The once popular Manly to Pyrmont fast ferry shows no sign of returning, with operators NRMA stating the demand is still not there for it to be financially viable.
Asked if the route would be reinstated, an NRMA spokesperson said, “My Fast Ferry continue to monitor demand for a weekday Manly – Darling Harbour service. At the moment we are still seeing a majority of commuters only working three to four days a week in the city, however, are hopeful that this will increase and enable us to resume a sustainable Manly Darling Harbour service in the latter part of this year.”
The service used to operate from 6am until around 7pm weekdays, stopping at Milsons Point, Pyrmont and Darling Harbour. The service was paused when demand sank for city commutes under COVID-19.
Manly MP James Griffin said he understood that the “Manly to Pyrmont Fast Ferry service was much loved.”
“The NRMA are keen to bring it back but need more people to start, or return, to catching ferries,” he said. “Understandably they’ve been smashed by Covid. I’m hopeful that enough people will communicate with NRMA and commit to catching the Pyrmont service that it will make sense for it to be reinstated.”
“I’ve spoken with NRMA and they’re wanting to work with locals to build awareness that the service can return if enough people want it back. I understand discussions are ongoing.”
Manly Observer has been receiving messages and emails from readers asking about the Pyrmont service over the last few months. The return of the Pyrmont Service was one of the three most popular topics for us to cover in one of our recent readers polls.
One hopeful commuter, Doug Rickard, told us he had planned to move to Manly but the lack of direct service to Pyrmont “has kept me from moving to Manly, as per my original plan”.
For new Manly resident Edward Odendaal, the lack of service means catching a ferry to Circular Quay, then a bus to Hyde Park and switching to another bus to get to his work in Pyrmont. A frustration felt by his colleague, who also lives in the area.
Edward said he had heard about the service from his colleague and had hoped it would return by the time he moved into his central Manly home. “We were so disappointed to find out it was suspended and there were no plans for it come back soon,” he said.
“I’m still only working in the office a couple of days a week, so I can sympathise with the operators that they won’t have as many people using it… but there are still a lot of people that need to use the service, whether or not it’s viable for the company.. it should be available even just for a few runs at peak hour.
“They might be surprised at how much people are willing to pay for it as well. For the convenience, I’d say people would be willing to pay quite a bit.”
Manly Observer has compiled a short survey to help inform ferry operators of local interest in the return to the Manly-Pyrmont-Darling Harbour ferry service. You can fill it out here or below.
A petition is also in circulation via change dot org to reinstate the service.