An interim evaluation of Penang’s first bike-share scheme

Nadhrah A Kadir, Lim Ghee-Thean, Law Chee Hong


Bike-sharing schemes are gaining worldwide momentum as a non-motorized transport. The reasons why cities have jumped on the bandwagon of implementing a bike-share system are to reduce traffic congestion, to improve air quality and as an alternative transport option to move around cities. As part of the effort to be “cleaner, greener, healthier and safer,” Penang Island has decided to launch the first bike-share scheme in Penang, making it the first state in Malaysia to ever implement a bike-sharing program with a docking station. While the existing literature on bike-sharing focuses on European and North American cities, less attention is given to experiences in South East Asia, especially small cities in the South East Asia. This paper aims to fill that gap by evaluating the performance of the pioneer of the bike-sharing program in Penang; i.e. the LinkBike. Using the inaugural data from LinkBike’s first annual report, as well as data from personal interviews and grey literature, this paper attempts to understand the performance, opportunities and challenges facing LinkBike in its first year of operation. Essentially, results show that LinkBike was performing quite well considering it was the bike-share pioneer in Penang. This paper also highlights several opportunities such as attractive brands and effective outreach strategy and challenges in terms of payment method, safety concerns and lack of cycling culture. Understanding these motivators and constraints will better shape the performances of LinkBike in terms of ridership and cultivating the cycling culture in Penang.

Keywords: bike-share, cycling, LinkBike, non-motorized transport, performance, program evaluation

Full Text:



Ahillen, M., Mateo-Babiano, D., & Corcoran, J. (2016). Dynamics of bike sharing in Washington, DC and Brisbane, Australia: Implications for policy and planning. International Journal of Sustainable Transportation, 10(5), 441-454.

Audikana, A., Ravalet, E., Baranger, V., & Kaufmann, V. (2017). Implementing bikesharing systems in small cities: Evidence from the Swiss experience. Transport Policy, 55, 18-28.

Buehler, P. (2014). 9 Reasons the U.S. ended up so much more car-dependent than Europe. Retrieved from

Bernama. (2017). Penang’s traffic woes, a bane for locals and tourist. Retrieved from

Buletin Mutiara. (2017). Penang to be first cycling state. Retrieved from

Buck, D., & Buehler, R. (2011). Bike lanes and other determinants of capital bikeshare trips. The Transportation Research Board Annual Meeting 2012 Conference, Washington DC. Retrieved from

Cycling Embassy of Denmark Annual Report. (2018). Let us promote cycling in cities around the world together. Retrieved from

DeMaio, P. (2009). Bike-sharing: History, impacts, models of provision, and future. Journal of Public Transportation, 12(4), 41-56.

Erçetin, C. (2014). Planning and management of bike sharing systems for sustainable urban transport: Konya, Kayseri and Istanbul cases (PhD dissertation). Retrieved from Middle East Technical University.

Fishman, E., Washington, S., & Haworth, N. (2012). Barriers and facilitators to public bicycle scheme use: A qualitative approach. Transportation Research Part F: Traffic Psychology and Behaviour, 15(6), 686-698.

Fishman, E., Washington, S., & Haworth, N. (2013). Bike share: a synthesis of the literature. Transport Reviews, 33(2), 148-165.

Fishman, E. (2016). Bikeshare: A review of recent literature. Transport Reviews, 36(1), 92-113.

Fuller, D., Gauvin, L., Kestens, Y., Daniel, M., Fournier, M., Morency, P., & Drouin, L. (2011). Use of a new public bicycle share program in Montreal, Canada. American Journal of Preventive Medicine, 41(1), 80-83.

Guo Y., Zhou J., Wu Y., & Li Z. (2017). Identifying the factors affecting bike-sharing usage and degree of satisfaction in Ningbo, China. PloS ONE 12(9).

Ladin, M.A., Das, A.M., Najah, A., Ismail, A., & Rahmat, R.A.A.O. (2014). A review of strategies to implement sustainable urban transportation options in Malaysia. Jurnal Teknologi, 69(2). 85-90.

Lim, G.E. (2016). Making Penang a cleaner, green, safer, healthier and happier state. Retrieved from

LinkBike Report. (2017). Fast Rent Bike (PG).

Martin, E., Cohen A., Botha, J., & Shaheen, S. (2016). Bikesharing and bicycle safety (Report 12-54). USA, Minnesota Transportation Institute.

Mateo-Babiano, I. (2015). Public bicycle sharing in Asian cities. Journal of the Eastern Asia Society for Transportation Studies, 11, 60-74.

Mateo-Babiano, I., Kumar, S., & Mejia, A. (2017). Bicycle sharing in Asia: a stakeholder perception and possible futures. Transportation Research Procedia, 25, 4966-4978.

Midgley, P. (2009). The role of smart bike-sharing systems in urban mobility. Journeys, 2(1), 23-31.

Mohd Noor H., Azlima M., & Rosmiza M.Z. (2018). Aktiviti berbasikal: Pemangkin kelestarian kampus, Geografia-Malaysian Journal of Society and Space, 14(3), 85-100.

Parkes, S.D., Marsden, G., Shaheen, S.A., & Cohen, A.P. (2013). Understanding the diffusion of public bikesharing systems: Evidence from Europe and North America. Journal of Transport Geography, 31, 94-103.

Ong, J.Y. (2017). Penang a step closer to becoming a bicycle friendly state. Retrieved from

Pavither. (2018). Penang opens country’s first spiral bridge for bicycle, pedestrians. Retrieved from

Pucher, J.R., & Buehler, R. (Eds.). (2012). City cycling. Cambridge, MA, The MIT Press.

Sekaran, R. (2018). Group celebrates three years of commuting together on bicycles to work every Friday. Retrieved from

Shaheen, S.A., Guzman, S., & Zhang, H. (2010). Bikesharing in Europe, the Americas, and Asia. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2143, 159-167.

Shaheen, S, Zhang, H, Martin, E., & Guzman, S. (2011). Hangzhou public bicycle: Understanding early adoption and behavioral response to bikesharing in Hangzhou, China. Transportation Research Record, 2247, 34-41.

Shaheen, S., Guzman, S., & Zhang, H. (2012). Bikesharing across the globe. In Pucher, J. & Buehler, R. (Eds.), City cycling (pp.183-210). Cambridge, MA, The MIT Press.

Shaheen, S., Cohen, A., & Martin, E. (2013). Public bikesharing in North America: Early operator understanding and emerging trends. Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board, 2387, 83-92.

Taha, N.W. (2018). Sistem Perkongsian Basikal: Kajian Kes di George Town (Masters dissertation). Retrieved from School of Humanities, Universiti Sains Malaysia.

The Bikeshare Planning Guide. (2018). The Institute for Transportation and Development Policy.

Walker, P. (2017). How cycling can save the world. New York, Penguin.

Wiersma, B. (2010). Bicycle sharing system: Role, effects and application to Plymouth (Masters dissertation). Retrieved from University of Groningen.


  • There are currently no refbacks.