Auckland’s ferries have hit six million passenger trips in the past year, a milestone last reached in 1959.
After 1959, ferry use dropped off due to the opening of the Auckland Harbour Bridge, changing the way people travel between the North Shore and the city’s isthmus.
There has been consistent growth in ferry patronage of around seven percent over the past year, showing that Aucklanders have confidence in the service provided.
A complete review of ferry facilities is also being conducted over the next six months, this will ensure Auckland Transport can continue to invest in facility improvements so that the network can cater for the growing demand.
A new ferry terminal at Half Moon Bay will be completed early in 2017. This new facility provides better weather protection, better links with buses and will separate ferry passengers from other users of the marina.
AT Metro Ferry Services Manager Gareth Willis says his team has been working hard with the ferry operators over the past 18 months to identify areas for improvement and to deliver improved capacity on key routes.
“The continued use of ferries by Aucklanders shows that it really is one of the best ways to get around Auckland, utilising the natural asset that we have, the Waitemata Harbour.
“The new facility at Half Moon Bay will support the New Network which is already underway. This will enable more travel choices and more convenience for journey planning.”
Auckland Transport is currently working through re-tendering the ferry contracts, which Mr Willis says will result in better vessels and better on-board facilities.
Regular ferry user and Auckland Councillor Chris Darby sees the ferries making a big comeback in Auckland.
Before the Auckland Harbour Bridge was constructed the city’s ferries regularly exceeded 10 million passengers a year.
“We’re coming back to that now, due to the phenomenal demand. It’s an integral service in the overall public transport network, they all work together, as does walking and cycling,” says Mr Darby.