RapidPenang must be accountable to people of Penang

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Come 1 August 2007, Penang will have a new bus system. The authorities must involve civil society in the state in the planning for the new bus service, says Choong Sim Poey, in an open letter to Penang Chief Minister Koh Tsu Koon and Teng Hock Nan.

Cepat welcomes the Penang Chief Minister’s statement that Penang civil society will be given an opportunity to give their views and participate in the planning and implementation of Penang’s public transport system.
 
In view of the deadlines, we urge you to form this panel and to start discussions as soon as possible, so that we can be involved in the planning stage including the selection of the buses. By doing so, we hope to avoid some of the failings that have surfaced in the KL system operated by RapidKL.
 
We would the like panel to consider some important criteria for our new buses; they should be disabled- and elderly-friendly and if possible use liquefied natural gas to reduce air pollution and running costs.
 
Driver training is of the utmost importance and should be implemented to ensure professional standards of service so conspicuously lacking now.
 
The Terms of Reference and the role of the Advisory Panel should be clearly set out to ensure that it plays an effective and meaningful role
 
We are disappointed by the demise of Bas Negeri Pulau Pinang (BNPP), resulting in the loss of  direct control of public transport by the State. And we would like to to be assured that there will mechanisms that will ensure that RapidPenang, as a Federal body, will be accountable to the state government and the citizens of Penang.
 
Apart from planning for the new bus system, we also feel that the government and RapidPenang should now take on the responsibility to ensure that the present public transport system, a legacy of the last revamp, is improved. Strengthening enforcement would be an essential first step.
 
In view of the deadlines, we urge you to form this panel and to start discussions as soon as possible, so that we can be involved in the planning stage including the selection of the buses. By doing so, we hope to avoid some of the failings that have surfaced in the KL system operated by RapidKL.
 
We would the like panel to consider some important criteria for our new buses; they should be disabled- and elderly-friendly and if possible use liquefied natural gas to reduce air pollution and running costs.
 
Driver training is of the utmost importance and should be implemented to ensure professional standards of service so conspicuously lacking now.
 
The Terms of Reference and the role of the Advisory Panel should be clearly set out to ensure that it plays an effective and meaningful role
 
We are disappointed by the demise of Bas Negeri Pulau Pinang (BNPP), resulting in the loss of  direct control of public transport by the State. And we would like to to be assured that there will mechanisms that will ensure that RapidPenang, as a Federal body, will be accountable to the state government and the citizens of Penang.
 
Apart from planning for the new bus system, we also feel that the government and RapidPenang should now take on the responsibility to ensure that the present public transport system, a legacy of the last revamp, is improved. Strengthening enforcement would be an essential first step.

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Dr Choong Sim Poey is coordinator of the Citizens for Public Transport (Cepat) 

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