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August 09 Edition Cover

Price cut sees ferry numbers grow

30 Jun 2016

Price cut sees ferry numbers grow Image

Port Phillip Ferries has seen a steady increase in passenger numbers since slashing ticket prices in mid-June.

Ticket prices were reduced from $20 to $7.80 last month, bringing a return journey on the Wyndham Harbour to Docklands ferry into line with a daily train or tram ticket.

Passenger numbers during the weekday commute have jumped from around 10 to 20 people per day during the first few weeks of the ferry trial to sitting between the mid 20s to high 50s since ticket prices were reduced.

Weekend passenger numbers have been averaging around 200 people per day over the second half of June, according to Port Phillip Ferries.

The total capacity of the ferry is 400 people.

Port Phillip Ferries operations director Murray Rance said, while numbers on the weekday commuter service for the first few weeks of the ferry had been disappointing, weekends and promotional days had been well patronised.

“What this tells us is that people are interested in using this service,” Mr Rance said.

Mr Rance said the decision to lower the pricing was made in response to community and customer feedback.

Port Phillip Ferries said a survey of Werribee residents prior to the price reduction found 46 per cent of respondents said that price had been a barrier in their use of the new ferry service.

Mr Rance said the other frustration for ferry commuters had been the time the journey takes between Wydnham Harbour and Docklands.

Currently the journey averages about 75 minutes each way.

He said Port Phillip Ferries had been speaking with Port of Melbourne about increasing speed limits on the Yarra River in order to reduce travel time.

“This will take 15 minute off the journey, bringing it to under an hour,” Mr Rance said.

Mr Rance said the company would need to complete a safety assessment before any decisions could be made and this was expected to take around six to eight weeks.

A Port of Melbourne Corporation (PoMC) spokesperson said the organisation had worked with Port Phillip Ferries, Marine Safety Victoria and Parks Victoria to map out a process to allow the current trial to proceed under existing operating conditions, including the established speed limits in the Yarra River.

“Naturally, safe navigation remains a priority, particularly in a commercial shipping zone adjoining Australia’s largest container terminal where vessels up to 300 metres long would share the river with the ferry,” the spokesperson said.

“Port Phillip Ferries understand that any consideration of increasing speed limits in the Yarra River would be informed by a detailed risk assessment. PoMC will continue to work with Port Phillip Ferries and will await the outcomes of the risk assessment.”

In the meantime, the City of Melbourne last month approved a new docking point for the ferry, adjacent to the Cow up a Tree and closer to connecting trams.

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