Riau governor urges Batam-Singapore ferry operators to slash fares

JAKARTA (The Jakarta Post/Asia News Network): Riau Islands Governor Ansar Ahmad is asking four ferry operators plying the Batam, Bintan and Karimun to Singapore routes to cut fares after ticket prices more than doubled during the pandemic.

A return ticket from the islands to Singapore has increased from Rp 450,000 (US$30.41) to around Rp1 million.

Ansar said he had met the operators' representatives to reduce fares within this week. “Once they do so, we will announce it,” he told The Jakarta Post on Monday (June 20).

The governor has also sent an official request letter to the operators, namely, Horizon, Sindo, Majestic and Batam Fast based on Law No. 17/2008 on efficient and affordable maritime transportation.

“[Lower prices] will increase the number of tourists to Riau Islands,” Ansar said in the letter.

The Batam Tourism Agency held a ceremony last Wednesday to welcome the first travellers from Singapore’s HarbourFront international ferry terminal arriving at Batam Center Ferry Port in Batam, after more than two years of the pandemic.

Singapore had shut HarbourFront in March 2020 due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

HarbourFront is a waterfront district situated in southern Singapore. With the reopening of the HarbourFront-Batam route, the port has returned to full operation.

During normal operation, the port saw 49 ferry trips between the two ports each day, with average weekend traveler numbers of more than 5,000 people.

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