Penang Fast Ferry from Penang Island Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) to Butterworth Penang Sentral Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (PSAH) by Ferry

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 Butterworth Penang Sentral and Georgetown on Penang Island, operating as an interim ferry service from 1 January 2021 to mid-2022 with leased services from Langkawi Ferry Services while the Penang Ferry service transitions into a water bus and vehicle transporter service.

Transferring from the Rapid Penang CAT Bus Service from Kimberley Hotel Georgetown, I headed on to Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) to board the Penang Fast Ferry to Butterworth Penang Sentral Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (PSAH).

Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT)

Signs at the barriers point towards the direction of the Penang Fast Ferry.

The queue lines look like it’s catering to big crowds, but no crowds were present at the time of my visit.

Entering Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT).

Head upstairs to the departure hall.

Turn right for the Penang Fast Ferry to Butterworth Penang Sentral Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (PSAH). Scan MySejahtera and take your temperature here.

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 air-conditioned waiting hall follows. However, as my 1pm Penang Fast Ferry was about to depart, I headed for boarding straightaway.

Boarding is through the immigration counters.

Malaysia immigration and customs were closed, with the path blocked out.

Walking down the non-functioning escalator on the right.

Langkawi Ferry Services Kenangan 2

Langkawi Ferry Services Kenangan 2 was on service for my 1pm Penang Fast Ferry.

Walking down to the floating pontoon to board the Kenangan 2.

Nearing departure time already, the crew were already preparing to depart.

Heading up the gangway from the floating pontoon to the Kenangan 2.

The view on board Kenangan 2 from my seat.

The view of The Taipan from Kenangan 2 at Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT). The Taipan is an all-suite boutique cruise ship of Star Cruises.

Interestingly, the Star Cruises on the funnel has been modified to fit the Genting logo.

Departing on time from Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT) with a view of Church Street Pier.

The view of Pangkalan Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal after departure from Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT).

The old Penang Ferry, Pulau Angsa, was berthed at Pangkalan Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal.

Zooming on to Butterworth at speed.

Heading on reciprocal course with Roro Jaya Satu, operating for bicycles and motorcycles.

Again, this view means that the ferries are not following Rule 14 of the Rules of the Road. Hmm.

Arriving at Butterworth Penang Sentral Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (PSAH).

Staff place the gangway between the Kenangan 2 and the floating pontoon of Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (PSAH)

Disembarking from the Kenangan 2.

Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (PSAH)

Heading up the floating pontoon to the former vehicle ramp.

Looking back at Kenangan 2 at Butterworth Penang Sentral Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (PSAH).

Signs are posted along the path towards Penang Sentral.

With no more moving parts on the vehicle ramp, gaps have been filled up with concrete for a smoother walk.

The path towards Penang Sentral is on the former vehicle lanes.

For passengers who have big luggage or are less able, a shuttle car is provided from here to the upper level.

Heading up the staircase.

The path then follows along the old way to get to Penang Sentral.

The shuttle car drop-off point is beside the ticket counter.

Heading up the stairs or ramp to Penang Sentral.

The rather skeletal schedule of the Penang Fast Ferry.

The walkway between Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (PSAH) and Butterworth Railway Station has still not been reinstated yet, even though it looks very ready.

Scan the MySejahtera QR code to show to enter Penang Sentral.

With plenty of time to spare before my ETS Platinum Business Class 9107dn train from Butterworth to KL Sentral, I roamed around Penang Sentral for the aircon and to do some ferry and bus spotting.

The old Penang Ferries are berthed beside Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (PSAH).

The old Penang Ferries beside the new Penang Fast Ferry.

The new floating pontoon at Pangkalan Sultan Abdul Halim (PSAH).

At 1.30pm, the Kenangan 2 departed back to Swettenham Pier Cruise Terminal (SPCT).

Conclusion

Overall, the Penang Fast Ferry offers a fast ride across from Penang Island to Butterworth, taking around half the time as needed on the old ferry. However, this fast ride is conflicted by the rather poor frequency.

At the time of my visit in December 2021, the Penang Fast Ferry frequency was mainly hourly to bi-hourly at most times of the day, which is very infrequent considering that the ferry is the only direct link between Georgetown and Penang Sentral.

Now, frequency has “improved” to be half-hourly at most times of the day, but this is still slower than the old Penang Port Penang Ferry which ran up to “4 feri” during peak hours, though the departure time is sketchy.

To work with the new, improved speed of harbour crossing, the Penang Fast Ferry should operate at least at 20-minute frequencies with 2 ferries, or 15-minute frequencies with 3 ferries. Otherwise, the new faster travel speed is cancelled out with plenty of resting time at the ports, making the “improvements” redundant or even backward.

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