While the Gulf Harbour ferry service looks good on paper, commuters say the figures don’t show the whole story.
A monthly summary provided by Auckland Transport reveals that just one per cent of voyages between Gulf Harbour and Britomart exceeded capacity between February 12 and March 9.
Of the 360 voyages made during this four week period, a further five per cent were cancelled – one for a technical fault and 17 for bad weather.
All cancelled voyages were replaced by a bus service.
Despite what the numbers show, Gulf Harbour commuter Shane Davis says some voyages are “absolutely packed” with people “shoehorned” in – even if they’re not at official capacity.
“What those numbers probably don’t tell you is how full the ferry is – even though people don’t spill over [into a later service]. You sometimes have people sitting in the stairwells,” he said.
With three ferries operating daily, Davis says some boats are more popular than others.
“Everybody lets out a groan if they’ve got to catch the D3 – it’s usually chocka,” he said.
The 149 seater D3 also leaks, Davis says, with water coming through the windows and onto the seats in rain or stormy seas.
“You’ve definitely got to be a bit of a seasoned sailor to be on that thing,” he said.
“You’ve got a lot or people catching that ferry, and a huge number of uni students and professional people.
“The vast majority are trying to get work done on the commute so comfort is a bit of a factor.”
Davis says commuters enjoy the service and don’t begrudge AT for weather cancellations, but would like to see an extra service in place in the afternoon.
“If they could fix those afternoon sailings by putting a bigger ferry on or having an extra service, they’d pretty much fix the problem,” he said.
Auckland Transport is aware of the afternoon rush, James Ireland says.
“AT is aware that the 4.45pm service is especially busy, and we are working closely with the operator to resolve this,” he said.
Gulf Harbour resident and daily ferry commuter Karthiga Kanesha has created a petition and survey about the service, and intends to present her findings to Auckland Transport.
Source: Rodney Times
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