Rapid Penang

Rapid Penang (styled as rapidPenang) is a public bus brand in the State of Penang, Malaysia. Formed as a subsidiary of Prasarana Malaysia in 2007, to date it is the main public transport operator within Penang; its bus network serves commuters within Greater Penang, including the neighbouring towns in Kedah and Perak.[3]

Rapid Penang
Rapid Penang Logo.svg
Weld Quay Bus Terminal A (220723).jpg
Weld Quay Bus Terminal A, George Town, Penang
ParentPrasarana Malaysia Berhad
Founded31 July 2007
HeadquartersGeorge Town, Penang, Malaysia
Service areaGreater Penang
Service typePublic bus
Routes56
Fleet406[1]
Annual ridership30,309,000 (2014)[2]
OperatorRapid Bus Sdn Bhd
WebsiteRapid Penang

Rapid Penang was the second public transportation firm established by Prasarana Malaysia, a corporate body owned by the Malaysian federal government to manage urban public transportation. The first was Rapid KL in 2004, which now encompasses public bus, LRT and monorail services within Kuala Lumpur and the greater Klang Valley. Thus, similar to Rapid KL, Rapid Penang's bus fleet is under the management of Rapid Bus Sdn Bhd.[4]

HistoryEdit

Originally, the public bus service in Penang were fragmented and disorganised, with several local public bus operators facing financial difficulties and showing signs of collapse.[5] This situation reached a critical point when the Yellow Bus Company, one of the largest public bus operators in Penang with a 58-year history, suddenly ceased operations in 2004, leaving thousands of commuters stranded.[6][7][8]

The Penang state government at the time under the then Chief Minister, Koh Tsu Koon attempted to revamp the state's ailing bus network. Under the revamped routes that were launched in 2006, bigger buses were made to run along trunk routes while minibuses ran feeder routes which branched off the trunk routes.[9] The revamp, however, failed to improve the situation, leading the Penang state government to study the revamp already conducted in Kuala Lumpur and request for federal intervention.[10][11] It was felt that bringing in Rapid KL, which already had the expertise and know-how, was the better solution than simply purchasing more buses, although Rapid KL at the time chose to focus on its core operations in the Klang Valley.[12]

In 2007, Koh announced that the federal government agreed to operate a bus service in the state.[12][13] Prasarana Malaysia, which until then had been running Rapid KL services within the Klang Valley, was appointed to implement a similar system for Penang, as well as to handle the procurement of the required assets. To this end, Prasarana set up Rapid Penang, which was registered under Malaysia's Ministry of Finance. Rapid Penang formally commenced operations on 31 July 2007.[3]

Initially, the remaining local public bus operators were allowed to resume their operations to complement Rapid Penang. However, since then, these local companies have ceased operations. Rapid Penang has become the main and only public bus provider in the state.

RoutesEdit

 
Bus routes are being displayed at the Weld Quay Bus Terminal

As of 2020, Rapid Penang has a total of 56 routes and a few shuttle routes throughout Greater Penang, which also includes routes into neighbouring Kedah and Perak.[1] These routes also include the free-of-charge services within George Town's UNESCO World Heritage Site.

30 of these routes are within Penang Island, while 19 are within Seberang Perai, the mainland halve of Penang. Rapid Penang also operates three cross-strait routes between Bayan Lepas on Penang Island and Seberang Perai, also known as BEST (Bridge Express Shuttle Transit) routes, catering specifically to factory workers who commute daily to the Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone. In addition, Rapid Penang has five cross-border interstate routes from within Seberang Perai into Kedah and Perak.

FaresEdit

Distance (km) Normal Concession
0.1 - 7 RM1.40 RM0.70
7.1 - 14 RM2.00 RM1.00
14.1 - 21 RM2.70 RM1.40
21.1 - 28 RM3.40 RM1.70
Over 28 RM4.00 RM2.00

Concession fares are granted for certain categories of passengers, such as senior citizens(over 60 years old), and children below 12.

FleetEdit

As of 2017, Rapid Penang's fleet consists of 406 buses.[14] As with other Prasarana brands such as Rapid KL and Rapid Kuantan, Rapid Penang's bus fleet is managed under Rapid Bus.

Model Image Year Introduced Bodywork Unit Introduced Notes/Comments
Dong Feng   2007 Scomi Coach (Formerly MTrans) 3 Used for training purposes
Higer   2007 SKS Bus, BadanBas, Pioneer 40 Partially retired
King Long   2007 DRB-Hicom Defense Technology 40 Partially retired
Scania K270UB     2009 DRB-Hicom Defense Technology 30 (12m)
170 (10.5m)
Scania K250UB     2013 DRB-Hicom Defense Technology, Gemilang Coachworks 120[14]
Alexander Dennis Enviro500   2016, 2022 3 (additional 30 due in 2017)[1] "Due to operational reasons, RapidPenang’s fleet of Alexander Dennis Enviro500 MMCs have been transferred to RapidKL's fleet"

Was used for routes 101, 102 and 301 on Penang Island

Reintroduced in February 2022 for routes 301 and 302.[15]

Alexander Dennis Enviro200 2017 ? Transferred to RapidKL's fleet
Hino Poncho   2021 Trailing on route 11 and route 201.

Rapid ICISEdit

Rapid ICIS, an acronym for Rapid Penang Intelligent Commuter Information System, was launched in 2010 to provide passengers with real-time information regarding the arrival times of buses to various destinations. The data, which comes from the GPS tracking devices installed on every bus, is relayed to the Rapid ICIS Displays located at most bus stops.

In addition, this information is relayed via the Rapid Penang iPlanner application (only available for iOS-enabled Apple smartphones), Rapid Penang's official website, and the LED screens installed at most bus stops allowing commuters to plan their bus trips while on the move.

The ICIS Centre, which serves as the company's integrated command centre, is located at Rapid Penang's headquarters at Lorong Kulit, George Town.

See alsoEdit

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ a b c "Firm adds 30 more double-decker buses to its fleet - Community | The Star Online". www.thestar.com.my. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  2. ^ kilzacmaster, the. "Press Statement – An accurate portrayal of Penang bus rides". Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  3. ^ a b "Rapid Penang | www.rapidpg.com.my". www.rapidpg.com.my. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  4. ^ "Rapid Penang rolls on under Rapid Bus". 1 July 2013. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  5. ^ Singh, Sharanjit (20 February 2007), "Rapid KL to manage Penang buses", New Straits Times, p. 22
  6. ^ Ng, Su-Ann (2 January 2004), "End of the road for Yellow Bus after 58 years", The Star, p. 19
  7. ^ "Rapid answer to transport woes - Nation | The Star Online". www.thestar.com.my. Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  8. ^ Dielenberg, Priscilla; Tan, Jeremy. "Bring the bus back to the airport Rapid Penang urged to revive abandoned service - Community | The Star Online". Retrieved 19 March 2017.
  9. ^ Tan, Emmeline; K, Kasturi Dewi (1 April 2004), "New bus system starts today", The Star (Penang final edition), p. 16
  10. ^ Yeng, Ai Chun (4 July 2006), "Bus system in a mess", The Star, p. 3
  11. ^ "KL bus system for Penang", The Star, p. 28, 24 August 2006
  12. ^ a b "RapidPenang – The First Step Towards Integrated Public Transportation System in Penang" (PDF). Penang Economic Monthly.
  13. ^ Singh, Sharanjit (20 February 2007), "RapidKL to manage Penang buses", New Straits Times, p. 22
  14. ^ a b "Additional 120 buses for Rapid Penang - Prasarana". Bernama. Factiva. 11 November 2013.
  15. ^ "Rapid Penang Provides Double Decker Bus Service Starting 1 Feb 2022". Penang Foodie. 27 January 2022. Retrieved 5 February 2022.

External linksEdit