on rented bicycles. — Picture by K.E. Ooi

GEORGE TOWN, August 1 — In its bid to turn George Town into a greener, more sustainable city, Penang awarded a RM9.2 million contract to local company Public Bike Share Sdn Bhd to design, install, operate and maintain a bicycle-sharing system similar to that adopted by London, New York, Taipei and Melbourne.

The bicycle-sharing system allows those with an access pass to pick up a bicycle at any station to cycle to their destination of choice and to return the bicycle at the station there.

“This is a move to encourage Penangites to cycle as the first step to an evolution in the state’s transport system,” Penang Chief Minister Lim Guan Eng told a news conference here today.

“We believe that the system will significantly relieve traffic congestion in Penang, improve visitors’ experience by making places accessible without a car and this project supports the state government’s commitment to a cleaner, greener, safer and healthier Penang,” he added.

The state expects to kick off bike-shares in George Town in stages from next May with the whole system to be fully completed by 2017.

The system will see at least 25 bike stations set up across George Town, with 1,000 bicycle docks and 500 bicycles.

Users will be able to pay the bicycle rentals with their credit cards or through mobile apps and prepaid bike passes.

The Penang Island Municipal Council (MPPP) had picked Public Bike Share from four proposals in a public tender held between December 31 last year and April 7 this year.

The company will bear all the costs of planning, preparing, operating and maintenance of the Bicycle Sharing System with a 12-years concession period.

The estimated operation cost per year will be approximately RM750,000.

Public Bike Share will pay MPPP a concession fee of RM100,000 beginning from the seventh year, RM200,000 for the eighth year, and RM300,000 each year for the ninth to 12th year, bringing the total sum to RM1.5 million. 

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