Griffin fights for ferries

Published:
08/12/2020

Local Manly MP James Griffin has protested the State Government’s plan to retire all but one of Manly’s Freshwater Class ferries.

Mr Griffin asked locals to join him last week on the 11.45am Freshwater Class ferry from Manly Wharf to Circular Quay to ‘show support for the Freshwater ferries’. 

In the lead up he said the declining commuter patronage of the ferries is not a ‘good enough reason’ to maintain only one Freshwater Class vessel.

“I’m determined to ensure we respect our history and retain another Freshwater ferry,” Mr Griffin said.

“I’m telling the Government to listen to my community… Let’s get the balance right between the grand old ‘slow boats’ and a more frequent service that commuters want during the week.

“The bottom line is that we deserve more than one Freshwater ferry.”

The cost to operate and upkeep the vessels together with dwindling commuter usage have been cited by the NSW Government to justify the replacement of the ferries with smaller Emerald Class boats.

Extensive community pressure throughout November recently led NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance to announce one ferry will be retained to operate on weekends and public holidays at a reduced frequency to cater to the tourist market.

This ‘compromise position’ has been slammed by locals, NSW Labor and Northern Beaches councillors, however, who claim it is a ‘token short term plan’. 

“The one ferry is just a way of phasing it out completely,” Manly Ward Councillor Candy Bingham tells Peninsula Living. 

“Talking to the ferry masters, these big boats have to be run constantly. You can’t just stop them and bring them out every now and again. They seize up and are required to be run constantly. 

“It’s also not going to work for the tourists. Imagine coming to Sydney on a Wednesday, wanting to catch the world-famous Manly ferry only to be told it operates on Saturdays and Sundays every one and a half hours.

“It’s like demolishing the Opera House and leaving one sail for the tourists to look at. This is not a transport issue, it is a tourism issue.”

Ms Bingham is leading the Save Manly Ferries campaign, which this week will deliver 30,000 call-to-action postcards to households and businesses in Manly.

They have also submitted a petition to NSW parliament calling to save the ‘world-famous’ class of ferries, which has garnered more than 2,600 signatures to date.

Author:
Stephanie Aikins

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