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Derwent Ferry trial makes waves for Eastern Shore travellers

IN a new era of transport across Hobart’s iconic River Derwent, the first Bellerive to Hobart Derwent Ferry services have carried passengers to their destination.

The Derwent River Ferry service, linking Hobart with Bellerive, is part of a plan to bust traffic congestion in southern Tasmania by offering commuters an alternative to car travel.

Morning services will commence at 6:20am from Bellerive Pier with five runs to the city, the last arriving at 9:15am, with outward runs from Brooke Street Pier commencing from 7:20am.

Each crossing will take about 15 minutes and combined will cater for up to 535 passengers inward and 321 outwards each morning.

“Importantly, the 6:20am service into the city has been put in place to cater for our vital shift workers like nurses and emergency responders, as well as other early starters,” Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael Ferguson said.

Afternoon services will start departures from Brooke Street Pier at 3:50pm, with four runs to Bellerive, the last arriving at 6:05pm, with room for up to 428 passengers.

Afternoon inward bound trips to the city commence at 4:10pm with space for up to 321 passengers.

“The 3:50pm service will again be particularly appealing to our shift workers and early starters that end their workdays earlier, as well as students heading home after school, university or TAFE,” Mr Ferguson said.

The trial service is free to commuters who have a Metro Tasmania Greencard or are travelling with a bicycle or an e-scooter.

“Operated by long-standing and respected local ferry provider Roche Brothers, who also run the Navigators Mona ferries, the Derwent service offers commuters an alternative to car travel to help ease congestion and boost active transport such as cycling and walking,” Minister for Infrastructure and Transport Michael Ferguson said.

“With excellent cycling infrastructure on either side of the journey, the ferry will be ideal for cyclists who aren’t confident crossing the Tasman Bridge, but still want to cross the river.

“The fast and convenient trip will be a relaxing and scenic experience for commuters, with Derwent Ferries developing a people focused service.”

Mr Ferguson said the initiative was a key component in the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s $175.5 million Greater Hobart Transport Vision.

“The trial service is not expected to be a silver bullet solution to ease traffic congestion in Hobart, but an important part of the overall transport mix required for the growing and thriving community,” he said.

“In addition to reducing congestion, the ferry will bring more visitors to Bellerive who want to explore the area with excellent walking and cycling infrastructure accessible from the wharf.

“The people of Hobart have said for many years they would use this ferry.

“Now that the trial service is in place, we can get a true measure of public support.”

Derwent Ferries managing director John Roche said starting and finishing the working day on the ferry would be a relaxing and convenient way to get across the River Derwent.

“We’re really excited to be offering this service on the picturesque and iconic river,” he said.

“The opportunity to travel on our beautiful river, avoid congestion and to be able to do it for free, is expected to be popular.”

The sea trials coincide with infrastructure works at the Bellerive wharf and the construction of new ramps allowing for all-abilities access.

“We’re excited to offer members of our community the option of an iconic commute across the beautiful River Derwent,” Clarence City Council Mayor Alderman Doug Chipman said.

“With our existing network of tracks and trails, this service will provide a vital missing link for our commuter network, encouraging active transport and getting cars off the road.

“It is important to remember this is a trial and will be crucial in identifying the demand for the service so that we can plan accordingly and deliver better solutions for the long term.”

Hobart Lord Mayor Anna Reynolds said the ferry offered a fast, congestion-free option to people living on the Eastern Shore to cross the river.

“Many people who work in the city live across the river and I hope they embrace this service,” she said.

“If it’s popular, we can advocate for more ferry services on the river right around Greater Hobart.

“It makes so much sense to use our beautiful river to improve public transport services in Hobart.

“A more accessible, efficient and comfortable public transport system is the best tool for tackling congestion and managing growth in Hobart.”

For more information and timetables, visit transport.tas.gov.au/public_transport or www.derwentferries.com.au.