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Malay Mail

GEORGE TOWN, June 2 — The volume of vehicles using Penang’s two bridges went up by 15.9 per cent in May this year compared to the same month in 2019, before the Covid-19 pandemic, state police chief Datuk Mohd Shuhaily Mohd Zain said today.

He said the hike in traffic on both the Penang Bridge and the Sultan Abdul Halim Mu’adzam Shah Bridge could be the reason for the state’s extraordinary traffic congestion in recent weeks.

‘I went on the ground personally to monitor the situation and we find that 3.1 million vehicles used both bridges last month compared to 2.8 million vehicles in May 2019,” he told a press conference at the police headquarters here.

He said the increase in vehicles on the roads in the whole state started early this year and was most notable in March as the country shifted towards Covid-19 endemicity.

‘For example, the vehicles passing by all tolled roads in the state increased by 5.7 per cent between January and May this year when compared to the same period in 2019,” he said.

He attributed the increase in traffic to the reopening of all economic sectors and growing public confidence in moving freely with the coronavirus under control.

He noted that there were numerous complaints by road users on social media regarding the traffic congestion in Penang, especially the Penang Bridge and roads leading to the bridge.

‘The situation is worsening recently, even during off peak hours,” he admitted.

He said the police and other relevant authorities will be meeting with the state government to find a solution to this issue.

‘We hope to find the best solution to this issue to resolve the extraordinary traffic congestion in the state,” he said.

He said one of the ways to reduce congestion is to encourage carpooling for those who are travelling short distances.

‘Based on my observations, at least seven out of 10 vehicles on the road are single drivers and this increased the number of vehicles on the road,” he said.

He also advised road users not to use their cell phones while driving as this could affect traffic flow.

‘Road users should also avoid slowing down to look at accidents as this too causes traffic congestion on both sides of the road,” he said.

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