Free ferry service for Sydney’s West Harbor is ‘top priority’ for growth.
The Company’s district extends substantially from the Harbor Bridge to the Anzac Bridge and includes Walsh Bay, Barangaroo, Darling Harbour, Pyrmont and Blackwattle Bay. Partners include Crown and The Star, Lendlease and Mirvac, the Powerhouse, UTS and the ICC.
It works on a voluntary basis with nearly 50 partners, but the government could legislate to make it mandatory (provided the majority of businesses in the region agree). The new Labor government has yet to commit, but Tyrrell will soon be taking Labor and Tourism Secretary John Graham on a tour.
Several major projects will transform West Harbor in the coming years including Mirvac’s Harborside project on the site of the now demolished Harborside shopping centre, the Blackwattle Bay regeneration and the new Sydney Fish Market.
Tyrrell, who was appointed in June after playing a similar role in London’s West End, has ambitious goals to boost attendance and spending in the borough.
He said Sydney’s Western Harbor was struggling to attract international tourists, citing research that found only 25 per cent ventured west of the bridge.
“They go to Bondi very often, to the opera house… but 75 percent don’t turn west and spend time with us,” he said at the Sydney summit. “[It’s] quite an alarming statistic.”
The NRMA – which operates the Manly Fast Ferry to Circular Quay – tested an electric ferry between Barangaroo and Pyrmont from December 2021 to June last year. The two vehicles were powered by 28.8 kWh rechargeable batteries that fully charged in 2.5 hours, with each charge running for seven hours.
However, the customer numbers did not justify the service. The NRMA said it is in talks with the New Sydney Waterfront Company about how the ferries could become part of an ongoing service.