Water taxis slated for 2026


Upgrade incoming: People gathering on a pier set to be used by water taxis, close to the second Penang Bridge in Batu Maung, Penang. — KT GOH/The Star

GEORGE TOWN: In about two years, people will be able to travel around the traffic-congested island of Penang by sea via water taxis that are expected to charge between RM1.30 and RM15.90, according to documents on the project sighted by The Star.

Once completed, the service, the first of its kind in Malaysia, will ply six routes between piers in Straits Quay, Weld Quay, Pantai Jerejak and Batu Maung, in intervals of between 15 and 45 minutes, according to the documents.

The planned routes are Weld Quay-Straits Quay-Weld Quay, Weld Quay-Pantai Jerejak-Weld Quay, Weld Quay-Batu Maung-Weld Quay, Pantai Jerejak-Batu Maung-Pantai Jerejak, Straits Quay-Batu Maung-Straits Quay, and Straits Quay-Pantai Jerejak-Straits Quay.

Boats that can accommodate 20 passengers and two crew members will be used in the service, which has a total of 14 boats and two rescue boats.

Penang local government, town and country planning committee chairman Jason H’ng Mooi Lye confirmed the project, saying that a formal offer letter will be sent to the company involved in May.

“The letter of intent (LOI) was sent to the successful bidder to implement the project. The company has to provide certain information and comply with the terms outlined in the LOI before a formal offer letter is issued,” he confirmed.

It is learnt that the RM60mil project will be carried out in two phases and will upgrade and make use of the four existing piers, some of which had been underutilised.

The service is expected to be fully operational by May 2026.

The first phase of the project, which is expected to be ready in July next year, will entail upgrading the Straits Quay and Pantai Jerejak piers to make them suitable for public transport.

In the second phase, to be completed in the first quarter of 2026, the piers in Weld Quay and Batu Maung will be done up and upgraded.

The pre-development and development cost of the project are RM6.9mil and RM53.1mil respectively, according to the documents.

Some of the pier locations will also feature an event space and a floating market.

Once the service is in operation, tickets can be bought online or via counters or kiosks at each jetty, while the service is expected to run from 6.30am to 10pm.

H’ng said the Penang Island City Council will bear no financial cost for the project as it is being fully funded by the company.

He added that the company will also have to bear the cost of upgrading the four piers for the project.

“With the island’s growing population and increasing urbanisation, the need for efficient and sustainable transportation has become more pressing than ever.

“The water taxi service will offer a convenient and environmentally friendly alternative, easing congestion on the roads and providing seamless connectivity across key points of interest here,” he said.

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Penang , Water Taxis

   

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