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More Ferries To Help Relieve Congestion: Strategy

“More Ferries To Help Relieve Congestion: Strategy”

5 October 2000

The draft Auckland Regional Ferry Strategy, presented to the Auckland Regional Council Transport Committee today aims to get more harbour ferries to connect outer suburbs with central Auckland over the next few years.

“Ferries are a popular choice for commuters who can access them. This strategy has evaluated 16 potential sites and prioritised them according to key criteria,” said Councillor Les Paterson, chairman of the ARC Transport Committee.

Key criteria included comparative travel time, by water or road, to Auckland city; current and future patronage potential from the local area; environmental, safety and social factors; and the costs of infrastructure and potential for developments at the site.

The top four priority sites, which will be the focus for further investigation are North Shore’s Beach Haven, Island Bay and Browns Bay, and West Auckland’s West Harbour. Second priority sites are at Takapuna, Te Atatu and Hobsonville. Third priority sites are at Howick, St Heliers and Beachlands. Other sites considered were at Panmure, Bucklands Beach, Howick, Hobsonville, Greenhithe, Milford, Murrays Bay and Chelsea.

“Local communities will be interested in this strategy. Some people are keen to see services start soon, while others are concerned about the effect developments may have in their communities and local environment,” said Councillor Paterson.

“Our message is: don’t expect the services to happen overnight, but do expect them to happen. This is the first step. Like all public transport infrastructure, there is a lot of money involved in planning and building wharves and buying ferries, and we intend to get it right.”

“Likewise, for those who have concerns with the strategy’s recommendations, now is the time to come forward and voice them. At the end of the day, any new development has to fit with the proposed Regional Coastal Plan, the Regional Land Transport Strategy and local authority district plans, which take into account environmental and social impacts,” said Cr Paterson.

The aim of the strategy is to find ways that ferries can assist in relieving Auckland’s road congestion problems by providing viable, attractive passenger transport alternatives for significant numbers of commuters. Ferries to Auckland’s Hauraki Gulf islands are not a part of this strategy.

In May the ARC launched a new ferry service from Half Moon Bay to Auckland, which had been developed over the past five years. “The service has been very popular, with about 3,000 people using it each week. I catch it regularly myself,” said Cr Paterson.

“Ferries are never going to have a major role in solving Auckland’s transport problems, but they are supplementary and attractive options and the region is pursuing the best strategic options to get more ferries on the water.

“Ferries are carrying more than 2 and half million passengers around the harbour each year currently, and there is significant potential to increase these figures.”

The Strategy also contains a raft of recommendations to the Transport Committee relating to improving existing ferry services, and to strategic planning for ferry services in general.

In the next few months, the ARC will be gathering feedback from local communities, before doing detailed research into current and future potential patronage, gathering detailed cost estimates of infrastructure and vessels and investigating environmental effects of specific areas.

- END -

For further information please call: Councillor Les Paterson, phone 366 2000 x 8555

Copies of the strategy are available from:
Alison Rust, senior transport planner, 366 2000 x 7157,
or Jo Mackay, community relations adviser, 366 2000 x 8041.

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