Ferries will be plying the River Derwent in a matter of months with the Tasmanian Government announcing today that Roche Brothers (Navigators) would run the proposed one-year trial between Bellerive and Sullivans Cove.
Roche Brothers run the high profile MONA ferries as well as the vessels at Port Arthur and to Peppermint Bay.
The announcement is an important step in providing more transport options for Hobartians as a ferry that carries bicycle will be useful for people who are turned off riding because of the Tasman Bridge.
A ferry will be a great stop-gap for those people until the better paths on the bridge are built.
For others, a ferry will be the preferred option even after the bridge paths are fixed as it may mean a shorter trip than going over the bridge, such as people living in Howrah and Tranmere and the yet to be developed Droughty Hill area.
Cycleways to terminal needed
While the Foreshore Trail is a great place to ride, building more separated cycleways on the eastern shore will help more people get to a ferry so morning and evening commutes are direct and efficient.
The government released its Sorell to Hobart Corridor plan for more safe, protected cycleways on the eastern shore last year and the rollout of those would support more people to catch a ferry service.
At terminals we’d like to see secure, undercover bicycle parking so people can ride to a terminal but walk on if that’s more convenient for them. The current park and rides being planned for Kingston buses include such secure bicycle parking and the same option could be built at Bellerive.
How will it work?
We don’t know yet what sort of vessel Roche Brothers will use for the trial as the final contractual arrangements are still being hammered out.
The ideal ferry design will allow people to easily roll their bike on and off to cater for heavier e-bikes, cargo bikes, bikes with child seats and for those people who have trouble lifting a bike.
The government has announced that people with a Metro Greencard or carrying a bicycle will be able to ride free on the ferry during the trial.
The trip is expected to take 20 to 25 minutes and while a starting date has not yet been announced Minister Michael Ferguson said today that it would be in the first half of this year and will operate during weekday peak travel times.
While the trial is for one year, the government has the option to extend it for another year.
The ferry trial is a key component in the Tasmanian Government’s Greater Hobart Transport Vision.
Feature image of one of the Roche Brothers operated ferries by Nick-D - Own work, CC BY-SA 4.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=61364787