Transport Minister Datuk Seri Wee Ka Siong confirmed that Penang would no longer see any vehicular ferries for four-wheeled vehicles come 2021, citing that today more automobiles are expected to use the Penang Bridge and the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge to travel in and out of Penang.
Adding that it is a safer, quicker and cheaper than by ferry, come 2021 two fast ferry vessels and one existing Prasarana-owned ferry will carry motorcycles and bicycles across the channel.
Though the decision is unpopular with the state government, Wee says that the move is aimed at making travel safer, faster and less prone to unsustainable maintenance costs to the already ageing 47-year-old ferries.
“Passenger safety must be paramount, and therefore, a considered decision was made to modernise the ferry fleet to avoid unwanted incidents and inconvenience that may occur.”
The ferry service has been around for the past 126 years – the first cross-strait ferry service between Penang and the mainland.
Interested in preserving the unique history of Penang, the Transport Ministry will seek proposals to convert the existing ferries into floating restaurants, museums or tourist cruises as suggested by various parties.
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