Ways to supplement our failing ferry schedule
As a regular passenger on the Pink route, I would like to offer some ideas for the long-term survival of the Paget/Warwick ferry. The schedule has been drastically cut back and I fear that in time the Government will say that the usage no longer justifies the expense.
The regular ferry is out of service, which happens regularly. In its place, we have the Newstead ferry, and that may be a blessing because it is faster, more manoeuvrable and requires a pilot and only one crew instead of two. The existing ferries should be taken out of service and replaced by something more akin to the Newstead ferry, probably electric.
It has always confounded me why more people do not use the service — the adage “use it or lose it” comes to mind. I understand that a government that does not have enough money would not want to operate a loss-making service, but public transport is an obligation for any government and they should make it work. Taking away the Hinson’s Island service is a disgrace.
Here is a suggestion that could help to make the service more viable. There are three times of day when there should be a service — 7am to 9am, about noon and 4pm to 8pm. A later service would be nice, but is probably not viable.
This schedule leave two slots: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. These two slots of two hours each could be used to offer boat trips, primarily for visitors, and could go to places that the regular ferry cannot go — along the Pembroke shore, Fairylands Creek, through Paradise Lake up to Jews Bay, for example. A smaller, faster boat could easily do that itinerary in two hours, perhaps two itineraries alternating. I think people would pay decent money for a trip such as that.
I don’t believe that this would affect existing party boat and catamaran operators, who generally operate at night and who cannot go to some of the locations I am proposing. There are visitors who do not want to rent a boat or a jet ski, so I don’t think it would cut across that business, either.
We have some of the most beautiful ocean in the world; let’s use it to our advantage. The money generated could help to subsidise the passenger routes instead of leaving the boats tied up at the Department of Marine & Ports for most of the day.