Rapid Penang Bus 401E from KOMTAR to Penang International Airport
Rapid Penang Bus Service 401E operates from Jetty and KOMTAR via Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway to Queensbay Mall, Bayan Lepas, and Penang International Airport, thereafter continuing onwards to Teluk Kumbar and Balik Pulau. Heading to Penang International Airport for my AirAsia AK1729 flight back to Singapore, I opted to take Rapid Penang Bus Service 401E since the timetable on on the Prasarana PULSE app would be more accurate with departure times from Jetty which is very near to KOMTAR.
KOMTAR Bus Terminal
I arrived at KOMTAR Bus Terminal in good time to catch the 5pm bus which was departing from Jetty.
I was greeted with this parade of buses at Platforms 4 and 5.
The platforms were used for Bridge Express Shuttle Transit (BEST) buses. The service numbers (letters?) are further abbreviated as BEST departing from Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak (KOMTAR) are abbreviated to BK (Bridge Express Shuttle Transit (BEST) Kompleks Tun Abdul Razak (KOMTAR)) with the destination in abbreviation following BK eg. BKB, BKBP, BKS, etc.
3 minutes before 5pm, the arrival time for Rapid Penang Bus Service 401E was blank as it had not departed from Jetty yet.
Buses at Platform 4 and 5 were operating out of Platform 3. When BEST KOMTAR (BK) buses clear Platform 4, buses move back to their original platforms where possible, and buses for blocked platforms take the nearest platform available to the original.
Rapid Penang Bus Service 401E (Express)
The 5pm Rapid Penang Bus Service 401E departure from Jetty arrived at KOMTAR Bus Terminal at 5.09pm.
The typical interior of Rapid Penang’s single deck buses.
My ticket for the Rapid Penang Bus Service 401E from KOMTAR to Penang International Airport which costs RM2.70. Only cash and Pas Mutiara are accepted on board Rapid Penang buses. Malaysian citizens with the Pas Mutiara can ride on all Rapid Penang bus services for free in 2022.
While boarding the BK buses departed from KOMTAR in a convoy out of the terminal.
I picked the last row as it is closer to the aircon. Rapid single deck buses can get quite stuffy.
Departing from KOMTAR Bus Terminal.
Looping around KOMTAR to head to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway.
Passing by Komtar Timur bus stop.
Turning on to Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway.
The peak hour traffic jam immediately started on Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway.
A short respite on the flyover over Jalan Sungai Pinang.
Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway is basically a car park during peak hours with very slow movement. I believe walking would have been faster.
If you are on a motorcycle, you are in luck though, since there is a separate lane for motorcycles.
The traffic did not get better as traffic merges ahead from other roads.
Most of the traffic are bound for Penang Bridge to head back to the mainland.
Once after the junction to the Penang Bridge at The Light, the Rapid Penang Bus Service 401E could speed up with an almost empty road.
The traffic jam continues on the viaduct above heading to Penang Bridge.
This speed was short-lived as the Rapid Penang Bus Service 401E heads off the Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway to continue on to Queensbay Mall.
Turning right at Penang WorldCity.
Passing by commercial lots at Bayan Indah.
Looping around at Queens Waterfront to serve Queensbay Mall.
Making a brief stop at Queensbay Mall. The Rapid Penang Bus Service 401E arrived at Queensbay Mall at 4.53pm, which means the journey by expressway has taken a whopping 44 minutes so far.
I wish I could take a break here before resuming the journey, but alas, I have a flight to catch.
Departing from Queensbay Mall.
Passing by the Aeroline counter at Queensbay Mall. Won’t be a convenient Way To Fly in this jam.
Turning out to Sungai Nibong Highway.
And *BOOM*, car park number 2 on the Sungai Nibong Highway immediately after turning out.
Passing over the jam on Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway towards Penang Bridge in the jam on Sungai Nibong Highway.
Crawling on Sungai Nibong Highway. Maybe actually crawling would be faster.
Every possible space at merging was used by drivers.
Finally heading on the Bayan Baru Roundabout.
The Rapid Penang Bus Service 401E goes under Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah as it serves Bayan Lepas first. Do note that the Rapid Penang Bus Service 401E is not a direct airport bus, it merely uses Tun Dr Lim Chong Eu Expressway for a faster journey from the city.
Continuing in the jam at Bayan Lepas.
More passengers alighted and boarded here.
Passing by Penang International Commercial City (PICC) slowly.
No escape from the traffic jams yet.
Passing by Amari SPICE Penang.
Passing by Setia SPICE Convention Centre.
Passing by Setia Welcome Centre.
Passing by Setia SPICE Experience Center.
Turning right at Jalan Mayang Pasir with traffic jams continuing all around.
Heading on Jalan Mayang Pasir.
Turning left on to Jalan Tengah following the jam.
Inching on to the next traffic light.
Finally turning right on to Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah towards Penang International Airport.
The direct Jalan Sultan Azlan Shah way if I had taken a Grab is also jammed up with cars and motorcycles.
Finally catching some speed on the bus.
Passing by factories at Bayan Lepas Free Industrial Zone.
Passing by Bangunan MAS Pulau Pinang or Malaysia Airlines Penang Island Building.
Penang International Airport is finally in sight.
Passing by Sekolah Jenis Kebangsaan (C) Chung Shan outside the airport.
Approaching the roundabout to Penang International Airport.
Entering Penang International Airport.
Penang International Airport
Taking the road for buses on the arrivals level.
The end is finally in sight.
Arriving at 6.55pm, my Rapid Penang Bus Service 401E journey from KOMTAR to Penang International Airport took a whopping 1 hour and 46 minutes with all the traffic jams included.
This bus will continue on to Teluk Kumbar and Balik Pulau. Salute to the bus driver.
The bus stop at Penang International Airport serving buses in all directions.
I thought I could take my time to catch my AirAsia AK1729 flight with the earlier departure from Penang, but it seems I have arrived just in time to prepare for boarding. From here, I headed in to the airport terminal building for immediate check-in and immigration.
While the Rapid Penang Bus Service 401E is a fast expressway bus, it is still subject to traffic jams around Penang. Be sure to factor in extra travel time especially when travelling during peak hours. If you are really in a rush to Penang International Airport, you could catch a Grab or taxi, but there was quite a high fare surge during my journey time and the car would have been stuck in almost the exact same traffic jam anyway.