Friday, 20 February 2009

Support for Trams In Penang

Heritage writer Khoo Salma Nasution noted that the Penang Island Municipal Council was the first local government to introduce electric trams in the inner city in the early part of the last century. “People think the tram is a thing of the past, but they are wrong because it is actually the thing of the future,” she said.

“It is clean, energy saving and user-friendly not to mention fast, efficient and also cheap.”She said the tram could provide an iconic identity for Penang and help revitalise the heritage of the inner city.

Citizens for Public Transport (Cepat) coordinator Dr Choong Sim Poey asserts:
“We believe that any massive transportation mode requiring massive permanent infrastructure should not be implemented without proper study and a transport masterplan,” Choong said.

He said there were many alternatives besides the intrusive overhead monorail system that were cheaper, more sustainable and suitable for Penang with its heritage city and tree-lined roads. “There are modern trams as used in Hong Kong, San Francisco, and recently introduced in Paris, Melbourne, Nottingham, Manchester and five other British cities.

“Trams were used by cities throughout the world including Penang until phased out by the increase of number of cars which are now proving to be a problem,” he added. Penang Heritage Trust council member Ahmad Chik thinks its do-able:

Ahmad Chik, the author of (a tram) proposal and a PHT council member, says electric trams, or light rail transit as they are known in many countries, do not require a licence from the federal government to operate but can be undertaken by the local council. (Taken from

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