FUTURE OPTIONS FOR THE OLD WYMAH FERRY
Roads and Maritime Services (RMS) is replacing the historic two-car Wymah ferry after more than 65 years in service.
The new three-car ferry, which is located on the Murray River east of Albury, will enable RMS to provide an improved public transport service to the local community through its larger load capacity.
In anticipation of the introduction of the new ferry in early 2013, RMS is inviting the community to put forward ideas for the existing ferry.
Possible options include featuring the ferry, or part of the ferry, in a display at a local museum or recycling materials, such as hull timbers and steel.
RMS will consider all suggestions mindful of limited road and ferry maintenance funds.
Community suggestions for the old ferry are to be submitted by Friday 23 November 2012.
For more information contact, project manager, Peter Johnson, at RMS South West on (02) 6938 1111 or email him at email@example.com.
The Wymah Ferry is located on the Murray River east of Albury and is a public transport service provided to the community by RMS.
The ferry is jointly funded by the NSW and Victorian governments under the Murray River Crossings Agreement. This agreement covers all public bridges which cross the Murray River.
The ferry is one of two remaining ferries across the Murray. The other ferry, Speewa Ferry, is located near Swan Hill.
Wymah Ferry review
In 2008 RMS completed a review of the Wymah Ferry on the Murray River and determined a number of short and long term improvements following feedback from ferry users and the community.
The service review
RMS investigated ways the service could be improved to firstly increase patronage and secondly to minimise the impact that service disruptions currently have on the community.
The Regional Development Company was engaged to consult the community as part of the review.
The community and stakeholders such as councils and tourism groups shared their views and ideas through community workshops, interviews and correspondence.
This feedback formed an important part of the review, particularly on operational topics such as ferry operating times and signs about the service.
Community workshops were held at Granya, Talgarno and Wymah in July 2008 to discuss the current use of the ferry service and to identify key issues and ideas for improving the service.
The main issues identified were:
- Unsuitable operating hours.
- The community has a limited awareness of actual operating hours.
- Lack of signage.
- Existing signage is difficult to read or at inappropriate locations.
- Difficulty in communicating from the Victorian side directly with the ferry operator.
- Limited capacity on this service to transport heavier vehicles and motor vehicles towing caravans and trailers.
- Poor level of service delivery at times.
- Inability to operate the ferry all year round.
In summary, the review recommendations were:
- To upgrade the communications system on the Victorian side of Lake Hume.
- To change the morning meal break time.
- To consider an advertising campaign to increase public awareness of the ferry service.
- To make the ferry service information on Roads and Maritime Services (formerly Roads and Traffic Authority) website more accessible.
- To provide signs on operating times and contact information at key NSW and Victorian ferry access sites such as Bethanga Bridge.
- To determine the appropriateness of providing ferry advice as an alternative travel route at various townships around the district.
- To update the processes for emergency use of the ferry.
- To investigate the potential for the ferry to generate revenue from functions and events.
- To review the feasibility of excavation and improvement works at the ferry site to enable operation during low water levels.
- To explore options to provide an alternative crossing when the ferry is out of operation such as a pontoon.
- To improve service delivery through the contract arrangement.
- To review load capacity increases.
- To identify ways to improve the ferry such as seating and safety railings.
Short term service improvements
The new contract to run the ferry service incorporates the following:
- Continuous operation of ferry between opening and closing times (i.e. no meal breaks).
- Regular reviews of contractor performance.
RMS has also:
- Upgraded existing signage and installed new signage at various locations.
- Improved communications to the ferry operator on both the NSW and Victorian sides.
- Investigated processes for emergency use of the ferry.
The gate on the Victorian side of Lake Hume has been removed.
Long term service improvements
RMS has investigated the feasibility of the remaining recommendations. In particular RMS has examined:
- Excavation and improvement works at the ferry site.
- Providing an alternative crossing when the ferry is out of operation.
- Increasing the load capacity on the ferry.
What happens next?
RMS continues to review ferry patronage and the effectiveness of the implemented recommendations on a regular basis.
Mr Michael Fabik of Wymah has been operating the ferry service since June 2009.
View more information on operating hours or to contact the ferry operator.
For further information
Wymah Ferry project manager
Ph: (02) 6937 1642
Fax: (02) 6937 1109