Penang govt mulls raising parking charges in upscale areas


GEORGE TOWN (Oct 17): The Penang state government is considering the possibility of increasing parking charges in elite areas or at “high-value” land locations.

Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said today the decision was made as one of the measures needed to improve traffic flow in Georgetown, as recommended by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).

“According to the (ADB) consultants, a higher on-street (parking) rate will effectively reduce the driver’s time spent behind the wheel as it induces the individual to directly head to off-street parking complexes instead of looking for a relatively cheaper on-street parking.

“Significantly higher on-street and off-street parking will deter people from driving into Georgetown, while raising the preference for the already available Central Area Transit (CAT) buses," he said at a ‘Tilting the Balance from Private to Public Transportation’ dialogue session here.

He said the state government spent RM17 million annually on the provision of free bus and subsidy bus services, but the effort was not fully utilised by the people.

Chow said the state government is now studying on terminating the 12 free bus routes due to very low passenger rates and divert the service to areas where the need is greater.

He said as many as 10,000 new private vehicles were being registered in Penang every three or four months and this had led to worsening traffic congestion and air pollution on the island

“Through the Penang Transport Master Plan (PTMP), the state government has set a mode share target of 40 per cent for public transport and 60 per cent for private vehicles. It requires a change in personal lifestyle choices as well as in the way private vehicles are managed in the country,” he said.

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