Relief on the horizon for frustrated ferry users

March 22, 2024

Relief on the horizon for frustrated ferry users

Additional ferry crews and vessels will be added to the Devonport service from mid-year. Photo: Ryan Bos

North Shore ferry users can expect relief from frequent cancellations mid-year as new crews will soon be on the Devonport service, according to Auckland Transport.

The Auckland Transport Accelerated Training Program will have new crews available six months ahead of schedule, said Auckland Transport’s Service Operations Manager, Duncan McGrory.

“At this stage, if everything continues to proceed, they should be on deck mid to end of June”, said McGrory.

The additional crew means a return to the two-boat and twenty-minute peak services for Devonport instead of the current thirty-minute service.

North Shore locals have had to deal with regular disruption due to delays and cancellations, said North Shore Councilor and ferry user, Chris Darby.

“We’re seeing really strong growth in ferry patronage ... and we have to get the mechanics of moving people better tuned”, said Darby.

The Accelerated Training Program is one part of the wider solution, which also includes relaxing immigration rules, making it easier to bring new crew into the country to fix the crew shortages.

“We have got crew manning issues, while we’ve resolved the bus driver shortages, the [ferry] crew manning solutions take longer,” said McGrory.

The Accelerated Training Program is a specialized program designed to fast-track new crew training and get them qualified on Fuller's vessels.

“The crew being trained are getting the same amount of training and hours on the water as they normally would”, said McGrory.

“However, it can be done quicker when they are not having to work around normal shift patterns to fit in the training.”

In addition to more crew, Auckland Council has extended the blackout period for cruise ships ahead of the August cruise season.

Other long-term plans for the ferries include Auckland Council purchasing its own fleet of standardized vessels to allow more flexibility with crew placement.

Auckland Transport has set the date for the new twenty-minute Devonport service for June 24.

Listen: Ryan Bos talks to Cllr Chris Darby.

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