Penang to invite proposals for water taxi service

Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow hopes RapidFerry, which runs the George Town-Butterworth ferry service will take part in the tenders for water taxis. (Bernama pic)

GEORGE TOWN: The Penang government will call for tenders for a water taxi service in the state.

It hopes to have water taxis connecting Tanjung Tokong, Jelutong, George Town, Bayan Baru and Bayan Lepas on the island.

On the mainland, the state is looking at Perai, Batu Kawan and Nibong Tebal as possible locations.

The government intended to pursue a separate plan for water-based transport, Penang Chief Minister Chow Kon Yeow said on the sidelines of the state assembly today.

He said the state government was requesting for proposals (RfP) for water taxis since the larger Penang Transport Master Plan, which also incorporates water transport, might take a long time to be implemented in full.

Chow said perhaps RapidFerry, which runs the George Town-Butterworth ferry service, could take part in the RfP to have a more integrated water transport system.

During question time in the state assembly earlier, Chow (DAP-Padang Kota) revealed that RapidFerry spent RM1.749 million each month to run the George Town-Butterworth ferry service.

He said the service only collected RM2.687 million in fares from May to September this year, excluding docking costs imposed by Penang Port Sdn Bhd.

The ferry runs 54 trips on weekdays and 50 trips during weekends and public holidays, he said in a written reply to Goh Choon Aik (PKR-Bukit Tambun).