GEORGE TOWN, Dec 30 — The Penang Port Commission (PPC) will open a Request for Proposal (RFP) application to the public who are interested in renovating the existing ferries to be turned into a tourism attraction.
Its chairman, Datuk Tan Teik Cheng said to maintain the historical value and iconic elements of the state, two existing ferries would be renovated as floating restaurants, museums or for tourist cruises.
“It is to mark the contribution of these ferries to Penang’s cultural identity and heritage. Therefore, PPC will make an RFP offer to the public who are interested in the initiatives,” he said in a statement, here, today.
Tan assured that the ferry service would not be interrupted and the existing ferry fares would be maintained although from Jan 1, the new passenger speedboat service would begin operations.
He said the public would enjoy the new passenger speedboats for free for a period of two weeks.
“From Jan 1, 2021, the existing ferry service can only be used by cyclists and motorcyclists while the speedboats will be used to carry individual passengers,” he said.
Earlier, the Ministry of Transport said the modernisation phase of the ferry service would begin with the introduction of three water buses (for foot passengers) starting Jan 1, 2021, followed by two carriers for two-wheeled motor vehicles only (such as motorcycles and bicycles) which would operate from 2022.
On Dec 17, Finance Minister Tengku Datuk Seri Zafrul Tengku Abdul Aziz told the Dewan Rakyat that RM30 million had been allocated for the modernisation of the ferry service which would be channelled through two payments, in 2021 and 2022.
As a temporary measure, the ministry said that Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) would provide two speedboats to transport passengers as well as obtain a ferry service owned by Prasarana to transport two-wheeled vehicles in an effort to assist in the transition process during the period.