It seems Wellington Region’s public transport system is falling apart, with the GWRC busily working out how to shed hard-earned ridership, when it should be doing the opposite. So it hardly seems a good time to suggest extra services to be run, but surely someday they’ll get their act together.
A recent post on Human Transit about Vancouver’s micro-ferries got me thinking. (False Creek Ferries’ website) I do think Wellington’s water transport options are underdeveloped suggesting here about ferry services to Evan’s Bay and the Miramar Peninsula, and for a cycleway to Palmie a cycle ferry across the Manawatu.
I also think that on the recently renamed Kapiti Line there is a gap between Porirua and Paremata that should be filled with a new train station at Aotea, near the end of Whitford Brown Avenue, and there is that open little stretch of mostly flat and protected water over to Onepoto Park in Titahi Bay and I thought it would be nice, but maybe uneconomic to run a ferry between such a train station and the Onepoto bit of Titahi Bay. I hadn’t figured on the micro-ferries. The ones in use in Vancouver are 12 passenger electric boats with one skipper/operator. A 12 seater ferry meeting the trains and shuttling back and forth, now that would be quite good.
It reminds me a bit (only a bit) of the abras crossing the creek between Dubai and Deira in the U.A.E. They carry a few more than 12 passengers and have outboards but are the same kind of idea.
And then there are probably a few places around the Porirua and Pauatahanui inlets that could link either to a small wharf at a new Aotea station, or to a small wharf just north of Paremata station between the rail and road bridges, down near the rail bridge on the left in this photo.
It would be a pleasant way to travel. Walking down to the inlet, catching a micro-ferry to the wharf and catching the trains into town. It’s got to be better than going on a circuitous route through the back blocks of Whitby by bus.
Small micro-ferries could go to Takapuwahia and Onepoto from Aotea Station and from Paremata to somewhere in Camborne, near the end of Postgate Drive and near the end of James Cook Drive. A ferry able to take some larger waves could link up Paremata Station and the Plimmerton Boat Club. In the photo below a small wharf could be built past the boathouses near where there is pedestrian access down from Penryn Drive.
A map gimp-shotted from Google of what I’m talking about:
The rationale behind all this is that small local feeder services provide extra passengers at the train stations such that with extra ridership the train frequencies could be upped to 4 or 6 trains an hour instead of the current 2*. It’s a bit like the aerial gondola suggested on this post between Ngaio and Churton Park. It puts more people within walking distance of a part of the linked up network, and keeps people out of their cars.
*Train frequencies including day time and weekends (but not necessarily late night) should be a minimum 4 trains per hour on the Kapiti and Upper Hutt Lines. That is a target of service level we can only dream of the GWRC getting anywhere near.