Clear demand for weekend ferry rides
Considerable support for a weekend ferry service from Gulf Harbour to Auckland city has been voiced.
The Hibiscus and Bays Local Board and Gulf Harbour developers Fairway Bay joined forces to survey residents on the topic after surprise at Auckland Transport’s view there was no demand for it.
A total of 1200 people responded to the 10-day survey and almost without exception people living all over the Whangaparaoa peninsular indicated enthusiasm for weekend ferries, Fairway Bay development consultant Michael WebbSpeight says.
‘‘There is obvious demand for weekend ferries for multiple reasons which include avoiding traffic, a safe option to get home after enjoying drinks in the city, the cost advantages over driving and simply that taking the ferry is a more enjoyable way to travel,’’ he says.
People also want to use a ferry for major sporting and entertainment events, shopping, family days out and ‘importantly’ to transfer to the airport, WebbSpeight says.
Others want an even greater service linking to Devonport, Pine Harbour, Half Moon Bay and West Harbour.
Others from the far side of the city said they’d use it for weekend getaways to Hibiscus Coast and Gulf Harbour businesses see it as a way to improve tourism and help them thrive.
The survey also polled on sailing time preferences, with 73 per cent choosing 10am from Gulf Harbour on Saturdays, with the most popular return times between 4pm and 6pm. Sunday preferences were for a similar morning sailing time, with desired return times spread throughout the day. Notably, just 21 per cent of survey respondents are regular weekday ferry commuters, Webb-Speight says.
‘‘This shows there is much wider interest for weekend ferry services than just those who use it to get to work and back.’’
Webb-Speight is hopeful the facts emerging from the survey will help Auckland Transport in forming a view on weekend ferries.
‘‘It appears there is clear demand.’’
The results will be presented to AT by Fairway Bay and the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board.
A weekend ferry service would be widely used to get to the city and beyond, and also help bring in dollars for businesses, repsondents said.