MELAKA: Melaka Chief Minister has launched the water taxi service along the Sungai Melaka waterway after a 10-year wait.
Datuk Seri Ab Rauf Jusoh officially commenced the urban water taxi service on Tuesday (May 16) night soon after launching the Melaka River and Beach Development Corporation’s (PPSPM) new headquarters at Dataran Pengakalan Rama here.
In his speech, Ab Rauf said PPSM has grown by leaps and bounds since it was established in 2005.
He said in the beginning, the River Cruise service only recorded 3,290 passengers.
"However, a whopping 13 million people have used the River Cruise service between 2006 and May 8 this year.
"This is an outstanding achievement within a time frame of 18 years," he said.
Ab Rauf said PPSPM started with two boats as its River Cruise Service and now has a fleet of 40 boats.
"PPSPM now has a water taxi service," he said.
The initial plan to introduce the water taxi service was made by the then Melaka chief minister Tun Dr Mohd Ali Rustam, back in 2011.
Dr Mohd Ali is currently the Yang-di Pertua of Melaka.
However, the RM130mil rehabilitation and beautification of Sungai Melaka hit a snag after the earlier contractor appointed by then
Natural Resources and Environment Ministry failed to complete the project as scheduled in 2017.
The project involves the widening and extension work of the river by another 2.3km to enable the water taxis to stop and pick up passengers from five new jetties along the second phase from Dataran Pengkalan Rama to Batu Hampar in Batu Berendam.
Meanwhile, PPSPM chief executive officer, Datuk Murad Husin said there will be dozens of jetties for the water taxis to serve the passengers along the waterway from Dataran Pengkalan Rama.
He said the fare from one jetty to another will cost RM1 and the total for the full route will be RM8.
Murad said PPSPM also plans to extend the water taxi service up to Batu Hampar under the second phase of the River Cruise route.
"However, we are facing the issue of sediment which impedes the boat movements.
"We are working closely with the Department of Irrigation and Drainage to resolve this," he said.
Murad said the water taxi service can currently reach up to Rumpun Bahagia jetty under the second phase and the plan is to extend up to the Melaka Sentral bus terminal.