It was bemusing to see politicians on both sides of the political divide engaged in a recent war of words about saving the Penang ferries.
Both sides seemed to agree that these “‘iconic heritage ferries” should be saved or showcased elsewhere so that foreign tourists and local visitors could take joy rides.
But let’s be clear from the outset. The vast majority of daily riders on the ferries – whether passengers or motorists – are local residents from Penang, either going to work or running some personal errand or on weekend trips. From my observation, they far outnumber tourists and out-of-town visitors, who use the ferries mainly during school holidays, weekend breaks and festive periods.
So the premise for saving the old ferry service – for tourism purposes – starts on the wrong footing.
The hastily introduced boats are a poor substitute for the ferries, not to mention hardly friendly to people with disabilities. A crowd of people in an enclosed cabin with not much physical distancing is not ideal, unlike the old airy ferries where there was plenty of room for passengers with sea air freely circulating through the upper and lower decks. Full article on Aliran website