Minister for Transport Gladys Berejiklian today announced the NSW Government is getting on with the job of designing brand new ferries for Sydney Harbour to provide improved comfort and reliability for customers.
Sydney based architects One2three have been appointed to prepare concept designs for six new ferries before a major construction tender goes out later this year.
“The NSW Government is providing new ferry vessels in 2016 as part of Sydney’s Ferry Future, our 20-year plan to modernise and expand Sydney’s ferry network,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Sydney’s Ferry Future is our blueprint to expand the ferry network and cater for future growth with new ferries, upgraded wharves, additional routes, improved travel times and more services.
“We have asked the architects to think outside the box when designing these new ferries and consider how they can include modern customer friendly elements while retaining the much loved iconic heritage features of Sydney’s ferries.
“The new ferries will be designed to carry about 400 passengers and will operate in the Inner Harbour, serving all routes between Rydalmere in the west and Watsons Bay in the east.
“Unlike Labor who cut ferry services and didn’t plan for the future, this Government is committed to improving public transport services with new vessels, extra services, modern accessible wharves, and a new customer focused operator.”
Ms Berejiklian said the latest performance results show since the franchising of Sydney Ferries in 2012, there are more commuters and tourists jumping on board services and other performance targets continue to be met.
“Even with thousands of extra customers travelling on Sydney Ferries services, results over summer show that the new operator, Harbour City Ferries, is maintaining or improving its performance,” Ms Berejiklian said.
“Reliability and on-time running are two areas we look at closely to make sure Harbour City Ferries is meeting the high standards our customers expect, and I am pleased that December, January and February results were all between 98 and 100 per cent for both.
“In October last year customers took around 1.4 million journeys due to the International Fleet Review, which is the biggest month of patronage in the history of ferries on Sydney Harbour.”
The October long weekend during the International Fleet Review saw 400,000 journeys taken on Sydney Ferries services compared to more than 280,000 for the same period in 2012.
“Despite the fear mongering from Labor when the Government franchised the service, these latest results show customers are benefiting from major reforms to ferry operations,” Ms Berejiklian said.
The performance follows a year of service improvements for Sydney Ferries customers, including:
· the introduction of Opal electronic ticketing across all Sydney Ferries services;
· a new timetable implemented in October introducing 55 extra weekly ferry services, longer hours of operation to better match demand and routes with new consistent stopping patterns;
· new uniforms for Harbour City Ferries staff so they can be more easily identified by customers looking for help and information;
upgrades to Balmain (Thames Street) and Huntley’s Point wharves last year to provide customers with modern, accessible facilities, with upgrades now underway at Drummoyne and Mosman Bay wharves.