Since June 2018, SeaLink has received a number of questions from residents, landowners and others interested in our ferry services commencing on 23 September 2018. The answers to the most frequently asked questions are published below.

Community

How is SeaLink engaging with the Bruny Island community?

SeaLink is working together with the community to ensure locals benefit from an improved ferry service that delivers greater capacity and certainty into the future.

As part of this engagement a Bruny Island Ferry Reference Group has been established to work through a variety of practical questions about the service. The Reference Group includes representation from the community, Kingborough Council, SeaLink and the Department of State Growth, and is meeting regularly during the transition phase. 

In consultation with Government, tourism operators and the local community, SeaLink has developed a staged plan to transition to the SeaLink Bruny Island service, and will work closely with the Reference Group at each stage.

SeaLink has also launched the official website for the service www.sealinkbrunyisland.com.au which is the best place to find up to date information about the service. Information about the Reference Group, including membership and communiques are available on the website.

SeaLink is also actively engaging in local community in person and online. This has been achieved by hosting a series of street corner meetings at various locations on Bruny Island as well as directly engaging with the community through their existing Facebook Groups. SeaLink is also responding in a timely manner to enquiries received through its website, email address and Facebook Page.

How will the new service benefit residents?

The SeaLink service will ultimately increase ferry frequency and reduce time spent on water. The service will also have improved customer service at Gateway terminals and on-board vessels with the introduction of a passenger lounge.

Once introduced, the booking system will provide travel certainty by allowing ferry users to guarantee their departure time (especially in peak periods) as opposed to lining up and waiting for a space to become available. Bruny Island residents and landowners will also have access to discounted fares for pre-booked travel during the first twelve months as you trial the booking arrangements.

Booking System

When and how will the booking system be implemented?

From 1 November, 2018 customers with heavy vehicles will have access to the booking system. The booking service will be opened up for residents, landowners and visitors in 2019 in line with some infrastructure changes proposed by State Roads. SeaLink will commence collecting on-board research from November 2018, with the outcomes to inform future decisions about the operation of the ferry service.

Is it usual practice for short vehicle ferry services to require booking?

Yes. For example, some of SeaLink’s services for Southern Moreton Bay Islands are journeys as short as five minutes. All services are pre-booked by residents, landowners and visitors alike through the reservations department or online. The feedback on this service has been very positive, in particular the ability to book online at any time of day.

How will the SeaLink service with booking system provide a service that is at least as good as the ‘first come first sail’ arrangement?

Residents will continue to have the freedom to arrive early at the ferry to be ‘next on’ for the available standby spaces on every sailing. Residents will also have the choice to reserve a space to guarantee travel at their preferred time. 

In the longer term this should result in reduced queuing as both residents and visitors can have confidence in their travel time. We have found with our services on Kangaroo Island, North Stradbroke Island and the Southern Moreton Bay Islands (which also have residents on the islands) that pre-booking is preferred by residents as they are able to attend appointments, meet flights etc on the mainland and they know they are able to travel at the time they prefer.

Reservations

Do I need to book a reserved space?

From 23 September 2018 there will be little change to the way the ferry service operates other than the additional scheduled sailings

From 1 November 2018 customers with heavy vehicles will have access to confirmed bookings on all services. 

The booking system will be opened up to residents, landowners and visitors in the first half of 2019. At this time, the best way to guarantee you will travel on your preferred sailing is to reserve a space. Specific dates are yet to be confirmed and will be dependent on the completion of infrastructure changes at the Roberts Point and Kettering terminals being progressed by State Roads.  For people who choose not to reserve a space or are unable to do so, there will also be some standby capacity on each sailing which will generally be filled on a ‘first come, next on’ basis.

Residents will know best which times of day are most likely to be busy, and pre-booking just provides certainty of travel at these times. Taking a few moments to pre-book may actually make the journey itself quicker because there will be no need to turn up early to secure a space on your preferred sailing.

How can I book a reserved space?

Reservations (for all services from 1 November 2018 for customers with heavy vehicles) will be available online, by phone or in person at the SeaLink office at Bruny Island Gateway, Kettering.

Do I need to purchase a return ticket or can I pay for a one-way journey?

Tickets will continue to be charged for return journeys. One-way tickets will not be available in the early stages.

Can repeat bookings be made in advance for regular travel arrangements?

Yes. From 1 November 2018 SeaLink will work with customers with heavy vehicles to ensure they have confirmed bookings as required. 

Once bookings are opened up to other ferry users in 2019, regular travellers will also be able to forward-book bulk bookings.

Which payment methods are available?

Payment prior to travel will be necessary, usually this will be by credit or debit card at the time of purchasing a ticket. However, SeaLink will work with the Bruny Island Ferry Reference Group on options for people without credit or debit cards.

Do ‘walk on’ passengers need to reserve a space?

‘Walk on’ passengers will not need to book a space for their travel and will continue to travel free of charge. 

Is there a limit to the number of vehicle spaces that a person can reserve on a single sailing (bulk bookings)?

There is no limit to the number of vehicles a person or company can book. However, if an individual or business was booking out entire ferries SeaLink would discuss that with the customer and potentially look to arrange charter services outside of the public services. SeaLink will be monitoring demand and if there is evidence of a need for additional services more departures will be added to the schedule.

It is important to remember that every sailing will have some stand by capacity so it will still be possible to turn up and queue for standby availability, even if a sailing is fully booked.

Changes/Cancellations to Bookings

Can I make a change to my booking?

Changes to existing bookings can be made online up until one hour before the scheduled departure or by contacting reservations support by telephone up until the time of departure. 

If plans change or unforeseen delays mean a booked vehicle cannot arrive on time for departure, as long as SeaLink is advised either by phone, online or in writing before the scheduled departure time, all monies will be held in credit to be used for future travel within 12 months.

Will there be a charge for residents / landowners to make changes to bookings?

There will be no charge to make changes to bookings unless there is a change to the fare type.

If a resident is delayed unexpectedly and missed their booked sailing at a time of very heavy demand, will there be priority for the resident to return home over others waiting for standby availability?

SeaLink’s Reservations support centre will manage individual situations to ensure all customers are treated fairly and equitably. You will have the opportunity to book on a later departure or join the standby queue. 

Fares

What are the fares for the SeaLink Bruny Island service?

The full details of the visitor fare structure are published on the SeaLink Bruny Island website. Resident and landowner fares will remain the same for the first 12 months of operation.

What is the fare for ‘walk on’ passengers?

‘Walk on’ passengers will continue to travel free of charge and will not need to book their travel. Any proposed changes to fares in future will be provided to the Transport Commissioner for consideration.

Will there be discounted fares for friends and family of permanent residents?

SeaLink will offer periodic incentives for friends and family of Bruny Island residents and landowners. 

Boarding and Crossing

How long before scheduled departures do I need to arrive?

SeaLink recommends that you arrive a minimum of 20 minutes prior to departure. Before the booking system becomes available, please consider arriving earlier during peak times.

How will the stand by capacity be allocated?

Unbooked capacity will be available for all ferry users. While ‘first in, next on’ is the preferred model, sometimes this may not be the case. For example, if the next vehicle in the queue is too large for the remaining available space, the following vehicle in the standby queue may be loaded ahead of the larger vehicle.

Will the requirement continue for any vehicle that arrives before the scheduled last sailing to be transported? 

Yes. The contract requires that any customer who arrives before the scheduled last sailing must be transported.

How will road safety be managed this summer?

SeaLink will introduce a timetable from 23 September 2018 that includes additional scheduled services. We are continuing to consider the vessel arrangements for this summer to ensure we meet demand. 

In the medium to long term the new service model and landside infrastructure improvements are expected to reduce vehicle queuing. 

Will the Moongalba be compatible with the terminals and how will the risk of vehicle damage be managed?

The Moongalba is currently having some modifications to ensure it is compatible with the existing infrastructure, and to ensure smooth loading and unloading. SeaLink carries insurance for these types of situations where SeaLink is responsible for the damage incurred.

How will return journeys (to Kettering) that have been paid for but not used before the last sailing on 22 September be managed?

All existing pre-paid return fares will be honoured.

Resident / Landowner Registration

Who is eligible for resident / landowner fares? 

Permanent residents and temporary residents (for example residential tenants with a fixed term tenancy agreement), and landowners will all be eligible for the resident / landowner fare. Eligibility for resident and landowner fares is specified in the contract and is intended to match the current arrangements.

Is the resident / landowner fare attached to the vehicle or the individual?

A booking is generally attached to the vehicle, however verification of resident / landowner status will be by the individual.

Residents will be required to submit an application form with a copy of the following documents:

  • Driver’s licence AND
  • Vehicle Registration Document AND
  • a utility bill and rental agreement OR 
  • a Council Rates Notice.

Residents may register an unlimited number of vehicles.

Landowners (who do not reside on Bruny Island) will be required to submit an application form with a copy of the following documents:

  • Driver’s Licence AND
  • Vehicle Registration Document AND
  • a Council Rates notice.

Landowners may register up to 3 vehicles.

How do I register to receive resident / landowner fares?

Kingborough Council will make contact with eligible residents and landowners with information about how to register for resident / landowner fares. In the interim, if there are any queries or concerns about resident / landowner registration please contact SeaLink directly. 

For the first 90 days of the new service, SeaLink will honour the existing Resident and Bruny Island stickers to allow plenty of time for residents and landowners to transition to the new system.

Business and Bulk Bookings

Will there be arrangements to prioritise the transport of time sensitive freight?

SeaLink will work with companies that carry sensitive freight (such as perishable items) as a priority to arrange to pre-book bulk departures, or create priority if they cannot ascertain what ferry they plan to be on. Priority boarding arrangements will continue for the school bus and emergency services vehicles and the new contract formalises a similar requirement for undertakers, livestock (where there is a risk to animal welfare caused by boarding delay), perishables and other time critical produce.

Will there be arrangements for regular suppliers to the Island? 

From 1 November 2018 regular suppliers to the island travelling in heavy vehicles will have confirmed bookings. SeaLink will work with businesses to establish accounts, forward booking schedules and contract rates.