The new Penang ferry that replaced the iconic ferry officially began operations today with 1.2 million passengers expected to use the one-way service within a year.
The new ferry operates from two terminals on a shuttle basis, namely Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (PSAH) and Pangkalan Raja Tun Uda (PRTU) and no longer uses Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) as a temporary ferry terminal.
Chief Minister, Chow Kon Yeow was one of the first individuals to use the new ferry service where he took the first trip of the ferry at about 6.30am from PSAH, Butterworth and arrived at about 6.45am at PRTU in Georgetown.
Kon Yeow said that the ferry service in Penang is a very important service for the people, especially those who use the medium of transportation to go back and forth to work every day.
“Now, Penang ferries have a new look with four ferries named Teluk Bahang; Kampi Bay; Teluk Duyung and Teluk Kumbar replace the iconic Penang ferry.
“The new ferries are far more efficient and comfortable than the iconic ferries,” he said in a press conference at PRTU, today (August 7).
According to Kon Yeow, Penang Port Sdn. Bhd. (PPSB) will bear the cost of a new ferry ticket for a month starting today until September 6.
“This free fare for all passengers is an initiative by SPPP and PPSB to ease the financial burden of ferry passengers,” he said.
He added that the new ferry will operate every day starting today in Butterworth which is PSAH at about 6.30am and ends at 9.30pm, while on the island side which is PRTU as early as 7am and ends at 10pm.
“SPPP and PPSB are concerned with the wishes and needs of the people of Penang, especially those who use the ferry every day, and have prepared a ferry schedule with a total of 68 trips (two-way) per day.
“The frequency of this ferry is every 20 minutes during peak hours and 30 minutes during non-peak hours, this schedule is also for weekdays and on weekends or public holidays, the ferry’s final trip will be extended from 8.30pm during the transition period to 10pm ,” he said.
In the meantime, Kon Yeow said the state government is also ready to explore water taxi services to connect parts of the island and Seberang Perai faster.
“So far we have not yet made an official application regarding this water taxi service to the Ministry of Transport, but previously the Penang City Council (MBPP) had tried to promote water taxis on the island.
“So we need to look into this matter and the state government is willing to cooperate and want to be an important stakeholder with the Ministry of Transport to explore more efficient sea transport,” he said.
Meanwhile, Chief Executive Officer of PPSB, Datuk V Sasedharan said, through the 68 trips provided, his party is targeting 100,000 users of the new ferry for one way in a month, making 1.2 million passengers for a year.