After over a century of service connecting the cities of George Town on Penang Island and Butterworth on the mainland, the Penang Ferry Service ceased operations on 31 December 2020. The iconic heritage ferries were replaced with new, faster passenger ferries carrying only pedestrians, bicycles, and motorcycles.
The Penang Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB) will be carrying out interim improvements to the terminals and aims to introduce the use of passenger-only water buses and vehicle transporters by July 2022. The water busses will be capable of carrying 200 passengers with a travel speed of between 10 to 15 minutes and at a frequency of 40 times per day.
This cross-strait transit has been operational since 1894, making it the oldest ferry service in Malaysia. The Penang Ferry Service’s fleet of six ferries carried both passengers and automobiles across the Penang Strait daily, with locals and tourists alike enjoying the scenic journey across the waterway.
Taking into account the cultural and heritage value of the ferries along with the sentiments of Penangites, the state government intends to turn the retired ferries into floating museums and restaurants, which will be docked at the Tanjung City Marina.
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