a defence of the Freshwater ferry fleet

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Hardly ever is public transport credited with therapeutic ache, however so went a passenger’s recollection of a visit aboard the Manly ferry throughout World Struggle II: “Solar, salt, seagulls and a breeze … one may really feel a balm to the soul.”

For a lot of, the ships of the Manly ferry service have been areas of respite and reflection. For others, they’ve been a vantage level from which to witness Sydney Harbour’s magnificence. That these experiences could be had for the value of a ticket reveals a robust thought: that such moments themselves generally is a public good.

A Freshwater ferry passes the Sydney Opera Home … would the latter have been constructed had it been subjected to a crude cost-benefit evaluation? But its financial return for Sydney isn’t questioned at this time. Credit score:Dominic Lorrimer

In the present day, the service is at a pivotal second. The NSW Transport Minister Andrew Constance introduced final yr that the state’s 4 Freshwater-class vessels, the largest of the Sydney fleet, can be retired, changed by smaller, sooner and extra frequent boats belonging to the Emerald-class. Following a public backlash, and from none apart from Constance’s Liberal colleague, the Manly MP James Griffin, the federal government commuted the sentence of 1 – then a second – Freshwater. It should preserve them in service, restricted to weekends and public holidays, till a minimum of 2023.

What turns into of the opposite two, nevertheless, is unclear. The minister has instructed one may very well be scuttled to grow to be a dive web site — an ignominious finish for a vessel that, extra so than any of its predecessors, represents a deep religion in well-designed, progressive and beneficiant transport provision.

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