Penang LRT on track to ease traffic and enhance tourism

Wednesday, 10 Apr 2024

GEORGE TOWN: The implementation of the Penang Mutiara Route Light Rail Transit (LRT) project is seen as a beneficial alternative transportation option for residents to alleviate traffic congestion and enhance urban mobility by connecting urban and suburban areas.

The LRT line, expected to run from Silicon Island to Komtar and crossing to Penang Sentral in Seberang Perai, is also poised to boost tourism in the state, which is rich with Unesco Biosphere Reserve Sites.

Transportation analyst and expert Abi Sofian Abdul Hamid said that the LRT network connects strategic locations, fulfilling users’ demands with efficient and accessible transportation hubs at each station.

“Therefore, support networks for ‘the last mile’ and related aspects need to be taken into consideration, including shuttle transportation and parking facilities.“If we look at the Prime Minister’s announcement, this project will also involve transit- oriented development concepts where LRT stations will be focal points for residential and job centre development,” he said recently, Bernama reported.

Abi Sofian, who is also the Founder of Thought Partners Group Consulting (TPG), explained that the project could contribute to green mobility by reducing vehicles and carbon emissions.

He said this is in line with the National Energy Transition Roadmap if executed based on thorough research findings and proper implementation.

In theory, he said, with stations located at tourist attractions, it can help tourists move easily from one attraction to another, including Penang Sentral Station, which offers seamless transportation connectivity.

Commenting on the Federal Government’s decision to officially take over the LRT project from the state government, Abi Sofian said it would ensure various project management aspects are better handled, considering the involvement of MRT Corp with its experience in delivering rapid transportation in the Klang Valley.

Meanwhile, Tourism and Transport Business Consultant YS Chan noted that apart from benefiting commuters, industrial tourism will get a boost as Penang is a showcase for the successful manufacturing of high-tech products, not only in Malaysia, but also globally.

“Visitors will no longer have to brave congested traffic as travelling by LRT will be a breeze and they will be impressed to witness a large number of locals enjoying the facility.

However, the entire LRT route must be carefully thought out and the location of stations strategically planned,” he said.The LRT project, estimated to span about 29km with 20 stations and targeted to operate by 2030, will include two interchange stations at Komtar station and Penang Sentral station.

Commencement is expected to be in September or October this year.

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