By land or sea? : an investigation into the travel preferences and potentional for ferry patronage of the residents of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula : a thesis presented in partial fulfillment of the requirements for the degree of Master of Management at Massey University, Albany, New Zealand
The aim of this study was to establish an understanding of the travel preferences of the residents of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula with a view to assessing the likelihood of future patronage of a ferry service from the Whangaparaoa Peninsula to downtown Auckland and to North Shore City. The factors that impact on the travel decision-making of residents in respect of ferry travel were identified, to assist both operators and local bodies responsible for the provision of transport infrastructure in their planning for improved ferry services from the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. A survey of residents of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula was conducted by way of a self-reply postal questionnaire sent to a random sample of 700 residents over the age of 20 years. The questionnaire was designed to collect data concerning current travel behaviour and stated preferences in respect of ferry travel. A total of 308 completed questionnaires were received. A second self-reply questionnaire was administered by the researcher to patrons of the current Gulf Harbour commuter ferry service. Twenty-seven responses were obtained to this questionnaire, which asked ferry users for information about travel patterns and their opinion of the attributes of the service. Analysis of the data collected by the survey shows that almost half of the commuting population of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula travels regularly to central Auckland or North Shore City and by far the most popular mode of transport is the private car. Despite the majority of those travelling by car experiencing significant delays due to traffic congestion, many have expressed satisfaction with their current travel mode due to the convenience and flexibility it affords. The current ferry service from Gulf Harbour carries little of the total commutcr population but a significant proportion of respondents have indicated they would be likely to use a ferry service, even occasionally, if a terminal was located at Arkles Bay. There is no great support for a service calling in at Browns Bay en route for downtown Auckland due to concerns over the extra total travelling time this would entail. The factors identified by both current and prospective ferry users as crucial to continued and future patronage are an increase in service frequency, reliability and reduced trip time, comfortable seating and a competitive pricing scheme. There is some interest in integration of both the fare package and the service with other transport modes. This information can be utilised by ferry service operators in their marketing and operational planning. This research has indicated a fair level of interest in the continuation and upgrading of the current ferry service from the Whangaparaoa Peninsula. These findings are of value, for future decision making and planning, to the bodies involved in the provision of ferry transport, including the Auckland Regional Council (ARC) and Auckland Regional Transport Limited (ARTNL). In addition to its practical management applications, this research has contributed to the body of travel behaviour knowledge in respect of both non-users' and users' perceptions of ferry travel. The attributes of the ferry service which respondents have indicated are influential in the choice to travel by this mode, reflect the factors recorded in travel behaviour research as influencing the use of other public transport modes such as bus or rail. These findings have therefore provided a deeper understanding of urban ferry travel behaviour and have enabled a model for the travel decision-making by residents of the Whangaparaoa Peninsula to be developed.