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Monday, June 12, 2017
Prasarana to take over Penang’s ferry service for token sum of RM1
images: Rapid Penang facebook
Come next month, Penang’s ferry service will be called rapidFerry when it is
officially taken over by Prasarana Malaysia Bhd from current operator Penang
Port Sdn Bhd (PPSB).
end the ferry service’s uncertainty, which has gone on for nearly a decade.
said Prasarana will take over the ferry service for a token sum of RM1.
with the opening of the Penang Bridge, each ferry would have incurred at least
RM700 in losses for every trip it made.
believed that PPSB would pay a large annual sum to Prasarana for a few years to
help it cope with the losses.
said negotiations had been difficult because one of the previous terms
discussed was to halt the vehicular ferry service within two or three years
after the takeover.
Transport Ministry refused to allow it to end.
too much tourism and heritage value in Penang’s vehicular ferry service,” the
Commission (PPC) chairman Datuk Tan Teik Cheng confirmed that the deal has been
finalised and is now awaiting the Cabinet’s stamp of approval.
“Most of the
time, outstation cars wait for our ferries.
visitors to Penang love taking the ferry so much, Prasarana will look into
improving the experience for them,” he said.
Tan said PPC
remained as the overseer of the service and was excited about catamarans
joining the existing ferry fleet.
to transport pedestrians, cyclists and motorcyclists will be faster.
reduce travel time and in that sense, life between the island and the mainland
will be closer,” he said.
actively pushing for the separation of the ferry service from other port
operations after public-listed MMC Corp Bhd announced that it would acquire all
of PPSB’s shares.
Sri Syed Mokhtar Al-Bukhary took over PPSB in January 2014 and within two years
turned it around with a net profit of RM2.2mil.
publicly list PPSB had been held back by the ferry service losses.
the largest public transport provider in Malaysia, operating several train and
bus services nationwide, including Rapid Penang buses.
Prasarana has not made any public statements on the deal, Rapid Penang posted a
picture of the rapidFerry logo on its Facebook page on Friday.
In 2015, the Penang government made a bid to take over the
ferries, but negotiations halted because it could not get its full wish list
met, which included 30 pre-approved licences for water taxis, freedom from PPC
as the federal overseer and to take over minus the past losses.