The Tasmanian Liberal Government is working hard to bust traffic congestion in southern Tasmania through a multi-pronged approach.

An important element of our plan is the Derwent River ferry service, linking Hobart with Bellerive and offering commuters an alternative to car travel.

It’s great to see the Derwent Ferry on the water and starting sea trials today in readiness for operation in coming weeks.

The fast and convenient trip will be a relaxing and scenic experience for commuters, with Derwent Ferries developing a people focused service.

Operated by long-standing and respected local ferry provider Roche Brothers, who also run the Navigators Mona ferries, the Derwent service offers commuters an alternative to car travel to help ease congestion and boost active transport such as cycling and walking.

The service will offer a fast and convenient option between Bellerive and the city, with a one-way crossing expected to take about 15 minutes, with multiple services scheduled over peak times of before 7am – 9am and 3:30pm – 6pm on weekdays.

The trial service will be free to commuters who have a Metro Tasmania Greencard or are travelling with a bicycle.

With excellent cycling infrastructure on either side of the journey, the ferry will be ideal for cyclists who aren’t confident crossing the Tasman Bridge but still want to cross the river.

In addition to reducing congestion, the ferry will bring more visitors to Bellerive who want to explore the area with excellent walking and cycling infrastructure accessible from the wharf.

The sea trials coincide with infrastructure works at the Bellerive wharf and the construction of new ramps allowing for all-abilities access.

This initiative is a key component in the Tasmanian Liberal Government’s $175.5 million Greater Hobart Transport Vision.

Derwent Ferries Managing Director, John Roche, says starting and finishing the working day on the ferry will be a relaxing and convenient way to get across the River Derwent.

“We’re really excited to be offering this service on the picturesque and iconic river,” he said. “The opportunity to travel on our beautiful river, avoid congestion and to be able to do it for free, is expected to be popular.

“The trial is a great start to what we hope will be a more comprehensive offering in the future.”

The trial service is not expected to be a silver bullet solution to ease traffic congestion in Hobart, but an important part of the overall transport mix required for our growing and thriving community.

I look forward to the ferry beginning operation for passengers in the coming weeks.

It has the capacity to carry 107 passengers and storage for 15 bicycles.

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