Clear demand for Gulf Harbour weekend ferry rides
Considerable support for a weekend ferry service from Gulf Harbour to Auckland city has been voiced.
The Hibiscus and Bays Local Board and Gulf Harbour developers Fairway Bay joined forces to survey residents on the topic after surprise at Auckland Transport's view there was no demand for weekend ferry trips to the super-city's CBD.
A total of 1200 people responded to the 10-day survey and, almost without exception, people living all over the Whangaparaoa Peninsula indicated enthusiasm for weekend ferries, Fairway Bay development consultant Michael Webb-Speight said.
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"There is obvious demand for weekend ferries for multiple reasons which include avoiding traffic, a safe option to get home after enjoying drinks in the city, the cost advantages over driving and simply that taking the ferry is a more enjoyable way to travel," he said.
People also want to use a ferry for major sporting and entertainment events, shopping, family days out and 'importantly' to transfer to the airport, Webb-Speight said.
Aside from the benefit to Whangaparaoa residents, introducing a weekend service will also help address Auckland's congested weekend roads, he said.
Some cited the ferry as a way to avoid congestion and expensive city park prices, others wanted to it to take their bikes and explore the central Auckland via its new cycleways.
On top of wanting to use the service as a stepping stone to events at Vector Arena, Mt Smart and Western Springs, some respondents want to see a service linking to Devonport, Pine Harbour, Half Moon Bay and West Harbour.
Others from the far side of the city said they'd use it for weekend getaways to the Hibiscus Coast and Gulf Harbour businesses see it as a way to improve tourism and help them thrive.
The survey also polled on sailing time preferences, with 73 per cent choosing 10am from Gulf Harbour on Saturdays, with the most popular return times between 4pm and 6pm. Sunday preferences were for a similar morning sailing time, with desired return times spread throughout the day.
Notably, just 21 per cent of survey respondents are regular weekday ferry commuters, Webb-Speight said.
"This shows there is much wider interest for weekend ferry services than just those who use it to get to work and back."
Webb-Speight is hopeful the facts emerging from the survey will help Auckland Transport in forming a view on weekend ferries.
"Judging by the overwhelming number of respondents in favour, it appears there is clear demand."
The results will be presented to AT by Fairway Bay and the Hibiscus and Bays Local Board.