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Monday, 26 March 2018

Mixed feelings about the new ferry service to Sydney Fish Markets

A new Barangaroo - Fish Market service, operated by Captain Cook Cruises, started last Saturday. The plan is to run on week-ends and Public Holidays, but not week-days.

The Sydney Fish Markets say they've had feedback for years that customers want to travel there by ferry. That maybe so, but where are they coming from? The Fish Markets can already be reached by the Inner West Light Rail, which connects well with the train network at Central Station. Not too many residents will find a ferry line to the Fish Markets which starts at Barangaroo to be a better option than the Light Rail. And it would be quicker for tourists starting from the western or southern end of Darling Harbour to walk.
Route followed by Fish Markets Ferry from King Street Wharf Darling Harbour 

I gave the Fish Market ferry a trial on Saturday afternoon. It was just as well I was early for the 2.05 pm departure, because my ferry was combined with the White Bay cruise ship service and left ten minutes early at 1.55 pm. 

With RMS imposed speed limits of 8 knots for most of the journey and just 4 knots "under" the Glebe Island Bridge and in Blackwattle Bay, the journey took 20 minutes. 

I'm guessing it could be 15 minutes without the diversion to White Bay. But even 15 minutes is longish, compared to the 23 minute walk to the Fish Markets from King Street Wharf via Pyrmont Bridge Road. 

Cost is an issue too. The fare is $9 one way. Opal Pay is available, but like other non regulated ferries, users of Opal Pay do not get the usual Opal card benefits like a daily cap or transfer discount.  

And then there is the timetable. It is by no means clockface and does not co-ordinate with the Sydney Ferries F4 service to Circular Quay.

On the bright side, the journey provides a different perspective on this side of Sydney and there will be those who enjoy the experience. But apparently not that many because, according to the ticket seller, I was the third passenger for the day when Sydney's weather was at its gleaming, sparkling best.

I have commented in a previous post about the need to better integrate non regulated ferry services into Sydney's public transport network. Timed transfers and seamless integration of fares is part of this task. It hasn't happened yet and without it the Fish Market line looks unlikely to be a winner.


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