Deeper thoughts should be given to Penang catamarans

The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) considers the RM64 million spent on the purchase of new ferries and upgrading of the ferry terminals as being wasteful as the existing fleet of ferries could be maintained at a lower cost.

Before the introduction of the catamaran ‘water buses’, there should have been a public inquiry to find out how and why the ferries failed. The causes should be identified because, without which, the new ferries would suffer the same fate.

We urge adequate signboards indicating average wait times to be placed ahead of the ramps into the ferries. Such signboards will allow motorists and pedestrians to decide on alternative travel arrangements if they think that they cannot wait.

Obviously the present fleet was poorly managed and lacked preventive maintenance which otherwise could have rendered the ferry service financially viable. Moreover, it is frustrating when critical information about the ferry services did not reach the commuters in time for them to make alternative plans of their travel.

With an efficient service, more people would be encouraged to use the ferry which otherwise we will continue to see a decline in the number of commuters. According to the Penang Port Commission website, there were 1.5 million pedestrians; 498,922 cars; 12,517 lorries; 765,725motorcycles; and 11,964 bicycles using the ferry service in 2019.

 

Press Statement, 16 Dec 2020

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