SeaLink proposes ferry service
Would a ferry service work on the Manukau Harbour?
Auckland’s second largest ferry company SeaLink is promoting the possibility of services to Onehunga via areas like Weymouth, Clark’s Beach and Laingholm.
It also supports an extension of services in the Waitemata Harbour to areas like Orakei, St Heliers and the North Shore in its submission to Auckland Transport’s draft Regional Transport Plan.
Managing director Todd Bolton says it’s time to have a serious discussion about the future of ferry services in Auckland.
‘‘We’ve had a lot of head nodding and verbal agreement that hasn’t resulted in any further assessment of anything we are proposing.’’
The company provides services to Waiheke from Half Moon Bay and Great Barrier Island from the city, but is considering moving further into the commuter market.
The latest study that looked at providing ferry services in the Manukau Harbour was put together in 2005 by the former Auckland Regional Transport Authority. It suggested there would be limited demand for a service in the harbour and a lack of deep water at high tide was also considered a problem.
However Mr Bolton is sur- prised more work hasn’t been done on the option.
‘‘These places have a sizeable population base and commuter base.’’
He says the railway station at Onehunga could link as a feeder service for commuters working in the city.
Ferry development has begun in other parts of the city like Hobsonville and Beach Haven.
But Mr Bolton says Hobsonville in particular is a developing area, rather than one where ferry services are needed immediately.
‘‘If you put something in at Laingholm or Clark’s Beach, I’m confident you’d get more patronage than at Hobsonville.’’
Mr Bolton admits there is a challenge around building infrastructure like ferry terminals, but says that is also the case with other public transport options like rail and bus services.
Another idea Mr Bolton is promoting is the use of ferries for tourism purposes when they aren’t needed for peak hour travel.
Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan says several submissions noted the draft public transport plan doesn’t adequately address the development of future ferry services.
However an Auckland Transport report on the draft plan doesn’t spell out a clear role for ferries as an integral part of the new public transport network. That’s in part because some major services are provided on a commercial basis, without a contract with Auckland Transport, the report says.
Consultation on the revamped public transport network, which includes a major shakeup of bus routes and timetables, is expected to start in June.
More ferries: SeaLink managing director Todd Bolton would like to see ferry services developed in the Manukau Harbour and expanded further in the Waitemata Harbour.