Llewie Weighs In

November 7, 2007 at 12:03 am (Uncategorized)

Llew and I are public transport obsessed at the moment given the proposed scrapping of Manly’s express water service, the Jet Cat. The State Government is proposing a slower, 800-person capacity people-mover, which means they’re considering an option that’s much more about catering to one-off day-trippers than the thousands of Manly commuters who rely on Sydney Ferries each day. If they’re going to reduce our service from two craft types to one, then clearly it’s the high speed service that must prevail. There must be a high speed, 30 knot boat with a capacity of around 400 passengers. It may mean day-trippers experience full ferries as they make their way over to Manly, but it’ll be a faster ride and let’s face it: they’ve got all day. I’m not personally that concerned about one-off users having to queue, I’m much more concerned about commuters being able to get into the CBD and out again as efficiently as they can now. That’s the issue. That’s the primary issue.

Anyway, here’s Llew’s own letter to the Liberal Member for Manly Mike Baird:

Mr Baird,

This change represents a very important depletion in the services offered to your Manly constituents and the facts are being misrepresented (the trip is estimated by Mr Walker in his paper as 25 minutes), and on the back of the failure surrounding the Spit Bridge funding, I implore you to investigate most seriously how you will maintain our express service of no longer than 15 minutes to Manly.

Please respond to the following assertions as soon as possible:

Mike Baird supports removing Manly’s Express transport service in contradiction to his electoral assurances of maintaining our ferry services:
Please state clearly if Mike Baird supports the removal of the express service between Manly and the City, a service that has been in place for over 40 years – since the hydrofoil began operation in 1965!
Speed of proposed service – a mathematical conundrum!
Question: Please explain how a ferry travelling at 18 knots carrying 800 passengers can load, depart, travel, dock and unload in just 5 minutes more time than it takes a ferry travelling at 30 knots and carrying 165 passengers!
Answer: It can’t! This is complete rubbish – propagation of this 20minute statistic is a real insult to the intelligence of your constituents
Please get your facts right!
i. Refer to Paragraph 1260 of the paper to find the estimated time of the trip to be 25 minutes! Not your misrepresentation of 20minutes – this is an important fact and should not be ignored.

“The proposed new Manly class should have a passenger capacity of 800 and run at 18-20 knots, providing a slightly faster trip than the current Freshwater ferries (25 minutes versus 30 minutes).”

Regularity of service – false representation:

Your letter implies that a timetable of 20 minute departures (in peak hours only) is an improvement. This is a blatant misrepresentation – this is NOT and improvement as Jetcats currently already depart every 20 minutes during peak times – further, these services are supplemented by ferries which leave every 30 minutes, making the proposed timetable far less appealing than the current version.
Please acknowledge therefore, that the residents of Manly will be significantly worse off under the scheme you support
Impact on the precinct of Manly – your action required:
By choosing to live in Manly, residents who take the Jet Cat are looking for this suburb to perform a very specific role for us; we want to be able to enjoy one of Sydney ’s great beaches and be within 15 minutes transit of our hectic, time pressured professional careers in this international city.
There are very few, if any, cities in the world that can offer this, and within Sydney , only 4 beach suburbs can perform this role: Manly, Bondi, Tamarama, and Bronte.

Please note most seriously the prosperity that has enriched each of these suburbs over the past decade as this specific lifestyle has become evermore desirable – this is not an accident – it is a direct result of the accessibility to Sydney’s CBD.

The removal of the express service offered by the Jet Cat removes Manly from the small list of suburbs that can fulfil this role and in fact puts us as far away as Maroubra.

I, for one, would most likely not have considered Manly as an option for buying my first home had there not been an express service (and after 42 years of continuous service, it was reasonable to expect this to continue) – and I dare say that so many others would not have and will not in the future, move to Manly for this reason.

It is true that many people who have lived in Manly move away to the Eastern Suburbs because it is too far to travel to the city and the current service is too infrequent and unreliable.

This is fact, not debatable – if you remove the Jet Cat, fewer time-pressured individuals will choose Manly over the other options. These residents you are driving away have greater than average expendable income and this will directly impact real estate values, rental prices, restaurant & bar patrons and retail outlets of all kinds in the locality.

I remind you that there are 13,000 regular weekly customers of the Jet Cat and implore you to seriously investigate the impact of their removal from our neighbourhood.

Yours sincerely

Llew Jenkins

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