The NSW Government has reintroduced Freshwater-class ferries to the weekday commuter run.

With the introduction of the new Emerald-class ferries to the F1 Circular Quay to Manly route, the iconic Freshwater-class ferries were due to be decommissioned. Following a campaign by Northern Beaches Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham, with support from Manly MP James Griffin, two Freshwater-class ferries were to be retained in service for weekend and public holiday services.

Emerald-class Manly Ferries on teh F1 route to Circular Quay

In a backflip on the removal of the Freshwater-class ferries from commuter services, Minister for Transport David Elliott announced today (Thursday, 18 August) that the Freshwater-class ferries would be used to boost weekday commuter services on the F1 route.

David Elliott

David Elliott

“As we head into the warmer months the demand for the F1 services increases and the re-introduction of the Freshwaters gives tourists, ferry enthusiasts and commuters additional travel options between Manly and the city.

“Operating the Freshwaters and the Second-Generation Emerald Class vessels side-by-side on Sydney Harbour showcases these iconic vessels alongside our modern fleet,” said Minister Elliott.

James Griffin wantes to retain Freshwater-class ferry services

Member for Manly and NSW Environment Minister James Griffin said the decision to augment the faster Emerald-class ferries with the Freshwater-class boats provided the right balance in services.

James Griffin

James Griffin

“I have long advocated for a hybrid approach and I am glad it has been delivered. There is a huge amount of local passion for the Freshwater ferries and having them back in service on weekdays gives commuters and visitors more opportunities to experience the beautiful harbour from one of these iconic ferries.

“Having the Freshwater ferries servicing Manly seven days a week alongside the faster Emerald boat for commuters is the right balance and a great outcome,” said Minister Griffin.

Candy Bingham

Candy Bingham

Deputy Mayor Candy Bingham was hopeful the backflip signalled a willingness by the NSW Government to reconsider the Manly Ferry route.

“As far as I can see they had no choice, the Emerald-class has proved so unreliable. Clearly the Emeralds are not up to the task, they’re out of service so much due to defects and issues.

“We need a five-year plan. We should be replacing the ferries with fully electric ‘look alike’ Freshwater Manly Ferries,” said Deputy Mayor Bingham.

MV Freshwater ferry pulling into Manly Wharf

Deputy Mayor Bingham revealed she is working on a five-year plan that will design a new electric ‘Freshwater’ ferry.

“The main issue with the Freshwaters is their size, they have to be certified every five years. Because of their size, they have to go into dry dock, which is $5-7m. That’s one of the issues with them.

“If we can design a ferry that is just a little bit smaller, that looks like the Freshwater, it won’t have to go into the dry dock to be certified, which will save $5-7m right there.

“That’s why we need to have a proper five-year plan, to get this right. We’re working on a design, it will look incredible. In the meantime, it’s fantastic we’ve got the Freshwaters to keep the service going,” said Deputy Mayor Bingham.

Manly Ferries MV Freshwater and MV Collaroy at Circular Quay

The re-introduction of the Freshwater-class ferries to the weekday timetable will see an extra 30 services per week added to the F1 Circular Quay to Manly route.

Transport for NSW Chief Operations Officer Howard Collins said one of the Freshwater vessels, MV Collaroy or MV Freshwater, would be in service from Monday to Sunday with a two-hour service frequency which allows commuters and visitors to choose their preferred ferry to cross the harbour.

Howard Collins

Howard Collins

“Transport for NSW will be refurbishing the MV Queenscliff which will be re-introduced to service next year to replace the MV Collaroy. A plan for the retirement and disposal of the MV Collaroy and MV Narrabeen is currently in development, including community consultation for potential repurposing of the vessels,” said Mr Collins.

Images: Northern Beaches Advocate, Transport for NSW, James Griffin MP, Michael Mannington

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