DATUK Seri Wong Chun Wai was absolutely right in his column on Sunday (“Rocking the boat”, On the Beat, Sunday Star; online at bit.ly/star_ferry).
The Penang ferry service is simply not financially viable. I think that the ticket collection is not even enough to cover the variable cost of fuel and operations what more the fixed costs of salary, maintenance, etc. Water taxis are the only chance for the service to be economically viable.However, due to its iconic tourist and historic value, the ferry service should be maintained, as the money spent can be treated as an investment in tourism and expensive nostalgia.
I propose that the optimal balance would be to maintain only one ferry while using water taxis as the service mainstay. The single ferry’s departure times could be fixed at one-and-a-half-hour intervals, from 8am to 6pm daily except on Tuesday and Wednesday, when it will stop running for scheduled maintenance.
This should satisfy both the bookkeeper accountants (like me) and also the sentimental oldies (also like me)!
Wishing everyone a Happy New Year!
CHAN JIT LOON , Penang
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