Penang Port Commission (PPC) chairman Tan Cheng Liang said the project was approved by Prime Minister Datuk Seri Najib Tun Razak at the Northern Corridor Economic Region (NCER) council meeting recently.
She said the PPC, which mooted the idea, had identified 10 proposed coastal points for the service.
She said the sites on the mainland are Butterworth, Bagan Ajam, Pulau Aman and Nibong Tebal, and Weld Quay, Tanjung Bunga, Teluk Bahang, Tanjung Tokong, Pantai Jerejak and Batu Maung on the island.
Tan said the water taxis will greatly help to reduce travelling time between various places in the state.
“For example, it will take more than two hours for the public to travel from Bagan Ajam in Butterworth to Batu Ferringhi on Penang island as they will have to take a ferry and then a bus.
“But with the water taxis, it will only take them about 30 minutes,” she said at a press conference here yesterday.
Tan said the service would be useful for those staying in Seberang Prai but working in Bayan Lepas factories or Batu Ferringhi hotels.
“It will also ease traffic congestion on the island and be an alternative mode of transport when there are traffic snarls on Penang Bridge.
“The service will provide new job opportunities and spur the tourism industry,” she said.
Tan said the service would be implemented by the Northern Corridor Implementation Agency (NCIA) under the Ninth Malaysia Plan.
“The Federal Government has allocated RM50mil for the state water transportation services,” she said.
She said a consultant would be engaged to carry out a study on the project feasibility, the popularity of the routes and geographical impact.
“The consultant will take about three to four months to conduct the study,” she added.
NCIA senior vice-president Christopher Tan Chie Kiong said the final cost of the project could not be determined prior to the study.
“NCIA is expected to appoint a consultant by next month to commission the study but while waiting for it to be completed, we want to identify opportunities for pilot services with the existing infrastructure,” he said.
Source : STAR
[tags : malaysiahotelnews hotels malaysia resorts news travel tourism travel tourism news]