Sydney Fast Ferry – tough start to a business

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Back of the Fast Ferry

BotF took the Sydney Fast Ferry (“SFF”) home last night only so that we could empty another schooner on the BotF Bar Review Map. It did give us an opportunity to experience the new service and see both sides of the fast ferry war. The SMH reported on the battle and it is hard to see two services existing in perpetuity. We got the 6.05pm and there would have been more staff than passengers on board. We were able to get 4 blokes on for free using the Manly Fast Ferry (“MFF”) card. The staff bent over backwards to make us feel welcome. Even though they had no liquor licence they were happy for us to BYO. The staff took our empties at the end of the journey and constantly checked to see that we were OK.

As a drinking venue, it has all the same issues as the MFF. Too noisy, too windy and too quick. That didn’t stop a couple of the BotF boys from polishing off a six pack between them. There is no etiquette on the Fast Ferry, so you can start drinking before the ferry leaves the wharf – so with the first finished before setting sail – the next two were no problems in the 18 minutes.

SFF reckons they’ll start to see patronage come their way from the MFF when the weather gets more wintery and wet and people will seek the warmth of the wharf to board and disembark. I’m not so sure that’ll be enough to break the loyal bonds formed between MFF and their patrons. At the very least SFF will need to sort out their liquor licence quick smart. There’s a price differential as well, with SFF being 50 cents more expensive. I kind of feel sorry for SFF, as when they won the tender they probably thought only one service could operate. They’ve got a rude shock and the Fast Ferry passengers are sticking it to the government by using the service that came from nowhere when the JetCat stopped. On the other hand, SFF should have done their research – so tough tit.

It’s all academic for BotF, as we have now reviewed both services and won’t be patronising it in the evenings – unless there is no normal ferry.

We'll be back here soon