New Penang ferry service operating smoothly


Safer ride: Tan (right) observing a sanitisation exercise on a fast boat at the Sultan Abdul Halim ferry terminal in Butterworth.

BUTTERWORTH: The new passenger ferry service from here to the island continues to run smoothly, even though it saw a drop in passengers due to the movement control order, says Penang Port Commission chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng.

The new service, he said, still made 54 trips daily.

“The human traffic flow has not gone down much during peak hours. In the mornings, we noticed that the passenger count only went down by 30%.

“Throughout the day, though, it did go down by 60%. We will monitor the passenger flow before deciding if we should reduce service frequencies, ” he said at Penang Sentral yesterday.

Tan receives a report every day on the number of passengers, especially during peak hours.

“We want to ensure the passengers are on time for work as many essential industries are still operating, ” he said, adding that they also followed Covid-19 SOP strictly.

“I have checked on this and am satisfied with the SOP compliance level of the service.

“The ferries are sanitised four times a day, every two hours or so.

“The sanitisation process takes more than half an hour as we are thorough, ” he said.

Tan said while the ferry capacity was 200 passengers per trip, crew members were present to ensure they observe physical distancing.

Starting Jan 1, Penang’s ferry service saw a new era of service with two fast boats for foot passengers while one of the old ferries is for two-wheeler vehicles only.

From 6.30am to 11pm, there is a trip every 20 to 30 minutes, up to 27 round trips per day.

This is the interim phase until June 30 next year while the ferry terminals are being upgraded and hi-tech water buses and vehicular ferries are being built.

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