Penang Fast Ferry from Penang Island Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) to Butterworth Penang Sentral Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (PSAH)
The Penang Fast Ferry is the main transport link between Georgetown Penang Island and Butterworth Penang Sentral. The Penang Ferry service was supposed to transition into a water bus and vehicle transporter service to be launched in mid-2022, however, no signs of the new services can be seen yet. Nevertheless, new water bus service or not, I needed to make the crossing on the Penang Channel to catch my KTM Komuter Northern Sector 2905dn from Butterworth Railway Station.
Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT), Georgetown (Penang Island)
On Penang Island, the Penang Fast Ferry operates out of Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT).
The direction to the Penang Fast Ferry at Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) is marked out by the queuing fences. The Penang Fast Ferry from Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) to Butterworth Penang Sentral Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (PSAH) is free of charge. No tickets are needed, just hop on.
The Penang Fast Ferry waiting area at Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) is now on the ground floor on the road. While this saves passengers from an escalator ride and steps down, this also means that there is no air-conditioned area to wait in any more, as compared with my previous trip in February.
Ventilation at the new Penang Fast Ferry waiting area at Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) is by standing fans and natural sea breeze.
Toilets are available at the ground floor Penang Fast Ferry waiting area at Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT).
The entrance queue to the Penang Fast Ferry is marked by roadside barriers and a queue pole.
Boarding commenced about 12 minutes before departure.
Heading directly into the new floating pontoon for the Penang Fast Ferry.
Heading down to the floating pontoon.
Kenangan 6 would be ferrying me from Penang Island Swettenham Pier to Butterworth Penang Sentral.
Boarding Kenangan 6 operating on the Penang Fast Ferry.
The interior of Kenangan 6 operating on the Penang Fast Ferry.
The view of the interior from my seat.
The legroom available on board Kenangan 6 operating on the Penang Fast Ferry.
Passengers continue to stream in as the Penang Fast Ferry operates at an hourly frequency in the afternoon. Nothing fast about it.
Information and safety videos are played on loop throughout the journey.
Staff remove the boarding platform as the Kenangan 6 is ready to depart.
My Penang Fast Ferry departed from Penang Island Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) at 11.32pm – 2 minutes late.
Turning around with a view of Church Street Pier and Pangkalan Raja Tun Uda.
Departing from Penang Island Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT).
Crossing the Penang Channel with a view of the Penang Port North Butterworth Container Terminal.
Passing by the Orkim Glory crude oil tanker.
Approaching Penang Sentral.
Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (PSAH), Penang Sentral, Butterworth, Penang (Mainland)
My Penang Fast Ferry arrived at Butterworth Penang Sentral Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (PSAH) at 11.42pm, making this a total journey time of 10 minutes, and 12 minutes if including the delayed departure time.
Passengers are all ready to disembark before the ferry has docked.
Disembarking from the Kenangan 6.
Heading up to the shore from the floating pontoon.
Looking back at Kenangan 6.
The link from the floating pontoon to the shore is by a now-cemented road on the former Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim vehicle road on to the former Penang Ferry.
There is a shuttle van waiting for passengers who need assistance with climbing up staircases to drive up to the ticket counter.
A new room with glass windows and doors has been built. Perhaps this is the future waiting area for the water bus?
Heading up the new staircase towards Penang Sentral.
Filing past passengers waiting to board the Penang Fast Ferry.
Continuing on past what I think are future shop lots.
Heading up to Penang Sentral.
Taking the stairs up as the slope is now for departing passengers towards Penang Island only.
Heading in to Penang Sentral.
Heading towards the bus ticketing counter to continue on the walk to Butterworth Railway Station.
Heading past the bus ticketing area to the lift lobby.
Crossing the bus road to the temporary walkway.
I wonder if this temporary walkway has become permanent.
The Penang Fast Ferry‘s low hourly frequency defeats the purpose of upgrading the fleet to faster ferries operated temporarily by Langkawi Ferry Services as despite the faster travel time of 10 minutes, the frequency is now 60 minutes. This is very infrequent and unacceptable as the ferry is the only public transport link between Georgetown and Penang Sentral at most hours of the day.
With foot passengers at the mercy of Penang Fast Ferry‘s low frequency to cross the Penang Channel, coupled with the reduced frequency on the Rapid Penang bus network as well, the passenger experience for getting around Penang, island and mainland, by public transport is in dire straits.