KUCHING: The Darul Hana Bridge is indeed a sight to behold in the city centre, but it comes with a cost to the quintessential ‘pak tambangs’ (boat operators) who now operate in its shadow.
Rohadi Peri, 60, has been ferrying passengers from one side of the Sarawak River to the other for the last 45 years.
Now plying his traditional trade between Pangkalan Sapi and Kuching Waterfront, Rohadi and his fellow ‘pak tambangs’ are seeing their daily take and livelihood slip from their fingers.
Speaking to The Borneo Post yesterday, he said his daily passenger average had dropped from 50 to fewer than 20 between his operating hours of 6.30am to 8pm.
Rohadi, who hails from Kampung Niup in Kota Samarahan, added that the 50 sen fare per passenger was not enough to cover his cost and wage, to begin with.
He hopes that someone will create a middle ground solution or some form of assistance for the existing ‘pak tambangs’ so that these traditional boats will continue to be a touch of old Kuching charm on the river for a long time to come.