Traffic between eastern shore suburbs and Hobart is increasing. This is putting pressure on the Tasman Highway, Tasman Bridge as well as Macquarie and Davey streets during the morning and afternoon peaks.
As a result, Metro Tasmania and the Department of State Growth are developing plans for a River Derwent ferry service between Bellerive and Sullivans Cove in Hobart.
According to an MRCagney report commissioned by Metro, current government funding of $500,000 a year would limit the service to one-vessel during morning and evening peaks, with no ferries during the middle of the day.
A comprehensive everyday timetable with high frequency is understood to be favoured by the Government and was the preferred minimum viable product. That option would involve hourly ferries in each direction from 6am to 9pm, seven days a week, with a frequency increasing to twice hourly ferries during weekday peaks.
Port-side infrastructure for the service will be provided by TasPorts, with two new ferry terminals to be established on both the western and eastern shores. Further infrastructure will be considered at other locations, based on demand following demonstrated success of the Hobart to Bellerive service.
Metro and the department are currently assessing costs, patronage and feasibility into the River Derwent ferry service, which we understand will be finalised soon.
A River Derwent ferry service is another key project in our Greater Hobart Mobility Vision, starting with three stops but later growing to eight.
Fast track justification
We believe the Tasmanian Government should consider fast tracking the River Derwent ferry service for the following reasons:
1. The establishment of a successful and comprehensive free service will provide opportunities for businesses on both the eastern and western shores by increasing access.
2. A transport network that offers a range of options and reduces the current reliance on vehicle traffic will also enhance the appeal of Tasmania as a tourism destination when restrictions are lifted and travel confidence returns.
3. We believe that due to widespread disruption and adaption across the community, now is a good time to target travel behaviours. If additional options can be established while the community as a whole is adapting and changing there may be a chance of higher adoption.
4. Lastly, we understand planning for the ferry service is well-advanced.