The iconic Penang ferry just received a short reprieve, as the Penang Port Commission agreed to continue using it temporarily for bicycles and motorcycles!
Penang Ferry : Originally Retired On 31 December 2020
After plying the Penang strait for 47 years, the iconic Penang ferry was scheduled to be retired on 31 December 2020.
It was to be replaced by fast passenger ferries, and vehicles were to use the original Penang Bridge and the new Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge.
However, there was an uproar because the Penang ferry is not just a state icon, it is an integral part of its unique cultural heritage.
Iconic Penang Ferry To Continue… Temporarily!
On 25 December 2020, the Malaysian federal government assured the public that the iconic Penang ferry service would continue.
The Penang Port Commission then announced on 26 December 2020, that the Penang ferry would continue temporarily, and only to transport motorcycles and bicycles.
This is how the Penang ferry service will operate from 1 January 2020 onwards:
Two fast ferries will carry passengers between the Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim terminal in Butterworth, and the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal in Penang island.
A free shuttle bus will transport passengers from the Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal to Pangkalan Raja Tun Uda, to connect with existing bus and taxi services there.
Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) will offer free rides for passengers on these fast ferries for two weeks, from 1 January until 14 January 2021.
These fast ferries will be replaced by three (passenger-only) water-buses by 1 July 2022 or earlier.
Bicycles + Motorcycles
A Penang ferry will be retained to transport bicycles and motorcycles only from 1 January 2021 onwards.
The ferry will continue to ply its old route between the Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim terminal in Butterworth, and Pangkalan Raja Tun Uda in Penang island.
This is only temporary, as PPSB intends to replace it with two vehicle transporters (for buses and bicycles) by 1 July 2022 or earlier.
Cars + Other Four-Wheeled Vehicles
The Penang ferry service will no longer carry cars and other four-wheeled vehicles from 1 January 2021 onwards.
They will all have to use the Penang Bridge and the Sultan Abdul Halim Muadzam Shah Bridge to travel between the mainland and the island.
Penang Ferry : Future Tourist Attraction
The Penang Port Commission also announced that two Penang ferries will be retained, and renovated to serve as a floating restaurant, or a museum, or to offer cruise tours as a Penang heritage.
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