Extra Bay Islands ferry added as SeaLink restricts passenger numbers

BAY ISLANDS: SeaLink will introduce an extra ferry but cap the number of passengers per boat at 60.
BAY ISLANDS: SeaLink will introduce an extra ferry but cap the number of passengers per boat at 60.

AN EXTRA ferry service will be added for South Moreton Bay Island residents to access essential services amid coronavirus concerns.

Transport Minister Mark Bailey said TransLink and ferry operator SeaLink will restrict passenger numbers to 60 per service, but bolster service numbers with an additional vessel between Redland Bay and Russell Island.

"This additional ferry adds nine extra daily services to the current timetable that runs on weekdays and weekends," Mr Bailey said.

"The local member Kim Richards raised this issue with me after listening to residents in her community, and I'm glad that we've been able to work with the operator to deliver this outcome under the current health advice."

Residents had previously expressed concerns about the number of travellers packing on to ferries, saying social distancing was not possible on peak hour services.

Redlands MP Kim Richards said ferry services were crucial for SMBI residents heading to and from work, the supermarket and other vital appointments.

"Public transport is an essential service and it's important we continue to service the community, but it's also important that we all follow the advice of health authorities," Ms Richards said.

"It's crucial that residents still have access to necessary goods, their doctor or pharmacy, and that's why we've sourced an extra vessel to help spread the passenger load across the vessels.

"This isn't an excuse though for non-residents to take a holiday or even self-isolate on our islands. This is about giving our community access to essential travel."

Ms Richards thanked SeaLink for their help in sourcing the ferry.

"TransLink will continue to monitor ferry use closely and will respond to customer demands as needed."

SeaLink Southeast Queensland general manager Heather Truman said: "It is important for us to continue to work with TransLink and the local communities to ensure a continuing safe and reliable service for people that live in the Southern Moreton Bay Islands."

The government continue to follow the expert advice of health officials and as advice changes, so will government actions.