TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – As the travel industry is gearing up for Penghu’s upcoming peak tourist season, the highly popular Budai (Chiayi) – Penghu ferry route will get a dramatic upgrade this year with the addition of “Rikulau” and “Blue Magpie” to regular route service, United Daily News (UDN) reported on Tuesday.
Rikulau’s maiden voyage on the Budai – Penghu route is scheduled to take place in the morning of March 23, UDN reported. The new ferry will sail from Budai Port and arrive at Magong Port an hour later.
The brand-new passenger ferries, Rikulau and Blue Magpie, custom built by Australian shipbuilder Austal for the Pescadores Ferry Co. (百麗航運), are set to replace the 36.3m-long, 198-ton, 180-passenger “Pescadores.” These two new ferries will be able to better handle the expected future demand, according to UDN.
When inaugurated on March 22, Rikulau, the new 50m-long, 899-ton, 550-passenger ferry, will be the largest-capacity ferry on the Budai – Penghu route, according to the Budai Branch Office, Taiwan International Ports Corporation.
“Over the past 3 years (2016-2018), the number of ferries regularly plying the Budai – Penghu route has risen to nine. Looking to continuously improve service quality, ferry operators are continuing to purchase new vessels for this route,” the Budai Branch Office said. “It is hoped that these larger, faster ferries will pave the way forward to even larger passenger numbers and provide greater choice to vacationers.”