Auckland Transport (AT) is currently looking into possible improvements to its ferry service from Gulf Harbour to the city, however there are no guarantees that any new services will be forthcoming.
Spokesman Mark Hannan says AT is currently going through a tender process for all its ferry routes. This includes the Gulf Harbour route, which has reached annual patronage of 150,000 and is rising by eight percent per year.
“AT has requested pricing of some significant service improvement options which we will consider as part of the tender evaluation process,” Mr Hannan says. “However, these changes are subject to funding and tender negotiations, so there is no guarantee that they will occur.”
At this stage, AT aims to implement new timetables as a result of the contract changes in the middle of next year.
In October last year AT increased the Gulf Harbour sailings from 12 to 18 each weekday. Mr Hannan says the additional services have been received positively and, as shown by the tender request, there is demand to increase that further.
Councillor John Watson says that demand will be a key factor. “AT has told Council that it will respond to demand and judging from what I’ve seen at Gulf Harbour recently there’s been another big upsurge in ferry use,” Cr Watson says.
He says AT has a target of increasing the number of sailings to 30 per day (15 return trips). There is also a plan to introduce faster ferries, although funding will be an issue as this is a big capital expense. He says other improvements could include covered bike stands or a slightly bigger covered waiting space at the Gulf Harbour terminal.