There are many aspects that need to come together for a successful and well used public transport system. Above all else, frequency is the single most important one of these and as the saying goes, Frequency is Freedom. So it’s good to see Auckland Transport proposing to increase the number of ferry services to and from Gulf Harbour.

Good news for residents and visitors to Gulf Harbour, the number of ferry sailings each day between Gulf Harbour and Auckland is increasing to 12.

During peak times sailings will increase from two to three with another two sailings each way in the middle of the day, which should appeal to workers and students alike. There are now shopping and visiting options for those not needing to travel at peak times.

Auckland Transport wants the community to get involved and for people to have their say on the proposed timetable.

Auckland Transport Group Manager Public Transport Services, Mark Lambert says this draft timetable is the result of feedback AT has received about improving services to Gulf Harbour.

“It’s important to get behind these initiatives so that we can further improve public transport options for all Auckland residents.

“We want to hear from both current and potential users if these sailing times are right for them,” says Mr Lambert.

Fairway Bay Development consultant Michael Webb-Speight says “The survey we ran last year showed huge demand for increased ferry services. We are very keen for people to get involved and have their say. These additional sailings will make a huge difference to Whangaparaoa Peninsula commuters working in the CBD.”

As part of the process ferry operator 360 Discovery Cruises will be handing out information flyers to existing ferry passengers, and thousands of questionnaires will be mail dropped over the next week with the objective of canvassing both bus and car commuters.
360 Discovery Cruises Manager, James Bailey, says strong growth in passenger numbers has already been experienced due to increasing congestion on the motorway system. “It’s only 50 minutes by ferry from Gulf Harbour to the city, which is a lot less than the driving time from many suburbs.”

The new timetable could start next month subject to consultation.

Consultation closes Sunday 29 June.

You can see the consultation here.

There are currently only four services a day so increasing that to 12 is a substantial and positive increase. Here are the proposed changes to the timetable

Gulf Harbour Ferry Consultation

The services are still a long way off being frequent – and probably won’t ever be good enough to be part of the Frequent Network but it does seem like a move in the right direction.

AT say that if this change happens it will likely be implemented in July and the changes will be reviewed again after 12 months. They also say they are expecting to consult on the New Network bus routes for the Hibiscus Coast area in July and that it includes improved bus/ferry connections.

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  1. Gulf Harbour Ferry is an excellent way to get to the Whangaparoa Peninsula and very time competitive with driving. This improved frequency will make it much more viable and useful. One step at a time, but we should be aiming to progress towards an hourly all-day service (should be possible with two ferries). Hope to see improved feeder buses too as currently not very good. A far better investment than the Penlink Road. Good work AT!

    1. I guess the ferries are being used as tour boats during the day (based solely on ‘360 Discover Cruise’ name). At least I hope so because if they’re just sitting at the docks they’d have terrible utilisation stats, and the operating costs of any extra sailings can’t be too high.

      1. Commercially, I think it’s more a case that the tour boats are being used as ferries during the quiet times for tourists. It’s just a fortunate stroke of luck that that happens to be peak time for commuters.

  2. Good step in the right direction – now will actually be able to go and visit friends out there during the day! Some more weekend ferries would be nice as well.

  3. Given the amount of expertise in Auckland being used for the design of the next Americas Cup,
    why can’t we spend some time & cash in the design of a Ground Effect Ferry.
    The long run out to Gulf Harbour into Auckland would be ideal for such hybrid vehicle, with much faster turn around travel time.

    WIG – Wing in Ground Effect

    A study on performance of planing-wing hybrid craft, page 16.

    1. I don’t know if this blog is really the best place to pitch your business ideas? Try some venture capitalists, or something.

  4. If people are prepared to pay those kind of prices and it can run without subsidy then that’s great. Just out of curiosity, how does the ferry to the city compare time/price wise to peak hoe buses? I must try that service when I’m next in Auckland

  5. Would be interesting to see the subsidy increase for this. At $25.00 adult return it might be a nice day out for casuals but not a regular for most locals. The monthly is $190.00 for bus compared to $234.00 for the ferry. Unless a property developer is funding this as hinted in the local newspaper then I can’t see this being value for the ratepayer.
    The extension of the Northern Express to Silverdale would be a better use of funding.

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