Rapid Penang bus service

This post was originally published late last year but I’m republishing it because my earlier blog crashed.

It’s been slightly over a year since Rapid Penang bus service made it’s debut–July 31st 2007.

During its first 3 days of service, passengers rode for free.

That was serendipitous for me. I was home in Penang for a visit.
Since I wanted to visit the Kek Lok Si Temple at the end of Paya Terubong town, and I didn’t know the street so well anymore, we gave the bus a try.


My family of 4 led by my mum boarded bus #T306 in Sungai Nibong Hub and within 45 minutes we were at the end of Paya Terubong town where visitors begin their ascent to the temple.

The air-conditioned bus is such a vast improvement over the ones I remember taking when I was growing up.


If I recall correctly those green colored buses by Seng Seng only plied the east westerly route between the town of Paya Terubong and downtown to Komtar or rather Prangin Road. 


The air-conditioning is God sent. Years of being away from Malaysia’s tropical climate has admittedly made me a “wuss.”

How did I ever endure the ride from Masjid Negeri to Prangin Rd where I would have to change buses at times to continue to my alma mater St. Xavier’s especially when I missed the “City Council” buses?


Today’s ride inside the Rapid Penang bus was really very pleasant. The interior was cool and well insulated from the outside traffic noise.


I didn’t note the price to ride since it was free but I dare say most Penangites will willingly pay the fare without hesitation.

To be able to travel in comfort and not have to deal with the traffic will surely encourage more people to leave their cars at home on alleviating the congestion on Penang’s streets.


Our bus driver was very courteous when he reminded his passengers to board the bus from the front door and disembark through the back double doors. 


I also watched as an employee carefully changed the signage on an existing bus stop.

I’m hopeful the pride in their work will be rewarded with a fair and decent salary and that this bus service is profitable and will still be here when I visit next.

If I have any criticism of Rapid Penang’s bus system that would have to be that their rider’s guide. It is only published in Bahasa Malaysia. I’m not sure why the guide for passengers can’t be in Chinese, English, Tamil and Bahasa Malaysia.


If this is indeed going to be the mass transportation system that the common folk and visitors will embrace, surely there must be other language versions of this rider’s guide.

So those of you reading this from Penang, please tell me how the service is today–a little over a year later. 

I hope they are being good about maintaining the buses, keeping them clean and running well. Malaysian infrastructure has a tendency to neglect those sort of important details.

6 thoughts on “Rapid Penang bus service”

  1. 6. Hello, I am having a great time reading your blog. It provides fantastic help especially on issues where in impossible for me to fill in. Other than that, your blog tells almost anything.

  2. I found a plug-in that supposedly enables commentors to be notified via email when there is a new comment. Hopefully that works.

    I’ll test it later. Your book on batik sounds very intriguing. With all those testimonials from folks who have lots of titles, it’s sure to make your book a best seller. Congratulations QuaChee!

  3. heya thanks peter! me, ya on the way haha. enjoying the journey, despite having to crack my head many times! lol.

    heya, just a feedback, can you allow others to subscribe to your comments – so that i know when you reply 🙂 (like for now, i wont know if you replied to me).

  4. Thanks for visiting and commenting. I was wondering how that “new” bus service is fairing. I just can’t believe it’s taken them so long to get a service like this going. S’pore has had air-conditioned buses for over 20 years. The air-conditioning is a big difference. The passengers won’t notice the noise and fumes of the traffic as well. From browsing your blog, it sounds like you’re on your way to achieving your dreams QuaChee! Those pics of the Raya cakes are mouth-watering!

  5. im proud to see penang taking so many initiatives for its people, including this bus!

    if not wrong, i too tried it once – the one that goes around the streets in the city.

    didnt know they have one that goes further. this is pretty cool. a great idea & from what i read, well executed 🙂

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