Sunday June 22, 2008
By YENG AI CHUN
GEORGE TOWN: The daily commute along the Penang Bridge has become less stressful for project manager Jessie Teo.
Ever since fuel prices went up early this month, she noticed there were fewer cars on the bridge.
“Though there are traffic jams at peak hours, traffic flow is smoother,” said Teo who drives to the factory on the mainland where she works.
She added that many of her colleagues had started carpooling to cut transport cost.
Supervisor Omar Awang, 47, has switched to riding a motorcycle.
“Tak boleh tahan (Cannot take it). How can we drive everywhere with the recent hike in fuel prices?
“The roads are less congested these days and I’m not surprised that many have opted to ride a motorcycle,” he said.
A spokesman for Penang Bridge Sdn Bhd (PBSB) said some 67,000 vehicles traversed the bridge a day.
“But traffic reduced by 7% a few days after the fuel price increase. The traffic volume at peak times such as Monday morning and Friday evening has also gone down,” she said.
In JOHOR BARU, Pan Malaysia Lorry Owners’ Association president Er Sui See said the number of lorries operating nationwide has gone down by a third.
“The decrease is due to higher transportation costs as well as dearer construction materials.
“Most of the lorries transport construction materials and the orders for these items have plunged since the price hike,” he said.
“However, lorries transporting perishables such as vegetables, seafood and poultry are not affected.”
Johor Lorry Operator’s Association president Leow Hock Tiap said lorry owners in the state were facing the same problem.
“We proposed a 40% increase but our clients think it is too high.
“They are only willing to pay up to 25% more so negotiations are still ongoing,” he said.
However, Leow said this was just “an adjustment period” and believed operations would be back to normal within a month.