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Editions

Commuter ferry idea welcomed

29 May 2012

Commuter ferry idea welcomed Image

Docklands has welcomed the announcement of a feasibility study into a commuter ferry linking Melbourne’s seaside western suburbs with Harbour Esplanade.

If it proceeds, the ferry service could activate Docklands as a maritime transport hub – with comparisons already being made with Sydney’s Circular Quay.

Planning Minister Matthew Guy told Docklands News that he proposed the idea to relieve commuter motor vehicle pressure on the West Gate Bridge.

He said consultants were being briefed on the scope of a study and that he had hoped to commission the study by the beginning of June.

The study would look at the viability of transporting passengers from Werribee South, Point Cook, Altona and Williamstown.

Mr Guy said he envisaged that the Harbour Esplanade area in front of Etihad Stadium would be the location of a ferry terminal.

He said he thought the current uses on Central Pier could co-exist with a commuter ferry service.

“It may only need one or two berths,” he said.

As reported elsewhere in this edition, the commuter ferry idea coincides with renewed momentum for a Yarra River shuttle service between Federation Square and Docklands.

Asked about the need for extra tram services to cope with extra demand, Mr Guy said he imagined a lot of people would use the stadium concourse and walk into the city.

“We’re not talking about 50,000 people,” he said.  “We’re talking about a couple of hundred people at a time.  And Docklands is well built to cater for large crowds.”

Docklands Chamber of Commerce president Keith Rankin supported the idea.

Mr Rankin said: “It’s a wonderful initiative that will not only bring thousands of people through our precinct, but will also have the benefit of relieving our local roads of congestion.”

However, maritime sources predict that the service will not be found to be viable, primarily because of rough seas once vessels leave Hobsons Bay.

Mr Guy said the study would include consideration of the effects of climate change and how the service may impact on the management of the Port of Melbourne and commercial shipping movements.

“The key thing is to make use of the water,” he said.

Mr Guy said the study would include a proposed ferry service to Portarlington.

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