GEORGE TOWN - The Sky Cab project connecting Penang Sentral in Butterworth to Noordin Street Ghaut on the island has drawn mixed reactions from tourist associations, businesses and non-governmental organisations in Penang.
Penang Tourist Guides Association president Chin Poh Chin said he was at a loss as to how the 3km cable car system could help decrease the dependence on automobiles.
"The site of the base station on the island is a heritage site and may not be a good choice.
"However, we need to wait and see the progress of the project before we can tell if it is a viable system," she said when contacted yesterday.
Sharing the doubts were Penang Hoteliers Association and the Malaysian Budget Hotel Association Penang Chapter chairman Datuk Lim Mee Lee.
"It is a good project but tourists would prefer to tour the island instead of Butterworth.
"There are fewer attractions on the mainland and I don't think tourists will opt for this mode of transportation," he said.
Lee added that he could not foresee the Sky Cab becoming a reality in three years.
The Penang Citizens Chant Group (Chant) said the state government should hold a public forum to seek public opinion on the project.
In a statement yesterday, Chant said consultants and experts should be brought in to speak on the matter.
"Show the people how they are going to be affected by these projects and tell them without hiding anything," Chant said.
The Sky Cab project has, however, received support from the Penang Chinese Chamber of Commerce.
Chamber president Datuk Finn Choon said Sky Cab would be able to reduce the number of vehicles going over to the mainland.
"It will also increase the number of tourists going over to the mainland for food and sightseeing, encouraging a more even growth distribution for the whole of Penang," Choong said, describing the timing of the Sky Cab project as very appropriate.
Real Estate And Housing Deve-lopers' Association Penang chairman Datuk Jerry Chan also expressed support for the project.
"The inner city is now seeing the mushrooming of heritage and boutique hotels to cater to the increase of tourist arrivals.
"Traffic congestion there has reached a critical point.
"More than 20,000 tourists visited Penang in 2014 which automatically increases the need for public transport.
"The Sky Cable project should be able to ease the congestion in the inner city. Anything that increases mobility will definitely help.
"It will also be a tourism attraction and help increase interest on the mainland," Chan said.
The Free Industrial Zone Penang Companies' Association president Heng Huck Lee said the Sky Cab would serve the needs of the both locals and tourists.
"The project will definitely reduce the congestion on the Penang Bridge and the route to the Free Industrial Zone."