GEORGE TOWN, Nov 21 — The Penang Island City Council (MBPP) will introduce e-scooters as an alternative mode of transport in congestion prone Bayan Baru next year in a bid to reduce traffic jams.
E-scooters are currently not allowed on public roads under the Road Traffic (Prohibition of Use of Certain Microbility Vehicles) Rules 2021, but MBPP is upgrading the infrastructure in Bayan Baru for the trial project next year, state executive councillor H’ng Mooi Lye told the state legislative assembly today.
“We are looking into introducing the use of e-scooters in Bayan Baru to alleviate the traffic congestion in the area,” the local government, town and country planning committee chairman replied when asked about allowing electric vehicles (EVs) on the road.
He said if the trial run proves successful, the state will apply to the Transport Ministry gazette Bayan Baru so that e-scooters can be used on the roads there.
The Jawi assemblyman from Pakatan Harapan later told reporters outside the House that MBPP will be conducting the trial run with a private company.
He also said the e-scooters he referred to are the micro mobility e-scooters and not electric bikes.
“There were issues with e-scooters in Kuala Lumpur where the vehicles were left everywhere so we are also looking into ensuring the vendor prepare parking spots for the e-scooters and ensuring users park it there instead of leaving it everywhere,” he said.
H’ng said the trial run is still at the planning stage as the city council is still upgrading the walkways.
“We need to get the walkways ready before we can launch the trial run,” he said.
He added that the authorities will also need to call for a request for proposal (RFP) for the project.
Asked about EVs, H’ng said MBPP has already called for an RFP to set up charging stations on the island.
“We are planning to install 300 EV charging stations on the island,” he said, adding that this would encourage more car owners to make the switch from fossil fuel vehicles.
He acknowledged that it will be a challenge to get companies to set up charging stations due to the high costs, which is easily upwards of half a million ringgit.
“This is a bit like a chicken and egg issue, if there are not enough EV charging stations, people will not consider buying EV but if there are not enough EV on the road, companies may not want to invest in setting up EV charging stations,” he said.