Ferry pedestrian commuters are expressing concern about the way the government is disclosing information in piece meal basis about the transformation of ferry services from 1 January 2021.
As an example, pedestrian commuters are worried that after buying their speed boat ticket at the ticketing booth at the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal in Butterworth they have to ascend/descend a steep flight of stairs (now under construction) to reach the speed boat berthing area on the ground floor.
The Ferry Terminal is connected to the Penang Sentral’s third floor and the pedestrian commuters’ concern is justifiable. Although it was said that senior citizens, OKU, and pregnant women would be provided free shuttle service at the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal, there is a likelihood that the shuttle van will not be sufficient during peak hours or otherwise social distancing could not be exercised.
The Consumers Association of Penang (CAP) calls on the Penang Port Commission (PPC) to allay the fears of pedestrian commuters of having to take a long route to catch the speed boat if there is indeed a plan to retain the ticketing booth at the current location.
It was reported that both fibreglass speed boats – Kenangan 3 and 6 – are 21 and 19 years-old respectively. We would like to know who made the decision to purchase these aging vessels, at what cost, and how were the decisions made. It is because the engines of such old vessels require more expensive maintenance and repairs.
There is concern among commuters about the stability of the speed boat crossing in the wake of a ship approaching it. The stability must be ensured before introducing the speed boats.
We reiterate our call for the Ministry of Transport (MoT) and the Penang Port Commission (PPC) to be transparent and forthcoming in providing information and updates on the matter. It was a comedy of sorts when the media earlier reported conflicting announcements that caused confusion about the cessation of the ferry service by the Finance Minister and the MOT.
Press Statement, 28 December 2020