The Penang state government has announced that it will be continuing the free bus ride programme next year with an even bigger allocation. The Unlimited Travel Pass, better known as Mutiara Pass, allows users to use Rapid Penang bus services throughout the state at any time which is almost similar in nature to Rapid KL’s My50 pass.
State Infrastructure and Transport Committee chairman Zairil Khir Johari said that the state will distribute an additional 30,000 passes in 2023 which will increase the total number of Mutiara Pass to 150,000. On top of that, the state’s allocation for this programme will be increased from RM6 million to RM7.5 million.
The Mutiara Pass actually started out as a paid monthly pass just like My50 but in March 2021, the Penang state government has sponsored 100,000 passes worth RM3 million. That figure was then reduced to 90,000 in 2022 but due to increased ridership, the state increased the number of passes to 120,000 shortly after.
On top of the free Rapid Penang busses, Zairil unveiled a new cross-strait bus service that will also be free for all commuters. The service will travel between the island and Bukit Mertajam on the mainland starting from 1 January 2023 to benefit those who need to commute across the Penang Bridge daily for work.
Known as the Congestion Alleviation Transport (CAT) Bridge, it will run trips from both Komtar and Bukit Mertajam from 6 to 9 AM on weekdays at a 30-minute interval before resuming at 4.50 PM with the last bus leaving at 7 PM from Bukit Mertajam and 7.25 PM from Komtar. On weekends, the service’s frequency will be reduced to hourly trips.
The cross-strait route is expected to take around an hour and 15 minutes, with the chairman stating that a typical e-hailing ride across the 27 km journey would typically cost RM52 to RM72. Finally, the high-speed ferry ride between Butterworth and the island will continue to be free for Malaysians until 30 June 2023.
(Source: Zairil Khir Johari/Facebook , The Star)
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