• Transit System General Manager David Thomson
A direct passenger ferry link trial between the Southern Moreton Bay Islands and North Stradbroke Island is a possibility if a business case can be proved, according to the General Manager of Transit Systems.
David Thomson sat down with The Friendly Bay Islander to discuss a proposal first suggested in our columns some weeks ago.
In an honest assessment, the General Manager said that his Company has looked at the provision of an island-linking service in the past but that has been limited to transferring Junior Rugby League players and other select charters.
"We have a fair bit of information but translating some unidentifiable passenger interest into a business service, is the issue," he said.
It had been suggested by the Friendly bay islander readers that there was considerable interest in an inter-island ferry service linking not only the Southern Moreton Bay Islands with North Stradbroke Island, but also Coochimudlo Island, too.
However, the General Manager has discounted the Coochie connection because of logistics.
"Based on the initial research done by the Friendly Bay Islander, we think that people from the SMB Islands want to visit North Stradbroke Island," David Thomson said.
He added, what the company did not know was:
1. What of the North Stradbroke residents. Will they make use of the return journeys to visit the SMB Islands;
2. What day in the week is the best day to run such a service;
3. At what time of the day should the service run?
4. How long should the stopovers be?
5. And what will people pay for a return journey?
An initial observation by David Thomson is that if a trial service eventuates, it might be more practical and cost saving if SMBI residents make use of the free inter-island travel to get to say, Macleay Island, and for the service to leave from that point.
"It would keep costs and time down," he said.
"We need more market information and answers to the questions above.
"If we are going to run a trial, we want to give it the very best chance of succeeding.
"That's why we want to run it at the best times for the strongest support and the best outcomes. We are looking for the 'sweet spot'.
"It is all about patronage. The more seats that a filled, the more chance of the business model becoming sustainable.
David Thomson added: "It could be a good idea; and we want it to be a good idea."
The Friendly Bay Islander is keen to support the proposal, and island residents can assist in providing the information required that involves answers to the questions listed above.
You can go to our website at www.thefriendlybayislander.com
; go to our Facebook page, or email us at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Transit Systems will endeavour to gauge further support over the coming weeks.
"We are happy to introduce a trial, but we want to give it the best possible chance of continuing," David Thomson said.
If we can get more information then It is likely a trial may be introduced after the forthcoming holiday season is ended.
The Friendly Bay Islander will keep you informed!