By Natalee Kerr
Geelong’s new ferry has officially launched this week ahead of its maiden voyage on Monday.
The Geelong Flyer will begin its twice-daily services between Geelong and Melbourne from next week, according to operator Port Phillip Ferries.
The 400-seater catamaran features indoor and outdoor spaces, an on-board licensed café, bike racks, charging stations and free Wi-Fi.
The new route will connect Geelong to Melbourne by ferry for the first time, Port Phillip Ferries said.
The purpose-built fast ferry will dock adjacent to Cunningham Pier before sailing to Docklands.
Port Phillip Ferries founder Paul Little said ferry travel will help “ease” congestion caused by cars on the Geelong to Melbourne commute.
“The launch of the Geelong Flyer is the next step in our vision to make ferry travel an accessible and affordable means of travel for Victorians,” he said.
A ferry ticket costs $18 one way or $36 return for an adult, with lower prices for concessions, children and seniors.
Hobart-based manufacturer INCAT built the vessel that can reach a top speed of 30 knots (about 56km/h).
The Geelong Flyer services will run 365 days of the year with journey times expected to be about 90 minutes.
Port Phillip Ferries chief executive officer Murray Rance said the latest vessel builds on the company’s success of its Portarlington to Docklands service.
“We now have an average of 6,000 passengers use the service every month,” he said.
“We look forward to meeting the Geelong community, along with leisure travellers who travel over to Geelong, whether that be for a day-trip or an overnight stay.”
Free parking at Cunningham Pier will be offered for the first 75 people on every 6:45am service Monday to Friday, Mr Rance said.