GEORGE TOWN: Prasarana Malaysia Berhad has received the green light from the Transport Ministry to upgrade the centuries old ferries that ply the between Butterworth and Penang.
Its Minister Anthony Loke Siew Fook said two ferries will be upgraded to solely transport vehicles while another four will be converted into flotillas to serve tourists on scenic cruises.
Loke also said that Prasanara will order a fleet of catamarans to ferry passengers across the Penang Channel.
The full details of the upgrade would be announced in due course, Loke said after launching the Mutiara Pass Cards for passengers, who want to use both the Rapid Penang public stage bus and the Rapid Ferry cross-channel services.
Also present were Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow, state exco members, state assemblypersons as well as Prasarana president and group chief executive officer Datuk Mohamed Hazlan Mohamed Hussain.
Loke said that Prasanara will raise funds internally for the upgrade exercise.
“The upgrade is designed to boost the public transport system here.”
He added that the catamarans can also function as a fleet of water taxis to connect the island and mainland.
Earlier, Loke said that the Mutiara Passes was aimed at encouraging more public ridership of the stage buses and ferries now.
He said that the monthly passes are divided into five categories as below:
ii. College students
iii. Working adults
iv. Senior citizens.
Customers can save between RM10 to RM50 depending on the type of passes purchased.
Rapid Penang has 404 stage buses with 71 routes throughout Penang.
Annually, it serves an average of 16 million commuters whereas Rapid Ferry serves an average of 865,559 foot passengers and 762,498 vehicles.