.

By Luke Voogt

A new Geelong-Melbourne ferry will cost passengers 55 per cent more than a train during a three-year trial, according to the operator.

Port Phillip Ferries’ website lists a return fare from Geelong at $36, about $12 more than a train.

But company chief executive officer Murray Rance described the ferry “an alternative” rather than a competitor to the train.

“It’s a far more comfortable ride,” he said.

“It’s a different experience: you’re guaranteed a seat, free Wi-Fi and that it’s not going to stop halfway.”

Regular commuters could save by purchasing 20 tickets at a time, with discounts for concessions and seniors, Mr Rance added.

The trial of the twice-daily return service will commence early next year after State Government pledged $6 million in support over three years.

But Mr Rance declined to reveal the overall operation costs for the period.

“That’s not a figure that should be disclosed,” he said.

“We’re operating the business as a private business after that (funding).”

The funding would contribute to overall costs, such as employing staff and marketing, he said.

At 30 knots an hour (55km/h) Port Phillip Ferries’ current vessel completes the trip in 100 minutes, roughly 40 minutes longer than the train.

But company owner Paul Little would invest about $10 million to design a faster ferry, which could slice 10 minutes from the trip, Mr Rance said.

“We haven’t arrived at a speed yet but we’re talking to engineers to increase that speed.”

Authorities have permitted the ferry to travel at 15 knots after entering the Yarra River at Williamstown, despite the eight-knot speed limit.

Mr Rance hoped to further increase that speed but acknowledged “safety is the most important thing”.

The ferry had completed the trip in under 95 minutes during a recent two-week trial, he added

The free trial attracted 2000 passengers, with 150 people travelling on the inaugural voyage and up to 300 taking the ferry in the afternoon, Mr Rance said.

He hoped the trial had encouraged commuters to change their habits.

“The reason we made the trials free is they never would have come on board if they had to try it for a fee.”

The ferry would need on average 200 to 300 passengers per day to make it viable after the three year trial, Mr Rance said.

“It’s a great experience and we’re very proud of it.”

Your first stop before buying a home. View the whole picture.

More News

Geelong will host an inaugural Festival of Sport this October, with more than 30 clinics, stadium tours and a National Rugby ...

More trains ran on time on the Geelong line in July compared to the same month last year, according to ...

City Hall lowered flags on Monday in honour of a much-valued young employee and colleague Madison Lyden. The fun-loving 23-year-old ...

Geelong residents are falling to their death 55 per cent more often than the rest of Australia on average, according to ...

Norlane’s Lindy Joy Crouch is a world champion after winning two gold medals at an International Taekwondo Federation tournament. “...

Lyle passes Torquay-based professional golfer Jarrod Lyle has died after a third bout of cancer. The married 36-year-old with daughters ...

Latest Sport

Corio Bay’s grammar school lagoon was made a good fishing option considering the past week’s treacherous weather. Offering ...

It doesn’t get much bigger than Geelong versus Hawthorn on the AFL calendar. What makes this round 21 clash even ...

It doesn’t get much bigger than Geelong versus Hawthorn on the AFL calendar. What makes this round 21 clash even ...

Entertainment

Ruby J Murray’s decision to base her latest novel around a young woman in Geelong is something she has ...

After 23 years celebrating the life of Dusty Springfield, veteran performer Wendy Stapleton brings her long-running tribute to Geelong next Saturday. ...

Dan Giovannoni’s award-winning multi-generational migrant tale Jurassica comes to Geelong this month during an interstate tour. Giovannoni won the 2015 ...