Clear de­mand for week­end ferry rides

Rodney Times - - OUT & ABOUT - STAFF RE­PORTERS

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.

JAY BOREHAM

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.

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