Council puts out the call for operators ahead of Gold Coast ferry trial

MAYOR Tom Tate has put out an Australia-wide call for expressions of interest for the new ferry service on the Gold Coast.

Cr Tate put the wheels in motion last year for an ambitious plan for a ferry service with 14 stops along the Broadwater and Nerang River.

As Council prepares for a trial at the end of the year, the Mayor has called for ferry operators across Australia to put their hand up to before Friday April 26 to take control of the project.


“We’re in the market,” Mayor Tate said.

“Last month, Council unanimously agreed to issue an EOI to market. That will occur tomorrow.

“As Mayor, I welcome any initiative that helps road congestion … the more transport opened for Gold Coasters and visitors, the better.”

The EOI will:

  • gauge interest with suitable service operators; and
  • outline the preferred five-stop route which forms the basis of the two-year trial (these stops are the most viable and were examined in relation to the cost to infrastructure upgrades, ease of access, potential patronage growth and connectivity with public transport).

The five stops for the trial include HOTA at Evandale, Appel Park in Surfers Paradise, Marina Mirage at Main Beach, Southport Pier at Broadwater Parklands and Sea World at The Spit.

“If the five-stop route is successful in the early stages of the trial we will work with the operator to expand the route, to a maximum of 14 stops,” said Mayor Tate.

“Ideally, we want to be up and running late this year.”

It’s estimated the service will take between 400-700 passengers daily.

A minimum of three vessels must be available at peak times and the hours of operation will be between 7am and 9pm seven days a week.

Council will not subsidise the cost of the trial.

“The tender makes it clear that the operator will be carrying the costs of the trial, Cr Tate said.

“The State Government and Council will analyse data from the trial and we will support the service as part of the city’s transport mix. I’m quietly confident that the trial will evolve into a permanent operation.”