SEBERANG PERAI: Prasarana Malaysia Bhd plans to officially unveil its Penang ferry service in November following negotiations.
President and group chief executive officer Datuk Seri Azmi Abdul Aziz said the takeover was currently going through an ownership transfer process from two parties.
“We expect the process to be completed soon and before we unveil the service to be known as RapidFerry during the soft launch in November,” he told reporters after attending the convocation ceremony of Politeknik Seberang Perai on Tuesday.
The ferry service is currently being run by Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) which privatised it to Seaport Terminal Sdn Bhd. It reported an annual loss of over RM21mil.
Azmi inspected the ferry service last night. He said officially, the group had yet to take over the service, but had obtained the green-light from the Federal Government to do so.
He also said the group had begun upgrading work on the ferry service by studying the number of vessels operating, commuters safety and improving the environment for pedestrians.
“We are not waiting and have begun the groundwork. After an announcement on the official takeover, the ferry service will be managed by our subsidiary, RapidFerry Sdn Bhd,” he added.
Azmi said the Penang ferry is an unique mode of transport and the group would try to find the best solution towards improving it to attract ridership.
“It is also a national icon with tourists getting an opportunity to experience the service and our prime objective is to improve the ridership,” he added.
Azmi also said the group planned to integrate the ferry service with the Penang Sentral transportation hub alongside the train and Rapid bus services to create a more convenient environment for commuters.
The Penang ferry, which provides a cross-strait service from George Town (Pengkalan Raja Tun Uda) to Butterworth (Pengkalan Sultan Abdul Halim), is the oldest ferry service in Malaysia and has been operational since 1894.
Since 1985, with the opening of the Penang Bridge, it was reported that the ferry service would have incurred a loss of at least RM700 for each trip made. - Bernama