GEORGE TOWN: Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) has given its assurance that the service of three new fast vessels to ferry pedestrian passengers starting on Jan 1, 2021 is safer and more comfortable than the old ferry service.
Penang Port PPSB chief executive officer, V. Sasedharan said PPSB also targeted an increase in the number of pedestrian passengers to 1.8 million starting from next year from 1.3 million passengers last year.
“About 1.3 million pedestrian passengers opted for the service last year. We expect this to go up to about 1.8 million people next year because the service is very comfortable, has full air conditioning and fast.
“I think that (the new service) will be more popular and will become a tourism product of the state,” he said.
He was speaking to reporters during a terminal visit session and a review of the operation of the new ferry service with the media, at the Swettenham Cruise Ship Terminal here, yesterday.
He said, the fast ferry boats that would be used during the interim phase from Jan 1, 2021 to 30 June 30, 2022 had also obtained security licenses from the Malaysian Marine Department.
“The new boats are ready … although some are disputing (the licenses) … the three boats are already here and have even received a license from the Marine Department (Malaysia),” he said.
He said a trip using the new service was estimated to take seven minutes one way with a trip every 30 minutes for 40 commutes a day.
“Fast ferries for passengers will be half-hourly starting from 6.30 am to 11.30 pm,” he said.
According to him, starting Jan 1, 2021 too, the existing ferry service can only be used by cyclists and motorcyclists while the fast boats would be used to carry individual passengers.
Prior to this, the Ministry of Transport stated that the modernisation phase of the ferry service would begin with the introduction of three water buses (for passengers) starting from Jan 1, 2021.
This would be followed by two vehicle carriers that would only carry two-wheeled vehicles (such as motorcycles and bicycles), starting in 2022.
On Dec 17, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz said RM30 million had been allocated for the modernisation of the ferry service.
He told the Dewan Rakyat that the allocation would be channelled through two payments, namely in 2021 and 2022.
As a temporary measure, the ministry stated that PPSB would provide two fast passenger boats to transport passengers.
Subsequently, it said the services of ferries owned by Prasarana would be obtained to transport two-wheeled vehicles in an effort to assist in the transition process to new vessels during the period. —BERNAMA
Source: astro AWANI