GETTING to Bintan just got faster and more comfortable. And those willing to pay a bit more will get airline-style business class treatment too.
Two new ferries will cut travelling time between Singapore and the Indonesian resort island by at least 15 minutes, making the trip from the Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal in 45 minutes.
The two ferries, which cost $31 million, are also equipped with the latest technology to stabilise them, making the ride smoother and more comfortable, even in the choppiest seas.
For passengers, the good news is that the ticket price for the ferry service remains the same. An adult who buys a Singapore-Bintan-Singapore ticket over the counter will pay $63.20 during peak period and $52.20 when it is off-peak.
Passengers who pony up an additional $36 for return will enjoy the ferries' new 'business class', which comes with bigger seats, complimentary drinks and access to an open deck for fresh air and that wind-in-your-hair experience.
'Emerald Class' passengers also get personalised immigration clearance in their own dedicated lounge and fuss-free luggage collection.
Programmes manager Amaranta Lim, 31, who came back here on the new ferry earlier this month, found the new vessel cleaner and more spacious and the ride, definitely smoother.
For $36 extra, she said she would certainly give the new business class a try. 'During school holidays, it can get quite noisy and tiring to queue up for immigration with all the families and kids. So, I don't mind paying a bit more for more comfort.'
The boats have been named Wan Sendari, after the wife of the legendary founder of Singapore Sang Nila Utama, and Wan Seri Beni, after the legendary Queen of the Riau Islands.
The improved ferry service is part of a 10-year masterplan to boost transport links to Bintan and part of the push to turn northern Bintan into a suburb for Singaporeans to live and play.