Water Ferry should go back to Water Taxi
March 16 2020
I was delighted to see that the QLD Council, ORC and others decided to subsidise our ferry services, which otherwise would have ceased on February 29th.
It was my understanding that in return for the subsidy, our ferry services would become more reliable, more frequent and stop at more jetties between the Hilton and Queenstown Bay. Sadly, we have seen little change or even an announcement of plans for this to occur.
On March 9, we took the ferry from Bay View to Queenstown at 5.24pm to enjoy dinner in town with friends. We returned to Queenstown Bay around 8.40pm, only to find that the scheduled 8.45pm ferry was full and leaving us and another 7 souls stranded. When we asked whether another ferry would be launched, we were informed by the ferry driver, that there was no other ferry master on duty or on call this evening. When requesting her whether she would come back for a second trip after having dropped off the first load of passengers, the answer was again no, but that we could all wait an hour until the next, and last ferry service of the evening, at 9.45pm – I believe we all left in search of other means of transport, rather than waiting a full hour in deteriorating weather conditions. When the issue of capacity of our ferry services has been raised previously, the excuse has been that it was weekends, peak season, school holidays and/or a special event and that a second ferry would be utilised or an additional trip made – this was on a Monday and in the shoulder season?
For the ferry service to succeed, it MUST be reliable, and this capacity issue must be resolved - either by bigger boats or by more frequent services when required. It should be a no-brainer that the ferry service should visit more jetties along its way from the Hilton to Queenstown Bay – as a minimum at the new Marina at Sugar Lane, The Rees and the Golf Club*, and preferably every hour, including the present mid-afternoon and “dinner” service breaks. The Ferry Service started out as a Taxi service i.e. on request, and still operates like that – perhaps we should go back to “booking” a stop on a serviced run, eliminating the need to stop at jetties without a booking, and resolving the capacity issue by the operators knowing exactly how many passengers to cater for?
*You forgot Loop Road.