As part of Len Brown’s announcements yesterday on his vision to increase public transport patronage to 150 million trips a year by 2021, there was quite a lot said about improving the ferry network. Here’s what was included in this article from Stuff in terms of improvements proposed to the ferry system:
His plan for ferries is an ambitious one. He would like to see services running to Hobsonville in the west, Upper Harbour, Mairangi Bay, Takapuna in the North and Beachlands-Maraetai in the East.
Currently ferries run to Devonport, Waiheke Island, Rangitoto Island, Bayswater, Birkenhead, Stanley Bay, Motutapu and Northcote Point.
He said places such as Half Moon Bay, Stanley Point and Bayswater all needed major upgrades to keep up with the growing demand.
”I am very focussed on ferry usage. We are the City of Sails. We are a city that has got three harbours and two great coastlines and so much of our city is built around those waterways. And we shut down those ferries to a large extent when we put the harbour bridge across, but I want us to genuinely lift our ferry use.
”If you are a shoreite and you are going up and down Lake Rd every morning, you don’t want to face that, so we have got to provide the alternatives.”
That’s not actually an exhaustive list of current ferry routes. Ferries also operate to West Harbour, Gulf Harbour and Pine Harbour (perhaps having “harbour” in the name of the place helps?) Furthermore, plans have long been in place to operate a Hobsonville ferry – once Hobsonville Point starts developing over the next year or two. That could quite easily link into a Beach Haven service, which has also previously been mentioned. This would leave Takapuna and Mairangi Bay as the two “truly new” services proposed. This is shown below: red being existing routes, green those in planning already and blue being routes not previously planned for:The obvious strength of ferries is that they operate completely independently of the road network, so therefore are excellent at reducing congestion. Secondly, they can often link areas together in a far shor terdistance than would otherwise be possible: Devonport to the city being the classic example, but also probably Half Moon Bay to the city (and between Hobsonville and Beach Haven in the future). The weakness of ferries is that they tend to be very “point to point” – offering very limited catchments unless they are well supported by feeder buses or other connecting services. Because they are, by necessity, on the coast, generally the catchment of ferry terminals is further reduced.
I guess to cut a long-story short, perhaps the best thing you could do to improve the ferry system is actually focus on what happens on land – improving the feeder bus system. Include ferries in the integrated ticketing system (I keep hearing vicious rumours they will be left out), get the feeder buses providing convenient and well time connections to the ferries and ‘open up’ their catchments to something much larger.
I also think the merits of a Takapuna ferry service might be rather doubtful. The trip by bus seems a lot shorter.