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Penang Transport System

Penang transport system is like veins on the back of a leaf, making it possible for people to move, communicate and transfer goods.

horse  carriage
Horse Carriage

Since 19th century, various kinds of means of transportation already existed here in Penang. Either by land or sea, the people here have been exposed to many types of transportation system. A lot of people back then also had no problem to travel on foot, when necessary.

Lancha or rickshaw or jinrickshaw. It is human-powered carriage, cheaper than horses.

By sea, there are small fishing boats, yachts, Penang Port ferry services and ships. By land, we have bicycles, taxis, trishaw (rickshaw powered by three-wheeled bicycles), rickshaw (if it is pulled by a man it is also called jinrickshaw), funicular train (now defunct), trams and trolley buses (now defunct also). Currently, Penang transportation system is made up of a network of public buses, taxis, trishaws, ferry and of course the airplanes.

city hall
A rickshaw in front of City Hall at Esplanade.

I am obviously very interested in looking at old photographs to see how all these develop into its current state. Thanks to Dr. Farish Noor from for letting me use his collection of postcard photographs on this page.

early penang harbour
The caption says Harbour, Penang. This could be an early artist's impression of Weld Quay before large buildings were built and the land reclaimed to enable larger vessels to berth.

weld quay
Weld Quay after some land reclamation work.

Over time, we find ways to make our lives easier so that we  can reach our destinations faster in a more comfortably. Ironically, now we have more cars and our city center is congested heavily because we do not want to compromise our comfort to the health of the city. Would you walk on foot in George Town nowadays? Can we make our Heritage Enclave free from motorized vehicles?

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