Half Moon Bay commuters cry foul over ferry-service priorities

By Mathew Dearnaley

Steve Udy says east Auckland has been overlooked. Photo / Natalie Slade
Steve Udy says east Auckland has been overlooked. Photo / Natalie Slade

New Hobsonville and Beach Haven ferry services have fuelled frustration among hundreds of southeast Auckland commuters about delays to a $12 million upgrade of their "temporary" Half Moon Bay landing.

"East Auckland has been chronically overlooked for public transport for too many years," Howick Local Board member Steve Udy told an Auckland Transport hearings panel after watching TV coverage of Prime Minister John Key opening Hobsonville Point's new ferry terminal in Mr Key's Helensville electorate.

"How do you think the people of Howick felt seeing the news item of our PM opening Hobsonville Wharf?" Mr Udy said.

Auckland Transport spent $3.5 million building the covered ferry terminal at the wharf, to which the Government-owned Hobsonville Land Company has added $600,000 for embellishments and maintenance to support commuters from the region's growing northwest.

The council transport organisation also upgraded Beach Haven's jetty across the water from Hobsonville for $1.2 million after the Kaipatiki Local Board said it was essential for a viable Upper Waitemata Harbour ferry service, stretching its catchment to Glenfield.

An 80-seater catamaran is used for trips from both sites to Auckland, and the agency says combined daily patronage averaging 80 passenger trips for the first week is more than 50 per cent higher than its start-up estimate.

Mr Udy says that compares with more than 1400 daily trips on Half Moon Bay's passenger ferries and he is upset Auckland Transport has delayed until the next financial year design work for a new terminal promised to commuters by the former Manukau City Council in 2002.

Auckland Transport counted 591 people arriving in the city on ferries from Half Moon Bay in the 7am to 9am travel peak on March 27 last year - 9.2 per cent more than in 2011, making it the fourth busiest passenger terminal after Downtown, Devonport and Matiatia on Waiheke Island.

Auckland Transport spokesman Mark Hannan said the Half Moon Bay upgrade was a complex project which would cost substantially more than the Upper Waitemata developments.

- NZ Herald

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