Tan (far right) with Sasedharan at the press conference.

By V. Sivaji

Those travelling from Penang to Butterworth and vice versa will be able to experience the new “water buses” by mid 2022.

On the down side, the iconic ferries will be phased out and motorists will have to use the first or second bridges. 

The new water buses can accommodate some 200 passengers at any one time and will take only 10 minutes to cross the 3km Penang Straits. 

A total of three units of the water buses (single deck) are expected to be purchased and will make about 40 trips per day.

For the two-wheeled motorised vehicles, the “vehicle transporters” (2 units) will be implemented.

In a press conference held at the Royale Chulan Penang , yesterday, the chief executive officer (CEO) of Penang Port commission V, Sasedharan and the chairman of PPC Datuk Tan Teik Cheng briefed the media.
Tan is also the Penang MCA chief.

A budget of RM64 million has been set aside for the project which involves the purchase of the water ferries and the renovation of the terminals at Pengkalan Raja Tun Uda (Weld Quay) and Pengkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (Butterworth).

The passengers waiting areas will include cafes, air conditioned waiting areas and other facilities at Penang Sentral and the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal. 

Operation hours are from 6.30am to 11pm.

The decommissioned ferries are expected to be turned into floating restaurants cum museum to document the history of the ferries. They will be docked at the Tanjung City Marina.

Tenders will be called from interested parties to bid for the adventurous tourism project.