by Karin Kolbe, July 2022 from Bulletin 5 of 2022 (July)
The trial of the Blackwattle Bay ferry continues. The service started in October 2019 and then stopped during COVID. It restarted in January 2022. The ferry trip is a delightful 13-minute ride between Blackwattle Bay (Glebe) and Barangaroo. The service is mostly every half hour, seven days a week. Worried about COVID? Fear not as there is an outside area on the ferry.
What’s at Barangaroo?
Barangaroo has many offices and several lively restaurants and bars overlooking the harbour. It’s a cheerful place with lots of pedestrians enjoying the space and harbour vibe. From Barangaroo, it’s just a nine-minute walk to Wynyard Park. Or walk 15 minutes around to the old finger wharves and the arts precinct. There you will find the Rosslyn Packer Theatre, used by the Sydney Theatre Company, Sydney Dance Company and several choirs, among others. And there are (of course) more bars, cafés and restaurants dotted around the wharves. There’s also Barangaroo Reserve to explore at the tip of Millers Point, jutting into the harbour.
If walking isn’t your thing, the 311, 324 and 325 buses run from Millers Point, past Barangaroo Wharf, through the city, then to the Eastern suburbs.
That’s all the good news.
The bad news
Unfortunately, the ferry service is still a trial and the community needs to demonstrate that it’s being used. The passenger numbers are a closely-held secret – even Jamie Parker, state Member for Balmain, can’t get hold of them. My personal observation is that numbers are slowly rising.
At the moment, there are a few barriers to getting more bums on seats:
- The service isn’t widely known about, as there has never been much publicity.
- Information about the ferry is omitted from some official ferry maps and transport apps.
- It’s not part of the Opal system, so the fare is paid by credit or debit card. Full fare is $6.21 and a concession fare is $3.00. There’s no Gold Opal $2.50 daily fare, or weekly discounts.
- The last service for the day is too early for theatre performances or dining out, particularly on weekends.
What can you do to help?
- Catch the ferry next time you go to the city …
- … then post your experience to social media.
- Tell anyone visiting you to take the ferry.
- Email David Elliott (Minister for Transport) and Rob Stokes (Minister for Infrastructure, Minister for Cities and Minister for Active Transport). (People who use public transport walk more!). Their details can be found at https://www.nsw.gov.au/nsw-government/ministers
- Ask for the ferry service to be on Opal and better publicised.
- Email me if you can help count passengers: email@example.com
As a community, we need to pull together and demonstrate that this service is useful and wanted. Once this service is permanent, we can lobby for longer hours and services to Rozelle Bay and the Sydney Fish Market.
2 comments. Please add yours.
Yes! And if you are going to anywhere near Wynyard or the northern end of the city, it’s quicker than either the bus or light rail.
It’s a great service. We use it as often – going to Barangaroo or anywhere in the north and central parts of the CBD. Of course we connect with ferries going to other points around the harbour and Circular Quay. Because the last return service is at approx 8pm, too early for hospitality activities in the city, we walk to the tram (Pyrmont Bay or Chinatown) even though they are inconvenient. It beats the buses because it is so reliable, and the staff a always friendly.