Some good news for Ferry users with a number of improvements on the way.
New Waiheke Ferries
Fullers are spending $16 million to build two new 360 seat vessels for use on the run to Waiheke. The design will be based on the Te Kotuku which launched just over a year ago and incorporate modifications based on staff and passenger feedback. Combined Fullers say that the three vessels provide standardised and therefore a more consistent level of service. The two new vessels will replace the Jet Raider which is used as a backup and eventually the Quickcat.
Like the Te Kotuku the two new vessels will be built at the Q-West boat builders in Wanganui and are expected to launch in October 2016 and April 2017.
I’m guessing these new vessels are in part to the competition being put on Fullers from Explore Ferries which started running services to Waiheke last year.
More Services to Beachlands
Sealink which operates the ferries to Pine Harbour are currently building a new vessel also at Q-West called the Clipper V – it appears to be an almost identical design to the Clipper IV which is already used on this route.
AT want to use its introduction to increase the number of services to and from the city. They’ve published a proposed new timetable and are seeking feedback from users on it. From what I can see the key changes include a shift to 20 minute frequency services in the morning and afternoon peak from what is mostly 30 minute services. There are also some new evening services on Friday and Saturday nights. Increasing the frequency, capacity and span of service can only be a good thing for patronage and ferry patronage has been growing well recently with annual figures up over 10% on this time last year. Below is a sample of the proposed timetable which they currently anticipate will be implemented in January.
AT are also looking at how to better connect buses through Beachlands and Maraetai and they are also seeking initial feedback on that with a second consultation happening at a later stage.