Bike Auckland’s position statement on bike ferries

Feb 26, 2022
Bike Auckland’s position statement on bike ferries

Bike Auckland

In September 2021, the Government confirmed that it would not proceed with the standalone bridge portion of the Northern Pathway and asked Waka Kotahi to explore further options for walking and cycling across the Waitematā Harbour. 

Waka Kotahi have now stated that their likely proposal is to be dedicated bike ferries from Sulphur Point (Northcote) to Wynyard and have begun working with partners and key stakeholders to obtain proposals for short to medium-term options.  A recommendation on this proposal is expected to be made by June 2022.

Read on to find out Bike Auckland’s position on this:

Bike Auckland continue to seek a permanent and safe harbour crossing solution for walking, scooting, wheeling and biking. The proposed bike ferries from Sulphur Beach to Wynyard Point greatly improves on the current void of options, but is no substitute for a walking and cycling path across the Waitematā harbour. Bike Auckland continues to advocate for a proof-of-concept trial of dedicating a single lane on the bridge for biking and walking, which will enable a conclusive study to be undertaken.

The proposed bike ferries solution is likely to offer a journey time of 10-15-minutes and run at a frequency of 10-15 minutes during peak hour, with ferry capacity ranging from 40-100 spaces. The service will run 18 hours a day, 6am to 12am, with a potential daily capacity of 1800 commuters. While additional public transport connections are welcome, this proposal falls short against commuters’ requirements when compared to a dedicated bridge lane.  This is because waiting times could range between 15 minutes in peak to 45 minutes out of peak, while the set pick-up and drop-off locations will add greater distance and complexity to a commuter’s journey.  Cost is also a factor, as the cost for delivering a ferry service is likely to be more than double that of a dedicated bridge lane.  There is also likely to be a cost per ferry trip for the commuter.

Bike Auckland will continue to advocate for a proof-of-concept trial through dedicating a single lane on the bridge for biking and walking, which will enable a conclusive study to be undertaken.  The traffic usage data for the Harbour Bridge shows that this trial can be undertaken with minimal impact to congestion.

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