The Rapid Ferry is a roll-on/roll-off car and passenger ferry linking the multimodal transport hub of Penang Sentral at Butterworth on the mainland to the island of Penang at Georgetown. As the walkway from Butterworth Railway Station to the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal is currently closed to facilitate the construction of the link to the upcoming Penang Sentral building, all passengers must use the free Penang Ferry Shuttle Bus to travel between Butterworth Railway Station and Sultan Abdul Halim Jetty in both directions.
Follow the signs from the shelter opposite Butterworth Railway Station to get to the Penang Sentral Temporary Transport Terminal.
The free Penang Ferry Shuttle Bus will be at the first berth on the right at the Penang Sentral Temporary Transport Terminal. Look out for the big red sign for directions to the ferry.
The bus’ electronic destination signage may or may not reflect the service as the free Penang Ferry Shuttle Bus. However, there will be a piece of paper in front stating “Shuttle Ferry”. If in doubt, ask the Rapid Penang driver standing in front of the bus.
The interior of the typical rapidPenang bus.
The journey to the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal takes a new shorter route which passes by the upcoming Penang Sentral building.
The upcoming Penang Sentral building facade.
Turning into the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal.
The bus stops at the foot of the ramp up towards the ticketing booth and waiting hall.
If you are travelling in the reverse direction towards Penang Sentral, this is the same waiting point for the free shuttle bus there.
Walk straight ahead to the ticket counter.
Purchase your ticket at the counter.
The Pedestrian Fares for the Rapid Ferry are as follows:
|Season Ticket (unlimited trips for 2 months)|
|Students (below 21 years old)||RM6|
My RM1.20 ticket for the Rapid Ferry journey to Penang Island.
Unlike its namesake, the waiting time for the Rapid Ferry is approximately 30 minutes (“3 ferry”) with the journey taking approximately 30 minutes. During off peak periods, the waiting time will be approximately once per hour (“1 ferry”).
Scan the QR code on the ticket at the ticket gates.
Wait at the waiting hall for the ferry, as usual.
There is a new display screen in the waiting area under maintenance. Hopefully this will provide more accurate arrival or departure times of the next ferry instead of just telling you that there are currently x number of ferries serving the route.
Boarding the Rapid Ferry.
An approaching Rapid Ferry backlit by the sunset over Penang Island. This ferry will go off service from here, thus reducing the frequency to “2 ferry”.
Departing from the Sultan Abdul Halim Ferry Terminal together, with the Pulau Pinang heading back to rest.
The repainted ferries with the new Rapid Ferry colour scheme.
The sunset over Penang Island.
Approaching the Raja Tun Uda Ferry Terminal on Penang Island.
Disembarking from the Rapid Ferry.
Overall, the Rapid Ferry offers a good connection between Butterworth and Georgetown, but with the reduced frequency of “3 ferry” during the day and “1 ferry” during the night, the waiting time should you miss one can be up to 30 minutes during the day or one hour during the night, which is longer than the time taken to get across the harbour. With the upcoming opening of Penang Sentral, there will be an even higher demand for connections to the island via the Rapid Ferry since it’s located just beside the building, so hopefully Rapid Ferry will increase their services soon after the takeover by Prasarana is finalized as the current situation is nowhere near “rapid”.