Wyndham-Docklands ferry fares cut

The Port Phillip ferry. (Damjan Janevski)

Wyndham commuters can now catch the Port Phillip Ferries service for the same price as a train fare, and the service operator is also looking at cutting 15 minutes off the travel time.

Port Phillip Ferries is slashing the price of its Wyndham Harbour to Docklands return fare from $20 to $7.80 after 46 per cent of Werribee residents in a recent survey cited price as a major barrier to using the new service.

Operations director Murray Rance said the service was also in talks with the Port of Melbourne to increase the maximum speed from the mouth of the river to the West Gate part of the bay from 15 to 18 knots, which would slash 15 minutes off the travel time.

“Our weekend patronage is really good … [but] how do we get people to change their habits and look at the ferry as a commuter-style of transport,” Mr Rance said.

“Some of the feedback we’ve had was that price was a barrier and time was a barrier.”

Mr Rance said numbers for the commuter service had been poor, but there had been a rise in passenger numbers since prices were reduced last week.

“We had 19 on board this morning [last Friday], which was almost double what we had yesterday,” Mr Rance said. “We’re expecting people to give it a go in coming weeks.”

He could not confirm whether the reduced price would remain post-trial, but said it would be assessed. The 400-seat catamaran, the Wyndham Explorer, started its eight-week trial on May 16 and has since undergone several changes, including adding extra services, in response to feedback. In yet another change, the ferry will soon dock near the Docklands’ iconic ‘Cow in the Tree’ sculpture, which is closer to connecting trams.