On a post about Auckland’s planned rapid transit network a while ago, one reader asked the question of why we don’t plan more ferry services:

We have a nice big harbour with good access from the North Shore and East Auckland. The base infrastructure is already there yet we rarely talk about ferry services and utilising the harbour as a source of transport. When we talk about low hanging fruit I’d have thought ferry services would be near the top of that list.

This is indeed an good question, it seems obvious that a city build around harbours with so many harbour side suburbs should have more ferries. After all they are fast point to point, don’t suffer from congestion, and who doesn’t like going on a boat ride?

Unfortunately, the economics of ferries aren’t favorable to running them everywhere.

The reason we don’t pick more low hanging ferry fruit, is because we already have already picked the low hanging ferry fruit. The routes that would work well already operate as ferries, while the routes that don’t, won’t. There may be some opportunity to double down on the ones that perform well, but adding new ferry routes is usually very expensive for little real gain.

The problem? Ferries suffer a triple whammy of :

  1. being expensive to buy boats and build wharves.
  2. being expensive to run day to day, and very expensive to run frequently all day.
  3. having intrinsically bad coverage and catchment.

Ferry boats cost several million dollars, and even the most basic wharf can cost a few million. Then the boats use a lot of fuel with big engines, and often require several staff in addition to the pilot. So to get a new ferry service going you need to invest millions up front in wharves and fleet, and commit to hundreds of dollars an hour in running costs. And that is just to get a basic start with one or two sailings a day. If you want decent frequency then your operating costs grow hugely. To do a single sailing inbound in the morning requires a whole boat and crew, just for one run. If you wanted to do four sailings over the peak to give a decent half hourly frequency, you’d need up to four boats, with four crews on the payroll, depending on the the turnaround time.

Then you’re not likely to get that many customers, despite the high costs to run the service. Consider the catchment, which is the potential market a new ferry might serve. A simple bus route might stop fifteen or twenty times in the middle of dense suburban and urban areas. However a ferry line has one, maybe two stops. To make matters worse these are almost always out on long wharf or promontory with half the catchment in the water. One stop with half the catchment of a simple bus stop! It’s a bit like building a whole railway line just for one train station at the end.

But it’s not all bad news, there are a few that work very well: Devonport, Waiheke, Pine Harbour, Half Moon Bay. But these are places where there is little or no alternative and they do rely on two-way travel, elaborate bus connections and park and ride to furnish customers. For the rest of the ferry routes in Auckland the patronage is almost insignificant, similar to our worst bus routes, and the subsidy per trip must be well into the double figures.

So what can be done? Well if we look at that list of all the difficulties ferries have, we can turn it around into opportunities for improvement.

Smaller, cheaper and more fuel efficient boats might be a good place to start, particularly ones that can be operated by just one person like a bus is. Some of the newer ferry lines in Auckland run small boats with small crews and I imagine they are much more efficient as a result. There is a little bit of a catch here. For safety reasons maritime law limits any ferry with only one crew to just 49 passengers, less than a bus. With two crew on board you can have up to 99 passengers, about the same as a double decker. So there might be a sweet spot with small efficient boats with two crew and up to 99 passengers.

With smaller more nimble boats we might get away with smaller wharves that don’t need to go as far out into deep water. Shorter floating pontoon jetties might do the trick, although one does wonder how they’ll hold up in rough weather. This might be a case where things are cheaper to build and run… but the line ends up being cancelled a couple of times a month when the weather is stormy. If you regularly have to supply replacement buses to relieve cancelled ferries you might as well just run the buses!

So small, efficient boats on compact wharves might help the cost side of things, but what about the patronage side? How do you get more paying customers? For that I think you need two things. Firstly you need better service frequencies. Nobody is ever comfortable relying on just one sailing a day, miss that and you’re screwed. Likewise if the timetable doesn’t give you the flexibility to stay late at work or hang around longer to go to the gym, or meet a friend for a drink or whatever it is people do with themselves, then you’re unlikely to rely on it day to day. Secondly you need to serve more potential trips. Part of that is in the temporal dimension, using those better service frequencies to serve students, shoppers and sight seers as well as commuters. But part of it is in the spatial dimension, having ferries that link more places. That suggests ferry lines that serve a series of stops rather than just going point to point, making them more like a train line with several stations along the way.

With that I idea in mind I had a little play around with the idea of stringing the upper harbour ferries into one route with four stops, rather than two routes with two stops each. So instead of one ferry line serving Hobsonville and Beach Haven, and a second one that serves Northcote Point and Birkenhead, which if we just had one line that does Hobsonville – Beach Haven – Birkenhead – Northcote Point – Downtown? Given the Hobsonville boats run out past Birkenhead anyway, do we need them doubling up on the inner harbour?

Interesting thing is that the Hobsonville ferry has such poor service levels, it does one run inbound, one return run and one outbound in the morning. In the afternoon it does the same but gets an extra return run in. Basically five return trips a day. And as it’s so peaky, in terms of useful journeys it’s really just two trips in in the morning and three back in the afternoon.

I worked out if you were to take those Hobsonville boats and crews and and throw them in as an extension of the Birkenhead runs, you would be able to get in an extra two return trips a day… with the same hours and service-kms. For Hobsonville and Beach Haven that is a 40% increase in service delivery each day, an extra run each way in the morning and another in the evening. Pretty sweet, but what is the cost? Well there is no financial cost, the only real cost is an extra 5-6 minutes to stop at Birkenhead and Northcote Point, taking the run time from 35 minutes up to 41 from Hobsonville and Beach Haven. There would be no change in the time or the route for people at Birkenhead or Northcote wharves, they would still get dropped off first and picked up last as they do now and they would still have all the other sailings across the day. Having said that, they would get a new benefit from the ability to catch their ferry the other way up to Hobsonville. That could start to be a significant benefit once the proposed dining and entertainment precinct is developed around the wharf

So a very interesting trade off that; would the people of Hobsonville and Beach Haven be willing to sacrifice 6 minutes on the run time of all their ferry trips to add an extra sailing inbound in the morning and another outbound in the evening?

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  1. As a regular user of the Birkenhead ferry, I cannot believe the numbers you state for added journey time with the extra stops. Northcote is a difficult wharf and I’ve known inexperienced (on that route) crews take 10 minutes on that stop alone. Beach Haven wharf also experiences strong currents during mid tidal flow so I can imagine similar difficulties there at times. If the crew manages to keep to the timetables at all, it’s by increasing their speed in between stops, increasing fuel costs and pollution.

    One of the great features of the ferry service is that it can act as a range extender for cyclists. The downside is that almost all the boats in service (Kea is well equipped) are terrible to use as a cyclist. There’s no way to store bikes without damage and every docking procedure involves a complicated dance to try and clear the way for deck crew. Surely a low hanging fruit is to make sure that new boats cater better for cyclists, and especially heavy e-bikes that are becoming ever more popular.

    Personally, I can’t wait for SkyPath to be free of the shackles of the ferry timetable and the risk cancelled return services in bad weather.

    1. I made that estimate based on the timetable information for intermediate stops, i.e. Northcote Point and Bayswater on the weekends. Of course that’s not to say the timetables are correct, they tend to be ‘best case scenario’ with longer delays in reality.

      Agree with you on the the type of boats, both for ease of using cycle and general docking/boading time in general. In Copenhagen they use ferries where the bow is a flat ramp, the captain simply nudges the boat into the wharf and drops the ramps using gentle thrust to keep the gap closed. People can deboard within seconds, no ropes or pulling up alongside. Cyclists ride straight off the boat.

      Copenhagen harbour is pretty gentle sea however, our harbour can get a lot lumpier!

      1. Same for Amsterdam to Noord (and the ferry is free and runs 24 hours a day) – load on the one end and get off the other, boat never turns around.

    2. excellent comments on cycles

      the ferries need to re think how they deal with cycles. at the moment their plan is NO plan.

      Auckland needs to get serious about cycles (as alternative transport to cars) and needs to allow them across the bridge.


  2. Personally wouldn’t mind the extra time… though it’s already struggling to compete with the buses to Beachhaven. Not sure about how it compares over at Hobsonville. If you were to go down this route though you could add a stop at Island bay to increase catchment (no idea if wharf is already far enough out for the ferries…) and trade off another few minutes.

  3. Reading this on the Hobsonville Point Ferry. I like the thinking, but it may be more suitable as a way to enhance the number of off peak trips.
    Our ferry is full or close to full during peak trips so stopping at other places extra passengers wouldn’t be able to get on… and the trip time is actually closer to 25min than 35 in the timetables, so a 6-8 min penalty is a significant hit to travel times.

    1. I agree that it could work for out of hours. And anything that gets the Beach Haven / Hobsonville route open at the weekend would be great. The downside being that the weekend Birkenhead ferry also incorporates Bayswater, which is a significant diversion.

  4. LOW hanging fruit please if I can add a few ideas to this related. The NorthCoat Point access could be dramatically improved for bicycle riders coming along from a ‘bike Lane down the side of the northern motorway’ or similar with the idea the Northcoat Ferry takes bike riders the last distance from Norhcoate to the city. Ask the Greens to take NZTA to court of human rights access for habour crossing legally needs to allow ‘walkers and bike riders as it restricts part of a city to really those with money’? people who want to take abike across the harbour but are restricted. And ask NTZA to fund operation of Northshore Ferry’s to allow bikes to use them for a massive discount (Ideally free for bike users from Northcoate to the CBD)

    1. Sounds a bit like SeaPath, although that will only be from Akoranga Dr. And of course, the idea of that is to link to SkyPath, which will probably replace the Northcote Point ferry for a lot of cyclists. But it could also add a lot of cyclists and pedestrians at the weekends when people are using Skypath as a sightseeing trip.

        1. Wouldn’t it be better if the Council or NZTA just paid for it upfront, rather than going through the PPP circus?

        2. I wonder how much Slater got paid for that load of garbage?
          Next will be: The Southern Motorway – will it ever make money?

  5. Out of this blog’s scope I know, but I’m puzzled by the Coromandel ferry, which from memory arrives around 10.30 am and then anchors in the harbour until about 4.00 pm before starting its return trip to Auckland at 4.30.

    Since they’re paying the 3 crew anyway I’d have thought the marginal cost of running a second return trip would be minimal and would provide a much more useful service for passengers to Orapiu, Rotoroa and Coromandel.

    1. The service struggles to maintain two sailings a week in winter as things stand. I can’t see doubling the service level being a smart idea unless things pick up a bit.

    2. The Coromandel Ferry departs at 3:30pm weekdays October – April. The entire journey takes 135 minutes … longer if there is a large group to drop off at Rotoroa so as it stands with a 3:30pm departure, there would not be time to run back to Auckland and use up another $500 worth of fuel.

  6. And then there are the days when I get “FULLERS ALERT: Due to a cruise ship berthing in the ferry basin, there may be a slight delay to the 0700 service from Birkenhead and Northcote Point. We apologize for the inconvenience….” – and ferries were supposed to be on the “congestion free network”… hmmm…

  7. Expensive to operate maybe, but they charge higher fares and somehow achieve an 80% farebox recovery. I’d like to see a level playing field where the “standard” 50% recovery rate was applied and we had a mode-neutral PT fare structure. How about ferry fares are held at present levels or even reduced slightly every year so that any patronage shocks will be gradual? And if Fullers don’t want to play ball with their commercial services then AT should do it anyway and shame them into submission. As a congestion-buster ferries are without peer and deserve much more attention.

    1. On average maybe, but that is only because of the two main commercial routes being over 100% cost recovery. All the other ferry routes, including the one in question and any new ones, would be far below 50%.

      Even if you did level the playing field, any ferry service improvements or new routes would have to achieve that 50%. I think that is unlikely without a paradigm shift in how the less busy local ferry routes are operated.

  8. Casual HP ferry user. I like the concept, but you’ll need two boats (unclear from your post?) to make it work because:

    1. Capacity – Discovery 2 vessel is already at capacity (80 seats – so already “small”). Once Winter arrives it’ll be too cold to sit on the upper (exposed) deck, so there won’t be enough seats on the main deck. There’s no room for Birkenhead and Northcote passengers with a “small” ferry. Plus HP is expanding rapidly and patronage is increasing. Build it and they will come.

    2. Timing – adding 6 minutes to the one-way journey adds up on the return. Currently the two sailings leave HP at 6:55 and 8:00. The first sailing is already early, and the later sailing conveniently arrives in town by 8:30. The new sailing times will have to leave earlier AND later to cope with the extra stops. Hence you’ll need a second vessel to run between those slots. Otherwise it’s crazy to have one vessel and crew doing one extra run. So that’s 8 or 9 sailings a day, but I think there’s enough patronage to cope.

    North Harbour News ran a story on commuter’s feedback on the HP ferry last week: http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/north-harbour-news/91627988/commuters-love-their-ferry-but-want-more-and-better-times

    1. Yes that is the case for Hobsonville, it’s a case of combining the fleet for both lines into one line so you do get more boats calling at Hobsonville. Effectively because you are stopping the hobsonville run at Birkenhead twice in the morning, you can use the boat that used to do those two runs to add on an extra Hobsonville departure.

      This provides additional capacity as you are adding a third peak run, so a 50% increase. It’s slightly better utilisation overall too, so there is a net increase in capacity across all the wharves in total. Nonetheless you still have the risk that the Hobsonville runs are all full before getting to Birkenhead, but there are still the Birkenhead only runs in between too.

      Bear in mind I’m talking about a cost-neutral, fleet-neutral option using only the existing resources here. If we want to buy more boats and pay more crew we can do plenty of things.

      On two, not necessarily. You could simply add in the extra sailing at 7:30, but if you do want the 8:00 to still arrive by 8:30 you’d have to pull it forward five minutes or so.

  9. Agree with other posters that say Hobsonville/Beach Haven service should be direct peak but ok to go via Birkenhead/Northcote offpeak.
    How busy are the Birkenhead/Northcote routes?
    Might for example make more sense to have the stopover be at Northcote but not Birkenhead if Birkenhead is busy enough by itself? Also Hobsonville-Birkenhead isn’t too hard since there is a bus route with little congestion between Beach Haven and Birkenhead.

    1. The first ferry (leaves Birkenhead at 6:35) only has about 20 passengers on it (including the 3 -5 picked up at Northcote Point). The 7AM is quite a bit busier, the 7:30 and 8:05 sailings are pretty full when the usual TigerCat / HarbourCat boats are running, which I think have capacity for 148. After that, patronage tails off again, as does the frequency.

    2. Ok sure, but there aren’t any Hobsonville ferries off peak so there is nothing to optimise, no way to free up a boat.

      You only get that extra run for free if you do it at peak times. Otherwise you’re just suggesting the pay more opex to extend Birkenhead boats to Hobsonville in the middle of the day. Which is fine, but it’s not a cost-neutral trade off, thats just buying more service when you want it.

  10. I love ferries; would be a great way to get to work. The right boat is very important for another reason, too. There is one incredibly noisy ferry that must be creating noise pollution in a large part of the inner harbour. I’m not close the sea in Pt Chevalier, but have been kept awake and disturbed by a regular ferry that is obviously going too fast for its engine, or something. Here’s it’s more noisy than the train, the motorway, the harbour bridge, the local roads.

  11. I have always suspected that Auckland’s high rise and fall of tide makes the cost of providing ferry wharf facilities much more expensive than the cost, in say, Baltic cities. And passenger embarkation in these cities is correspondingly easier.

        1. It’s about 3m during spring tides and 1.5m during neap tides, although there may be some localised variations that are greater.

          NZ doesn’t have large tidal variations by world standards.

        2. Wharves have to be built for the maximum tidal range plus added height for inclement weather not to some lesser amount or they will be unusable for significant periods.
          This would effectively require a height of at least 5m above king low tide level. Add in an allowance for global warming (1m was added to the new wharf at Matiatia for this), the maximum slope allowed and the gangways are getting longer and more expensive.

        3. Don – you are correct. However, this also applies to anywhere in the world, and the point was NZ has a relatively small tidal range compared with many other parts of the world.

    1. Warren, no, basically anywhere on the sea has to have a floating pontoon to embark / disembark, so the cost is exactly the same. You just have to have a longer gangway if the tide is higher. Incidentally: Bay of Fundy in Canada has the highest tide range in the world – up to 49 feet if I remember correctly – but you can still see marinas in both Digby and St John (either side of the Bay) so maybe they have a ferry service even there – its a loooong way round.

      And that is the key to ferry success – if there isn’t a valid road alternative, then the ferry wins. Sydney has great ferry services because some areas are just too convoluted to get to the CBD, and Istanbul has great ferries across the Bosphorus because the bridge is impossibly crammed. So – if we build more roads, we have less ferries.

      1. Guy, I have been to Digby and realised that our tide extremes were no where near as great as they have. Nevertheless by the comments I have well over-estimated the difficulties on the Waitemata. Point taken.

        1. Given that the Digby – St John is a vehicular ferry it doesn’t fit the discussion here anyway.

        2. My apologies Don, didn’t mean to upset you by going off-topic (sorry, I have a habit of doing that). Although, it does take humans as well as vehicles ($57 round trip for an adult off-season, kids under 5 go free!). But the point I was trying to make was that despite a larger tidal range over there, a ferry service can still be offered no matter what the tidal height.

          In Auckland, our harbour is limited in terms of extra stops. It’s nowhere near as convoluted as Sydney Harbour, which with the Paramatta River disgorging in there, has about 40 different headlands and bays, while poor old Waitemata Harbour has about 14 at most. Probably explains a lot. Te Atatu peninsula is an option waiting for a ferry, perhaps?

          The other thing, which I’m surprised none has mentioned, is competition. Fullers had some brief competition for a while on the Waiheke run, but they killed that off pronto. You’ll get more ferries and better prices if Fullers can be toppled off their monopoly.

  12. Can’t all these issues be simply resolved by using driverless hovercraft instead? Simple to dock at wharfs, no issues with currents. We need to look at using modern solutions instead of technology from 820th century BC.

    1. I think driverless boats are probably further away than driverless cars, with the plethora of kayaks, swimmers, yachts out in the harbour on a fine day.

      Also safety requirements generally require a certain number of crew, which would mean staff would have to be on board even if the vessel didn’t require a skipper.

    2. You are joking right?
      Hovercraft are a dead end tech, the fuel consumption just for keeping them elevated is horrendous.

    3. Driverless hovercraft…! Hard enough to steer the buggers anyway, without them wafting off course. I used to take the hovercraft down the Thames a few years ago (ok, a couple of decades ago) – owned by Olympia and York, the developers of Canary Wharf, and it was a remarkably smooth and swift trip from Docklands to the centre of the city. Also took the hovercraft across the Channel to France – much faster than the ferries, but these things are thirsty as a lizard drinking. Massively massively inefficient at fuel use.

      1. Not to mention the noise and vibration! Used to take cross-channel hovercrafts prior to the introduction of the incredibly, wonderfully, comfortable and reliable Eurostar and I’d be vibrating and deaf for hours afterwards.

        1. Exactly. Hovercrafts, along with ferries, suffer from a fraction too much friction… 🙂

  13. Catchment at Birkenhead and Northvote point is poor and the Unitary Plan locks in the relatively low density of these areas. Development in Highbury and Northcote Central will be served by buses. So you are never going to get much patronage increase there. I would have thought Hobsonville Point could have quite a bit of potential once developed though. Also the sugar refinery is zoned for up to 18 storeys I think so it could provide a significant catchment once developed. Maybe if the government gave up its munitions dump that could be a redevelopment area too.

    Overall the plan sounds good to me, but it would mean emphasis needs to be put on boats and facilities that enable fast turn arounds. The otger option would be ro develop a safety case for fewer staff. I would have thought inner harbour ferries in constant contact with multiple other vessels would be a lot safer than the regulators had in mind when they set those limits.

    1. Things can go bad quickly at sea. When a bus catches fire, everyone disembarks and watches it burn, at sea you need people who now how to deploy liferafts quickly.

    2. The New Zealand Navy has oddly enough, protected much of the natural habitat of Kauri Point for decades by storing ammunitions there. Should they ever leave and take their armaments elsewhere (yes please), the only purpose this land should be used for is protected, green open space with designated reserve status, administered by DOC for unfettered use by amongst others, inhabitants of intensification in urban centres.

  14. Liking the multi stop route for the network benefits. If the journey’s too slow, blame the vehicle not the extra stops. Use hydrofoils instead – providing surf to the upper harbour would be a great side benefit

  15. I wonder if perhaps Hobsonville-Beach Haven (and possibly even Herald Island) could all be serviced by a much smaller simple ferry just going back and forth with good bike facilities etc on it and then just have one of them serviced by a ferry to Auckland (peak), and Northcote/Birkenhead (offpeak).

  16. We need to think about ways to improve loading and unloading times. As well what transport devices can be carried. At present these range from skateboards to walkers, wheelchairs and e bikes. But what about mobility scooters, e scooters and even vehicles such as those used by the posties.
    The ATAP calls for a 10min frequency Devonport service. This is going to need new docking and perhaps a move to the East side of Queen’s wharf to avoid the congestion in the ferry basin. Still probably cheaper than a major investment in Lake Rd.

    1. I couldn’t agree more.
      Fullers as the owners of the majority of the ferries in Auckland has no standard system of ramps etc across its fleet. Alternate ferries to Waiheke use different methods resulting in the dragging of a ramp to, or from, the ferry. All rather inefficient and at times not terribly safe.

  17. “It’s a bit like building a whole railway line just for one train station at the end” – You mean like the Manukau Branch?
    Can be totally appropriate in the right circumstances, so misleading to use as a general similie for something-to-be-avoided.

    1. ““It’s a bit like building a whole railway line just for one train station at the end” – You mean like the Manukau Branch?”

      Wasn’t aware that the trains on that line only served the one station at each end. I must have imagined all of the intermediate stops.

    2. I don’t think you’ve thought that one through Dave.
      Matiatia – Auckland.
      Manukau -Puhinui-Papatoetoe-Middlemore-Otahuhu-Sylvia Park-Panmure-Glen Innes-Meadowbank-Orakei-Britomart.

    3. That’s not a whole line though Dave, it’s the last station of eleven on the line.

      So it’s more like running Manukau to Britomart express, very hard to justify the operating costs and fleet for one station.

      1. “That’s not a whole line though Dave”
        It’s the whole “Manukau Line” and the whole of what was built in that single-station project. The rest of the eastern Line was there before.
        This compares similarly to proposals for a Puhinui-Airport branch which some criticize because it would only have only one station at the end, even though like the Manukau Branch it would operate as part of the wider network.

        Not saying Puhinui-Airport is the best thing to do, but lets be consistent in judging these things.

        1. Still not a good comparison.

          As per Nick R’s comment, like-for-like would have been building the Manukau spur just to run express trains there with no stops. Which of course it does not, it just extends the eastern line to a greater catchment.

  18. What is it with the Auckland Transport Mandarins? If they put half the effort into integrating the transport options available to them rather than pitting so much effort into saying “it doesn’t work” … then Auckland might actually progress. Every one of his arguments against expanding ferry services is actually incorrect or worse deliberately misleading. I will illustrate my point using his central theme of cost alone. Yes public transport is expensive BUT in every regard ferry is monumentally cheaper than a north shore busway, central rail loop or 2nd harbour crossing!!! Yet when it comes to roads and bus supporting park and rides there is always resources. How do these people get a job and then keep it when they are so narrow minded.

    1. “Yes public transport is expensive BUT in every regard ferry is monumentally cheaper than a north shore busway, central rail loop or 2nd harbour crossing!!!”

      Yes, a ferry is cheaper than an entire busway, no transporting 1,000,000 passengers by ferry is not cheaper than transporting them by busway.

  19. It would feasible to run a small fleet of few small jet boats. Each with a single driver that carries 59 passengers.

    New technology would enable the boat to run faster with less fuel and more agile to dock.

    The advantage is speed, assuming two times the speed, the boat can theorically doubles its frequency with the same asset.

    It will make the journey time faster than driving and have a NEX type frequency. It will be widely successful.

    Also with smaller boat, the off peak has less risk as company doesn’t have to fill up 100 passengers just to break even. They can still keep a good enough frequency without losing money.

  20. I would like to see a harbor “loop” in both directions, So rather than just crossing the harbor in either direction, it actually navigates around all the stops.

    It’s probably a fanciful idea but I wonder what demand would be like for such a service.

    1. Looping to where exactly? The problem is that people don’t want to travel in a loop, they want to get between two points (well some tourists would want to go right around a loop just to get a boat ride, but for travel purposes loops aren’t intrinsically great).

      So a loop service would only really work if you have quite strong demands to travel between the various points on the loop. This works on the Inner Link where you have some folks trying to get from Parnell to the Hospital, others going from K Rd to Ponsonby, Some from Ponsonby to downtown etc. But on the harbour? Who is going from Beach Haven to Bayswater for example?

      My guess is across the week 90% of trips have a destination downtown, 9% at Devonport and 1% elsewhere.

      So really, you are in the case of stringing together suburb-to-city trips into one loop route. Maybe that works, but I figure you’d probably be faster and more efficient with a couple of lines making a couple of stops each. With a loop, you usually end up having a good side which is busy and a bung side which is a waste of resources.

      1. Agree on all that and I guess that was my point. I like the idea of it – linking up the stops, rather than just having (mainly) each accessing Britomart on their own – but not sure if its viable, yet.

        Hobsonville Pt will attract more once its F&B development at the old wharves takes place, but I guess outside of Devonport there might not be a need right yet. Unless you have the casual commuters who live in West Harbour and want to lunch in Northcote Pt.

        Commuter volume would need to drive it of course, but it would be interesting how many tourists would take it.

        I guess a “loop” doing this would also add some frequency, albeit the route would be indirect for those taking it.

  21. They sure are expensive to run, off-peak direction ones I’ve gone on to Hobsonville & Gulf Harbour were empty bar one person on one of them. Would be great to have a weekend service for Hobsonville once that development done & would encourage some to go carless that live there perhaps.

  22. They almost need to do a complete overhaul of the entire ferry network in Auckland like they have done with Buses and tender out routes to companies. Do something like Sydney does with Route numbers and multiple stops, with higher frequency…

    #1-Auckland-Devonport (15min Frequency at Peak, 30min other times).
    #2-Auckland-Waiheke (30min Frequency)
    #3-Auckland-Half Moon Bay (30min Frequency at Peak, 90mins at other times).
    #4-Auckland-Bayswater (30min Frequency at Peak)
    #5-Auckland-Northcote Point-Birkenhead-Beach Haven-Hobsonville Point (20min Frequency at Peak ex BIRK and 40min Frequency at Peak ex HP).
    #6-Auckland-Birkenhead-West Harbour (20-30min Frequency at Peak).
    #7-Auckland-Torpedo Bay-Pine Harbour (20-30min Frequency at Peak).
    #8-Auckland-Gulf Harbour-Tiritiri Matangi (30min Frequency at peak and only continues to Tiri twice a day)
    #9-Auckland-Stanley Bay-Rakino Island (30min Frequency at peak but only continues to Rakino once a day)
    #10-Auckland-Devonport-Rangitoto (60min Frequency)
    #11-Auckland-Motuihe-Orapiu-Rotoroa-Coromandel (1-2x Daily)

    Thats just an example if you tender out the routes it may also create less problems for Waiheke passengers.

  23. Hi, as much as Iove the idea of ferries, as a cyclist it seems that designing buses to take bikes is the easiest solution? Just a bike rack on the front would do it?

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