MANLY MP and NSW Shadow Treasurer Mike Baird
Manly Fast Ferry Commuters Win Choice
Victor P Taffa
Manly MP Mike Baird has welcomed the competition to the Manly fast ferry service but said the tender has still jeopardised the long-term offering to commuters.
“We welcome the news that Bass & Flinders will fight to continue the service they have provided so well, however we still believe the tender process has failed both parties.” Mr. Baird said.
Yesterday the current operators of the Manly Fast Ferry, Bass & Flinders, announced they would continue to operate their service utilising the wharf outside Manly Wharf Hotel and the Eastern Pontoon at Circular Quay.
“Its good news that fast ferry commuters will have choice but the way the government has handled this has been atrocious.” Mr. Baird said.
“Government interests, not commuter interests, have driven the tender process. In demanding a substantial upfront fee, the NSW Government has stacked the odds against the new operator who will be forced to recoup costs from commuters.”
“We do welcome Bass & Flinders back into the race and hope that both operators can succeed.”
“However we still believe that over the long term, a single tender based on the best service at the lowest possible price is the best way forward.” Mr. Baird said.
“Over the past few weeks several hundred commuters have emailed passionate pleas to the Transport Minister not to jeopardise their fast ferry service.”
“It is good the community’s dismay has been heard and the NSW Government has allowed the current operators to run their service from an alternate wharf.”
“Whether both operators can survive remains to be seen but we hope they can, particularly if they do so by dragging people out of their cars and out of the Spit bottleneck.” Mr. Baird said.
“It remains our view that the tender should be reissued and awarded on the quality of service, not cash to government.”
“However we welcome Bass & Flinders back into the race and are pleased the many commuters who took action have secured a victory in holding on to their service.” Mr. Baird said.