Passengers boarding the Rapid Penang free shuttle service (14 November, 2012)
MBPP Rapid Penang CAT is a free shuttle bus service that ply the streets of George Town. It was launched on Friday, 23 January, 2009. CAT originally stood for Central Area Transit. In 2018, CAT acronym was given a different meaning, Congestion Alleviation Transport, and the service was expanded to include loops in Air Itam, Balik Pulau and Bukit Mertajam. The original CAT Free Shuttle Bus Service is now renamed as CAT George Town Loop 1
Under Congestion Area Transit, 12 routes are planned. The first four were launched in April 2018 while the remaining 8 routes are launched in July 2018. These are CAT Batu Kawan (6 July), CAT Pulau Tikus/Tanjong Tokong (7 July), CAT George Town (10 July), CAT Bertam (13 July), CAT Bayan Baru (17 July), CAT Alma (22 July), CAT Sungai Dua/USM (26 July) and CAT Seberang Jaya (31 July). The new "Penang CAT" feeder buses bear a green livery to make them distinct from the usual Rapid Penang public buses.
Penang Congestion Alleviation Transport (12 May, 2018)
In 2013, another free service called the Pulau Tikus Loop was introduced to provide a shuttle service around the Pulau Tikus neighbourhood.
The original CAT buses make 19 stops at strategic points of interest. The service runs from 6:00 am in the morning until 12:00 am midnight. Apart from the route around Komtar, the shuttle service ply roads within the core and buffer zones of the George Town Unesco World Heritage Site.
Rapid Penang has prepared three air-conditioned buses which were specially painted with the CAT livery for easy recognition. In front of the bus as a "Hop On Free" sign. On the sides are the words "City Hop On" and "Central Area Transit". The 19 bus stops along the route have also been properly signaged. The bus stops are numbered to help visitors identify their location vis-a-vis the tourist attractions of the vicinity.
Penang Travel Tips lauds the introduction of this free shuttle service and gladly provide our resources to help make it successful. Through the Rapid Penang CAT Free Shuttle Bus services, visitors to George Town will be able to explore the sights in comfort without even paying a sen to move around.
Penang CAT Free Feeder Bus have a green livery with the words "I ♥ PENANG" at the front. (12 May, 2018)
Penang CAT Routes
Since its launch in 2009 with a single free route in Inner George Town, Penang CAT has been expanded to include Pulau Tikus, Air Itam, Balik Pulau and Bukit Mertajam. Here's the details of each route.
CAT Air Itam: Congestion Alleviation Transport The CAT Air Itam, now branded as Congestion Alleviation Transport for Air Itam, is a free bus service in Paya Terubong and Air Itam. It moves in a loop, with CAT Air Itam A going in a clockwise direction and CAT Air Itam B in the anti-clockwise.
CAT Balik Pulau is a free feeder bus route that forms a loop starting and terminating at the Balik Pulau Bus Terminal.
CAT Batu Kawan is a free feeder bus route between the Design Village Bus Hub and Simpang Ampang Railway Station.
CAT Bertam is a free feeder bus route in Kepala Batas.
CAT Bukit Mertajam is a free feeder bus route that forms a loop starting and terminating at the Bukit Mertajam Bus Terminal.
CAT Nibong Tebal is a free feeder bus route that forms a loop starting and terminating at the Nibong Tebal Bus Hub.
CAT Tanjung Tokong is a free feeder bus route that plies a route between Pulau Tikus and Tanjung Tokong.
Updates on CAT
7 March, 2018The Star reports that the Penang State Government is increasing the number of feeder buses for use in CAT from 46 to 52 (29 on Penang Island and 23 on Penang Mainland). A new route in Alma, Bukit Mertajam is also being introduced and is expected to go into operations on 1 April, 2018. According to the report, CAT services is being expanded to six routes on Penang Island and seven on Penang Mainland. They are the George Town, Tanjong Tokong, Sungai Dua, Bayan Baru, Air Itam and Balik Pulau routes on the island, and the Bertam, Bukit Mertajam, Simpang Ampat, Nibong Tebal, Seberang Jaya and Batu Kawan routes on the mainland.
MBPP Rapid Penang CAT Free Shuttle Bus (23 January, 2009)
City Hop On - Livery of the shuttle bus (23 January, 2009)
Central Area Transit (CAT) signage (23 January, 2009)
Sightseeing with Rapid Penang CAT Free Shuttle Bus
Want to see George Town without having to walk? You can take the City Hop On free shuttle bus to all the various sights. Just alight to sightsee, then continue your trip on the next City Hop On bus to complete the route. Here's a detailed itinerary of what you see.
CAT George Town Loop 1 (12 May, 2018)
MBPP Rapid Penang CAT Shuttle Bus Map
Route of CAT George Town Loop 1
The Central Area Transit Shuttle Bus starts at the bus stop No.1 at Weld Quay. From there, it goes along Jetty, making one stop at the Ferry Bus Terminal. Then it continues and turns right at Chulia Street Ghaut. At the next junction, it turns right into Victoria Street. At the end of Victoria Street, it turns left into China Street Ghaut. At the next junction, it turns right into Beach Street (Lebuh Pantai). There are two bus stops at Beach Street, in front of OCBC and in front of Standard Chartered.
Ferry Bus Terminal (Stop No. 2) signage (23 January, 2009)
From Magazine Road, the Central Area Transit Shuttle Bus turns right into Penang Road again, where there's a stop in front of Ong Kongsi. From there, it continues along Penang Road and turn turns left into Burmah Road, and then right again at Transfer Road. At the next traffic lights, the bus turns right into Hutton Lane. At the end of Hutton Lane, it turns right into Penang Road once more time, continues along Penang Road and then turns left into Jalan Dr Lim Chwee Leong (Prangin Road) again.
Next, the bus turns left and enters Carnarvon Street. It goes along Carnarvon Street until the junction with Kampung Kaka, where it turns right. It goes along Kampung Kaka, and into Kampung Kolam, where it makes a stop. From Kampung Kolam, it enters Pitt Street. At St George's Church, it turns left into Farquhar Street again, and then makes a right turn into Light Street. It goes along Light Street until the roundabout, and then turns into Beach Street. Following that, it turns left at the next junction into Downing Street. The bus makes a final stop at Downing Street before reentering Jetty to restart the journey.
Bus Stops and Sights
The following are the numbered bus stops and the sights to see along the way. It will be impossible to visit all the sights listed. My suggestion is you do a bit of homework. Read about each of the sights to select those you wish to visit (click the links for details with maps). Then take the bus to each stop. Visit some sights, walk along the way, and then catch the next bus at a subsequent bus stop.
The free shuttle bus allows you to explore George Town, but now you can explore the entire Penang State for only RM30.00, for a whole week! Get the Rapid Penang Tourist Passport, available at selected outlets. It allows you unlimited travel on the buses for a whole week. For details, click on Rapid Penang Tourist Passport.
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