Saturday, October 09, 2010

Romantic Penang Ferry

I can not recall if i ever ever set foot onto this ferry services when i was a kid. It was just too long ago and ever since everyone prefers to use the bridge, the ferry service has sort of became second choice.

Moreover, it is technically cheaper to use the bridge as it cost RM7 compared to RM7.70 for Ferry. And not helping, the new highway that was made towards Butterworth Ferry Jetty has added in an extra RM1.30 should you want to take this route.

On my last trip to Penang, i decided to take the Ferry to cross the 6km strait from Penang island side.

I drove into the jetty and waited for my turn.
I was smiling as i was waiting for the attendance to signal me into the ferry. I felt like I was about to travel back to time.

I felt like a small boy with a driving license and a car.

As I parked the car, pulled the handbrake and killed the ignition, i came out of my car and could felt the excitement as the ferry started to move.
I was told that the Ferry service operates whole day except during midnight to early morning and each trip takes about 20minutes. This is about 10minutes slower than taking the bridge but all i can say is it was darn worth the extra 10 minutes i lost crossing the strait.
The ferry services has been operating at a loss due to commuters preferring the bridge mode of transport. However, it serves the pedestrians and motorcyclist and cyclists as crossing the bridge walking (i don't think this is possible), riding motorbike (dangerous with the Penangites bad sense of driving) or cycling (also not possible) would definitely no a safe option.
The revenue generated by serving the pedestrians and two wheelers are not enough i believe to keep these historical ferries afloat. Already, i saw one being in the shipyard being repaired and actively only 4 (out of six) were plying the straits.
So, in your next trip to Penang for holiday, do consider to take the ferry from the mainland and help to contribute to keep the services of these ferry (since 1920s) going so that your children and my children will be able to know this part of history that made Penang this special.

My 20 minutes journey in history came to a quick end, i secretly wished it would be 30 instead. I did not manage to move to the top deck as i was just too intrigue even on the lower deck - and many about 150 pair of eyes watching this Malaysian Tourist snapping happily away on his Nikon D40+18-55VR on x0.45 wide angle converter.




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