Not again! The privatised Penang Port Sdn Bhd couldn’t care less about the long-suffering commuters who use the ferry every day. Now, it wants to further reduce the number of ferries and slash operating hours, presumably so that it can concentrate on more lucrative activities elsewhere.
It plans to reduce the ferries in operation from four to three from 1 January 2016. It is a far cry from the dozen or so ferries that use to cross the channel in the 1970s and 1980s.
The operating hours will also be slashed. From 1 January 2016, the last ferry from the island will leave at 11.30pm instead of 1am.
The excuse given is that there has been a decline in the number of vehicles using the ferries. That is a pathetic reason. The reason there has been a decline is that the ferry service is utterly deplorable these days. So commuters have to use the bridge which in turn clogs up the roads leading to the bridge.
Who cares about the long-suffering commuters now who have to wait endlessly with this skeleton service? As long as Penang Port can improve its bottom-line that is all it cares.
This is exactly what happens when you privatise an essential public service. If it doesn’t ‘make money’, it is slashed, to hell with the public.
What does the transport minister have to say about this shameful state of affairs? If he can’t see to it that Penang has an efficient ferry service, he should just resign. Who was responsible for this stupid privatisation to a firm who can look no further than its bottom-line? Why not just close down the ferry service altogether and make even more profits!