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Pouring cold water on ferry idea

01 Mar 2011

Passenger Boat Owners Association vice president Keith Rankin says a high-speed commuter ferry to Docklands is a bad idea.

Mr Rankin was responding to comments made by the Victoria Tourism Industry Council, which recently suggested that public water transport could be the next step in activating the Yarra.

An expert in boating, the Docklands resident said that, while he encouraged greater use of the Yarra, particularly in a tourism sense, he believed that a commuter ferry system would be detrimental to the community.

“The speeds that a ferry of that nature would need to get up to would create significant damage to the surrounding boats and pontoons, and would also be very dangerous,” Mr Rankin said.

“To design a vessel to travel at even 10 knots, which wouldn’t be fast enough, would create significant damage,” he said.

Mr Rankin said that the fuel consumption and cost, as well as the time spent travelling would eliminate any benefit that the water-based commuting could bring.

“To raise the speed of a ferry also raises the fuel consumption and in turn the cost for the passenger. It will also lead to more pollution and this form of travel will be slower than other forms of transport so there is really no point.”

Mr Rankin said that even a long trip such as Geelong to Melbourne would be redundant.

“If there was a high-speed ferry from Geelong to Melbourne it would still take an hour, even without speed restrictions, and would cost Geelong commuters a lot more than what they would currently pay in other modes and it would have a significant negative effect on other vessels.”

Mr Rankin said that the VTIC’s comparison of Melbourne waterways to Sydney and Brisbane was ill informed.

“Brisbane, even though there is more need for water transport, has experienced significant damage to the surrounding areas since introducing high-speed ferries and Sydney Harbour is very different. For starters Port Phillip Bay is about 67 times larger,” Mr Rankin said.

Mr Rankin said he believed that low-speed tourism ferries were great for activating the water and he would like to see more of them.

“Melbourne’s waterways are beautiful and should be utilised more, but in the right way such as tourism. It would be selfish of me to want high-speed commuter ferries,” he said.

Though Mr Rankin is adamantly opposed to the idea of high-speed commuter ferries, he believes it is only a matter of time before they are introduced.

“They will be introduced because some dill will vote it through because there will be a few selfish people with power and enough ill-informed media to gain community support,” he said.

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