Caption: Celebrating the increase in local ferry services are, from left, AT’s ferry senior account manager, Christine Mudford with Andrea Bevan and Michael Webb-Speight of Fairway Bay.
This week saw the launch of a new timetable for the Gulf Harbour ferry, with daily sailings in and out of Auckland city increasing from four to 12, starting on July 28.
While the new ferry sailings are not a trial, Auckland Transport has made it clear that patronage will be monitored and adjusted according to demand. It will undertake a full review after 12 months, at which time it is possible that sailings could be altered to reflect demand.
Among the residents expected to greet the new sailings with enthusiasm are Gold Card holders, who can travel free on the service after 9am. However, Hibiscus & Bays Local Board members are keen to see large numbers of residents use the service in order to secure its future. Obtaining those additional sailings has required lobbying and lengthy negotiations, as well as investment by Fairway Bay developer Top Harbour.
Parking is a key concern, with chair Julia Parfitt saying that it would be a shame to see the new service throttled by a lack of parking. Parking at the Hammerhead alongside the 360 Discovery terminal is limited and the car park is also popular with campervan travellers especially in summer. The local board has asked Auckland Transport to investigate this issue further.
Consultation on the new ferry timetable drew around 1000 responses – a total of 76 percent indicated they would use the ferry more than they do now. People also asked for weekend ferry sailings and carpooling options, as well as connecting buses.
AT will look at ways to facilitate carpooling for ferry users in the coming months. It says weekend sailings are not an option at present.
Currently the only bus connection is the 999 from Army Bay to Orewa, which meets the 5.30pm sailing, and this is likely to be the case for at least five months – a trial bus service to connect with the ferry from Whangaparaoa Plaza is part of the new network that is being consulted on at present, and that is unlikely to be implemented until early to mid-2015.