Recently, Penang launched the first bicycle sharing services in Northern Malaysia, the LinkBike bicycle sharing services – provides commuters with a greener, healthier and more efficient mode of transport.
According to LinkBike, the bicycle sharing services was initiated by Penang Island City Council (MPPP) to make Penang at par with international cities like Melbourne, Amsterdam, Tokyo and others, in terms of providing alternative and zero-emission transportation to urbanites.
To encourage commuters to utilise the bicycle sharing services, Penang State will be building a 39.3 KM dedicated bicycle lane from Straits Quay to Penang International Airport. The city will be linked with bicycle lanes and commuters have the convenience of accessing the LinkBike’s 25 stations located on the Island. LinkBike will also provide last-mile connectivity in the Penang Transport Masterplan where commuters can hop off the mass transit or light rail transit (LRT) and jump on a LinkBike to reach their final destination.
How LinkBike Work?
Just like any sharing services, users will need to download the LinkBike App on their smartphones and register as a LinkBike user. The registration process will include the setting up of payment mode which is by credit or debit card, and selecting the type of package you would want to purchase.
For first time registration, users will enjoy a 14 days free pass with unlimited free 30 minutes ride sessions within the validity period of the free pass.
LinkBike Registration & Dashboard on iPhone
The LinkBike day pass package allows users to access the bikes within the duration of the time or day. For example if a user purchase a 3 days pass, the user can access the bikes within the 72 hours from time of purchase. The bike usage is charged separately based on hourly rate. However users will not be charged on the first 30 minutes of usage. Bike usage rate is RM1 per hour (subject to 6% GST).
Next: User can locate the nearest LinkBike station via the LinkBike smartphone app or its website. By clicking on the station, the app will indicate how many bikes are available for usage and the docking capacity at that particular station.
Next: Pick up a bike at the LinkBike station. Unlocking the bike is done by scanning a QR code using the LinkBike App or via a LinkBike Card. Start riding and when you are done, just return to the nearest station around you.
According to the station locator, there are 9 LinkBike stations located around Georgetown, UNESCO World Heritage Site. Users can find these stations at:
- 1st Avenue
- Lebuh Acheh
- Campbell Street
- MWE Swopt
- City Hall HQ
- Lebuh Light
- Beach Street
- OCBC Bank
As for now, we do not have the exact location of the additional 16 LinkBike stations which will be located in areas like Georgetown, Queensbay and Straits Quay. However, Penang Island City Council is working closely with the operator LinkBike to make it happen.
Bikes in Penang
Bicycle and motorbike rental is not new in Penang, tourists can rent a bicycle between RM15 – RM35 for half-day or full-day usage. The bike rental business is striving especially with an influx of both local and foreign tourists (in the recent years) that opt to explore the city limits on bicycles or motorbikes. As for State Government Department and agencies, we have witness the adoption of bicycles into its fleet, for example — Penang Island City Council’s enforcement personnel and police department patrolling the Georgetown area on bicycles.
It is encouraging to see that the Penang Island City Council taking initiatives to provide alternative transportation to reduce traffic congestion and air pollution.
Narrow roads, traffic congestions, air pollution and the lack of parking facilities have pushed many islanders to use motorbikes or bicycles (mainly used by foreign workers) as an alternative mode of transport – which is the most efficient way to travel around the island especially Georgetown. However it will take some time for the locals hop on a LinkBike bicycle to commute, as scooting around the city on a Honda Cub (Kapchai) or scooter requires very minimal physical energy and the fastest way to commute around the island.