Ferry Services

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This consultation has concluded. A report will be collated, made available to the public and referenced in development of new contract documents.

Ferry ServicesFerry services across the Hastings River...have your say!

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has been managing the ferry services across the Hastings River for many years. This included both the ferry at Settlement Point and the second ferry at Hibbard Drive.

Council is conducting a review of how the service operates and what the community expects.

We want to hear from you. Get involved in the discussion by;

The feedback gathered as part of this review will be used in the development of new contract documents that will guide the operation of the ferry service in the future.

Ferry ServicesFerry services across the Hastings River...have your say!

Port Macquarie-Hastings Council has been managing the ferry services across the Hastings River for many years. This included both the ferry at Settlement Point and the second ferry at Hibbard Drive.

Council is conducting a review of how the service operates and what the community expects.

We want to hear from you. Get involved in the discussion by;

The feedback gathered as part of this review will be used in the development of new contract documents that will guide the operation of the ferry service in the future.

Guest Book

Please feel free to add comments and ideas to about Ferry Services this Guest Book.

I for one would like to know what these proposed service cuts could be. As a rate payer access to my home and work 24hours a day is a right that the council has no power to deny me or my family.
Just hand them to the RTA and stop overcharging us for a sub standard service.
A bridge will never be built. Seeing as the council only cleaned up after the major floods because a toilet block opening was going to be covered by the media , what chance of them building a bridge.

Northie about 8 years ago

Why don't we push for a Bridge and become part of the 21st century? Previously mentioned, over time, the bridge would pay for itself. Because maintenance - repairs and countless other reasons the Ferries encounter, everybody would be included in Port Macquarie Hastings Shire. Although, at the moment, we don't get much for them, we do pay rates! Please think about this alternative.

waiting about 8 years ago

Ideally, the North Shore needs to connect to Port Macquarie township via a bridge or tunnel.

Obviously this would require Council/Community consultation and funding.

We believe some of the community would object to a bridge or tunnel starting or ending within a 'village' area, however a 1984 survey and subsequent proposals identified 5 different locations where the construction could be placed. At least two of these locations would not adversely affect residents. The proposals were rejected on an issue of funding. A large number of North Shore residents remain unaware of these 5 locations that were proposed, hence the need for consultation.

PMHC have for many years had 2 ferries built and paid for, have had to pay contractors, operators and for maintenance, so we are suggesting that given a bridge or tunnel were paid for, it would, in time pay for itself due to cost savings of the above. Bridges and tunnels do not break down and do not require constant staffing.

This would also enable the bringing over of the needed infrastructure to the North Shore such as water and sewerage.

In the current situation we object to the ferries being operated under contract to a private concern and believe should be handed over to Roads & Maritime as the 2 ferries here are the only ones known of that actually attract any fees.

As residents and ratepayers we strenuously disagree with the yearly fee, and crossing fees. We see it as discriminatory to North Shore residents as we believe rates paid and road taxes paid should encompass such costs; the ferries being the only viable thoroughfare.

If the current situation were to continue we would ask that during operation there be 2 operators on both ferries as waiting times are becoming longer and longer due to increased population and works on the North Shore. If this were not found to be viable we would ask for the crossing fees to be reduced or abolished.

Thank you.

A Ferrytale about 8 years ago

I find it ridiculous to have the ferries operated by a private company under contract to PMHC instead of the ferries being deemed a public thoroughfare and put under the auspices of Roads & Maritime. Road Tax & rates paid are 'supposedly' to used for road usage & maintenance as in every other case in NSW.

The private company rates are exhorbitant; residents who are already paying rates are then expected to pay the $50+ per year for the residents label plus the 80c per crossing plus the inconvenience of having to travel to an "off-ferry" site to purchase same.

A non-resident single vehicle charge of $3.20 each crossing is not only ridiculous but does little to aid Port Macquarie's Tourism image when visitors wish to travel to the North Shore, North Beach, Point Plomer, etc.

The North Shore continues to grow in building and population size however there has been no increase in the frequency of service of the Hibbard Ferry service. Obviously there has been a large increase in traffic in recent years due to this population growth and the movement of building, trade and road maintenance vehicles.

On a similar note, whilst I am not a tradesperson or builder I find it unfair that these people pay ANY crossing fee as, surely PMHC is keen on the expansion of the population of Port Macquarie & surrounds , or are they?

Seriously, having paid for the ferries to be built and after a certain number of years of paying the operators, paying the staff and paying for maintenance surely we could afford a bridge?

Ferry Unhappy about 8 years ago

As a North Shore ratepayer my rates fund works and facilities throughout the municipality. Every river, creek and water way crossing is funded by rates or state and federal funding, every crossing except our two ferries. As one of our less notable politicians once said 'please explain'.

ratespayed about 8 years ago

A Fery driver by law is required to keep a constant watch for river traffic when crossing the river. This is very hard to do while writing out weekly tickets. There should be two operators on the ferry during day light hours every day which would allow the purchase of weekly tickets all day. This would also enable the drivers to have a decent meal break and make it less likely of having a collision with another vessel. RMS ferries have two operators and they dont even collect money!

Master about 8 years ago

I live in the kempsey shire but use this service regularly. I am a tradesman and most of my work is in port. There is no advantage for me to purchase a weekly ticket as if I dont use the service for even 1day I loose that money. A better option for me would be to buy a bulk amount that Doesn't have a limit on how soon I have to use it. ie 1 calender week. I could then pay cash once instead of coins every time. It could just be marked off each trip I do.

Ryan about 8 years ago

There needs to be a fairer/more, cost effective, concession system, for residents who have more than 1 vehicle. Why, when we have a weekly, or a yearly pass, do we have to pay extra for a trailer? This seems very unfair. Are there policy documents available, showing the rules/regulations/rights/responsibilities about what we are paying for, when we purchase a personal yearly, vehicle yearly or weekly pass? As a resident this information is currently learnt from word of mouth.

mullo about 8 years ago

Bring back some common sense. It is a road between two councils that has become a tourist track. The council complains that it is a burden to them yet they do it even know what income is derived from the fares collected. If rates are not collected to pay for this service, what do our rates pay for? The Service should be given back the RTA to run as they did not build the bridge that was promised. Other residents of Port Macquarie enjoy free travel to their homes, be it out the back of wauchope or over stingray creek, please explain what makes this different? There is some suggestion that even the maintenance of the ferries will be contracted out. If this is the case why is there so many people employed at the council and what effect will that have on future rises to the fares. NSW government needs to get involved in this decision. Where is our local member on this? What do our current Federal members hoping to be voted in think of this?

oxendragon about 8 years ago

Build a bridge so the redidents have 24 hour access.

mousey about 8 years ago

Yes the ticket thing is a very annoying aspect of travelling on the ferry. If you don't travel in peak times you just can't get one and then have to pay extra for no fault of your own. This leads to conflict with the ferrymen who are caught in the middle. This inflexible attitude leads me to agree to the proposition of giving the whole operation back to RMS. I also agree with the complaints about T-tree trucks in their weight and space they take up. I wonder if they contribute money to the resurfacing required in Shoreline Drive. My desk vibrates when they pass my house so to argue they are not a major impact on the road's condition would be disingenuous.

greynurseshark about 8 years ago

Logically thinking the Hibbard Ferry should be run by the rms (rta)to cater for a 24 7 free service that links the Maria road (kempsey shire) to Port Macquarie Council (pacific highway). This would remove trucks and highway traffic from the Shoreline roads. The ferry fees have risen each year beyondwhat was allowable and always rounded up. This has resulted in increased fees over and above cpi. This money does not go to council but to the ferry contractor. None of the money collected from the yearly concession , yearly tickets, weekly tickets or individual ticket purchases goes to the council. The contractor retains all of this money including a tender fee paid by the council to pay wages for the ferries. The council is still responsible for fuel and maintenance for the ferry. With the rms in control of at least one ferrywe would hopefully have a fast reliable service free to users, the other ferry could still be retained by council with the running costs reduced. Fees were originally introduced on the ferry to collect on the tourist dollar, now it is a burden for the residents as most tourists do not want to pay the high cost to visit the north shore. I have family that do not visit for a coffee or chat as it is not viable. I have had problems getting service man to fix things as they simply do not want to pay the fee to cross nor do they want to line up for lengthy periods to do so. The high cost will continue to rise if we do not solve this now. Hopefully the local, state and federal governments will one day all speak in unity for the benefit of Northshore. Please get involved in this issue now.

riverside about 8 years ago

Any review of ferry operations must also include the fee structure currently in place. In my view, currently, it is not recognised that North Shore residents use the ferry as a necessity, while Port Macquarie Hastings River residents and others use it by choice. We who live on the North Shore have no other reasonable option to get home other than by the ferry. And please no glib, simplistic responses Council that, 'you chose to live there'!

KGJE about 8 years ago

Response to Ferry Service questionnaire: Return the speed of the ferries to what they were previously - it used to take about 4 mins to cross at Hibbard, and now more like 7 mins.
Reduce the cost of the ticket to no more than .50c each way.
Provide a bonus discount for purchase of weekly ticket - instead of 10 x the cost - this would encourage those who don't use the ferry every day, to purchase a weekly and 'cut their losses' - would also increase the speed with which the ferries are loaded due to fewer people purchasing a ticket.
Buy a return ticket on the north shore side of the river only so that the driver only has to sell tickets on one side thus only holds up the line on one side - 99.99% of users will be returning via a ferry. Those coming from the Maria River Road from Kempsey would generally only do so at the time of the Highway being blocked due to an accident, for example. There is no real requirement for selling one-way tickets.
By purchasing tickets on one side only, the ferry drivers would be exposed to vehicular emissions on one side only - far more beneficial to their health.
Allow a weekly ticket to be transferrable between (resident) family cars - currently we do not buy a weekly because we use either my husband's 4x4 or my car, depending on necessity. e.g. my car has a baby seat for our grandchild. It again holds up the line as people have to stop and pay each day and each way.
Pay the annual concession pass per household, not per car. God help the young families with 3 teenagers all driving.
Reduce the price of the annual concession pass. We used to gift our children their concession for their birthday as it was too much to expect of a student. Now, at $51 per child (plus for each of our cars,) it is exorbitant.
Reduce the annual concession. Since we stopped paying for our children's concessions, they rarely bring their car over to the north shore so we see less of our family and grandchildren.
It would have been far wiser and more economical to have the big ferry operate at Hibbard - shorter crossing, slower current/narrower crossing during floods, no homes close by re noise pollution at night. (However, perhaps the road would not be wide enough to cope with the increased traffic.)
Allow purchase of weekly tickets at ANY time on EITHER ferry, currently only at peak times on the Settlement Pt. ferry (when two operators are working?) For retired folk who try to travel out of peak times (which also assists in keeping lines down for workers and mothers transporting children to/from school), one cannot purchase a weekly ticket on the S.Pt. ferry after peak hour, when only that ferry is operating. Hence we can only buy single tickets (or add to the rush periods).
Thank you for the opportunity of sharing our thoughts and frustrations.
Your next question is difficult to answer as we use both ferries, but live closer to the Hibbard (which only operates in peak periods, thus out of such times we use the S.Pt. ferry).
We use the ferry a few times a week, not daily, not weekly.

North Shorie about 8 years ago

Do we know where our politicians (both State & Federal) stand on the North Shore ferry being returned to the hands of RMS? If we do not may be it is time we found out. I believe that an election is coming.....

KGJE about 8 years ago

The Ferry service at Hibbard was a free service, until the mid 80's, until the RMS dumped it onto Port Macquarie Council who agreed to take on the problem. Much to the regret of North Shore Residents. This is the concern of the RMS as this access is classed as a road. You would have to ask Council for their reasoning such a shameful situation occurred in the first place. But of course the stock answer is that was a previous Councils decision therefore out of our hands I'm sure you have heard this before. I support the RMS taking control again of at least of one of these Ferries this would alleviate a few issues of concern to us all. I agree it would be great to see something happen to benefit the North Shore for a change. No I am not angry at Council, I am however very disappointed, Council has a bias attitude regarding the North Shore.

denisc about 8 years ago

The ferry service should be free to all users, we pay rates,we have no water, we have no kerb and guttering, we have no sewerage. Having lived on the other side of the river there is not much difference in my rates. the roads are goat tracks. I would not swap where I live but in fairness there is a lot of discrepancies for the level of service provided to north shore residents. I am a strong supporter of the rms taking control of at least one ferry and offering a free service similar to the rest of nsw. the survey is not designed to really get to the core issues of the ferry.

riverside about 8 years ago

There is a perception that the current operator and key members of Council relating to the Ferry's operations are too close and that issues when raised are not been considered objectively. This has caused a general lack of confidence in the tender process as well as emboldening a seemingly caviler attitude by the current operator to the ferry's operation. Not with standing the issue of 'business confidentiality' all things relating to the ferry's operations, including costs, should be available for general scrutiny.

KGJE about 8 years ago

Denisc 4 Aug 2013 2.20pm
I am having a great deal of difficulty understanding the logic of B-Double trucks utilizing the Ferry system! We have a very fragile infrastructure, leading to the Ferry from both sides of the river, this can be seen by the road surfaces being squashed pushed out of shape & being constantly repaired. The Ferries must be getting fatigued because of the sheer weight of these trucks. Please can you explain the reason for allowing this type of destruction to occur to a vital piece of our infrastructure? I find this to be very confusing & annoying to have these vehicles constantly using this facility when this is creating these issues.

denisc about 8 years ago

We find it very confusing that we are unable yo buy a weekly ticket on the Settlement Point ferry when there is only one ferryman, but can buy one on the Hibbard ferry when there is only one ferryman. But of course this ferry finishes before 10.00am so by trying to avoid peak hour on the ferries we are being penalised and are very annoyed about this. A previous email to council about this returned a very lame and unsatisfactory explanation (so lame we have forgotten what it was).

Denise about 8 years ago