SeaLink pro­poses ferry ser­vice

Auckland City Harbour News - - NEWS - By SCOTT MORGAN

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.

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