Water travel an essential service

Whether you’re heading home or going on holiday, a journey by ferry is an essential for many in the Redlands.

The logistical challenge of moving more than 1.5 million people, 40,000-plus vehicles and every conceivable good between the Redlands’ mainland and six inhabited islands each year requires close partnerships between private operators, the State Government and Council.
By their very nature, the city’s island communities are isolated and providing transport services to the
combined 8368 permanent residents presents challenges, the vagaries of the weather not the least of them.

What can be done to boost or improve services for residents and visitors will be part of a community

Lamb Island resident and Southern Moreton Bay Islands Chamber of Commerce President Col McInnes is a regular traveller on Bay Islands Transit’s ferries, contracted by TransLink on a trial basis to deliver 37 trips each weekday from Redland Bay to Macleay, Lamb, Karragarra and Russell islands.

“We have four distinct communities out here in the Southern Moreton Bay Islands and we are unique in Australia because of it,” he said.

“We have a fantastic ferry service, when you consider from between 5am to after 11pm at night you can
catch a water taxi every 30 minutes. “Since the service was taken over by TransLink in 2013, we’ve also received free inter-island travel and this has been a game-changer for tourism here and our sense of community.”

Ferry services to North Stradbroke Island operate quite differently as there is a larger number of
tourists using the services and fewer permanent residents.

While TransLink provides Stradbroke Flyer Gold Cats and StradbrokemFerries with subsidies for pensioner and concession fares, the rest of the business is driven by them. Stradbroke Flyer Gold Cats Manager Sharon Groom said now was the perfect time to restart the conversation on the
region’s transport services.

“As a ferry operator here for the long haul, it’s really important water transport is part of the conversation at the November forums,” Mrs Groom said. “It’s really important we continue to provide good services to the residents on North Stradbroke Island, particularly now as there’s so
much uncertainty with sand mining ending and ownership changes at other transport providers.”

Multi-million-dollar upgrades to ferry terminals at Cleveland’s Toondah Harbour and Redland Bay’s Weinam Creek are currently being planned as part of the city’s two Priority Development Area projects, should they receive the final Commonwealth, state and local government approvals to go ahead.
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