SRS Consortium’s public transport master plan outlines an integrated transit network with appropriate long­term capacity to increase public transport adoption in Penang. The public transport strategy is designed to work in concert with concurrent upgrades in the road and highway network as well as others to achieve holistic improvement and higher efficiency in travel experience for the public.

For the Penang Island, four transit lines are proposed:

  1. Bayan Lepas LRT;
  2. Ayer Itam monorail;
  3. Tg Tokong monorail; and
  4. Tram (in George Town heritage area).

At the same time, three transit lines are proposed in Seberang Perai to connect with the newly ­completed KTM Komuter line:

  1. George Town-Butterworth LRT integrating rail transit lines in Penang Island with those in Seberang Perai;
  2. Monorail from Raja Uda to Bkt Mertajam/Alma (with BRT extension to Kepala Batas and Kulim); and
  3. Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) from Permatang Tinggi to Batu Kawan (with extension northwards to Seberang Jaya and southwards to Nibong Tebal).

SRS Consortium’s proposed public transport network takes cognisance of the need to enable efficient multi-modal integration and flexibility in delivery phasing in order to maximise accessibility, future catchment and economic viability.

The proposal recommends for transit network to not be planned line by line, however each line can be constructed at a different time within the proposed framework. This allows for better integration between current and future lines.

The prescribed systems in the proposed public transport network, though subject to continuous reviews and improvements, would serve to shape foreseeable future transit-oriented developments (TODs) and function as a framework to ensure sustainability of future lines. It is also an essential step in integrating transit with land use planning as part of the Structure or Local Plan process.

With an integrated approach, the entire transit system will operate effectively as a single ‘unified’ network to provide a seamless and cohesive public transport strategy.

Notably, transit lines slated for future realisation are still subject to further feasibility evaluation at the time of execution, taking into consideration travel demand, development intensity, transit system capacity, target modal share and socio­political acceptance of appropriate transit system (elevated or at-­grade). Hence, the priority transit line – the Bayan Lepas LRT – will still be subject to public opinion and feedback, as part of the Railway Scheme approval process under the purview of the Federal Government.

Penang Island – Proposed Lines Length (km) Number of Stations
1 Bayan LepasLRT 30 27
2 Ayer Itam Monorail 13 13
3 Tg Tokong Monorail 7 8
4 Tram 2 6
TOTAL 52 54
Seberang Perai – Proposed Lines Length (km) Number of Stations
1 George Town (The Light) – Butterworth (Penang Sentral) – Sg Nyiur LRT 18 8
2 Raja Uda – Sg Nyiur – Bukit Mertajam – Permatang Tinggi Monorail 28 21
 2a Extension (BRT) northwards to Kepala Batas 13 10
3 Permatang Tinggi – Batu Kawan BRT 14 15
 3a Extension northwards to Bukit Tengah/Seberang Jaya 15 16
3b Extension southwards to Nibong Tebal 11 6
TOTAL 99 76

Public Transport Network in Penang Island

For Penang Island, the proposed Bayan Lepas LRT and two monorail lines will form the “backbone” of the island’s rail network. The standard, quality and ridership appeal of the systems will be far superior when compared with tram and BRT.

These three main transit corridors of Bayan Lepas, Ayer Itam and Tg Tokong Bungah are only 3km apart. First-mile and last-mile accessibility for these lines can be further enhanced by providing strategic feeder bus services, each linked to an LRT or monorail station. In the longer term when travel demand warrants, the Ayer Itam monorail could possibly be extended to link with the Bayan Lepas LRT (southern segment) to further enhance the integration and connectivity between these rail lines.

From a planning perspective, the current priority under SRS Consortium’s proposal is to build the Bayan Lepas LRT line to provide the first light rail line on the island to meet rising demand along the north-south corridor. This approach is comparably similar with KTMB, which introduced its Komuter service on the newly-completed electrified double tracks in Seberang Perai. Economic appraisal of the Bayan Lepas LRT has also shown that it is more economically viable compared with the other lines.

Ayer Itam and Tg Tokong Monorails, on the other hand, are still not economically viable. However, there is a case for their introduction at an appropriate stage to provide a more unified network and to encourage mode transfer from private vehicles to public transport.

Public Transport Network in Seberang Perai

The already operational KTM Komuter line in the northern Peninsular connects Gurun in Kedah to Kamunting in Perak, with in-between stops at stations in Seberang Perai, including Butterworth.

In addition to the commuter rail services, provision for more transit lines is made to serve anticipated higher-density development areas in Penang mainland. The advantage of this early identification is to reserve public transport corridor as part of the State’s planning process.

The proposed transit lines are:

  1. LRT from George Town to Butterworth;
  2. Monorail from Raja Uda to Bkt Mertajam/Alma (with BRT extension to Kepala Batas and Kulim); and
  3. BRT from Permatang Tinggi to Batu Kawan (with extension northwards to Seberang Jaya and southwards to Nibong Tebal).

It can be seen that some parts of the proposed BRT and monorail lines are generally parallel to the Komuter routes, often being less than 2km apart. In keeping with the rail transit approach in Penang Island, it would be more appropriate to allow local feeder buses into the Komuter service areas in the short term. However, in the long run, these transit lines could be delivered as the need arises.