The best alternative to Penang’s public transport is here..it’s Grabcar!
It’s fairly easy to use public transport in George Town and surrounding areas. However this isn’t always feasible if you’re carrying luggage, or trailing a handful of children. Long bus rides can be tiresome for the little ones. Bus schedules are sometimes unreliable. If you’re staying in George Town, and don’t have much need to go outside of the city, then you can probably get by on foot. If you’re wanting to explore some of the natural areas outside of George Town, like the jungles of Penang National Park or the pristine beaches of Batu Ferringhi, and are not quite ready to brave public transit, then Grabcar may be just the way to get around the island.
Yeay to Grabcar!
Grabcar is a downloadable app (free from the Google Play Store or Apple Store). As long as you have a smart phone, you can take advantage of this useful service. You should try to use it when in Penang. I use it all the time and it’s very efficient, fast and cost-effective. All you need to do is key in your pick-up and drop-off locations. You’ll get your estimated fare. Grabcar will find you the nearest available driver, and the app will track your driver. You can see in real time as your driver approaches your location and his ETA. This service is really useful for vacationers who have a jam-packed itinerary, and can’t afford to waste time getting from one attraction to the next.
To give you an idea of the fare from George Town to Penang National Park is RM 25 for a 12 km ride. This works out to about RM 2 per km. A one-way trip from George Town to Batu Ferringhi, an 8 km distance, is just RM 14. You can also use Grabcar to get to and from the airport. That’s around RM 26 one way. This is often far below the cost of a regular taxi.
But if you are discovering just Georgetown, booking a Grabcar may not be necessary. You can walk and cover the attractions on foot. If the need arises, this service is a safe and convenient way to get from point A to point B. Grabcar is superb for solo travelers especially after dark and the streets start to empty. Women travellers – if you don’t feel comfortable walking alone then use Grabcar. One of the things I like the most is that, for safety reasons, your driver’s ID number is attached to your ride, along with their contact information, should any issues arise. Another perk is that besides paying in cash , you can also pay by credit card, and book at any time of day or night.
In my experience, if you’re going to opt for a taxi, it’s best to travel with a pre-registered service like Grabcar, because you’ll find that many taxis hailed off the street in Penang will haggle for a fixed price which is often much higher than what you’ll pay with a service that estimates your metered fare in advance and locates a driver nearby. On average, a trip from one end of George Town to the other with Grabcar is only around RM 7, and if you’re looking to do a short trip, just in the central hub, it may only cost you a fraction of that price.
If you’re a budget traveler, you can also search online for a Grabcar promo code, as they will often advertise sales. If you’re really lucky, depending on the size of your group and the length of your trip, booking a GrabCar can also be less expensive then individually paying for bus fare.
Have you had any experience with Penang’s Grabcar? Click the share buttons or Leave your comments below 🙂
Izz Idris / My Adventure Host