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Prosperity will stall on clogged roads
City of South Perth CEO Cliff Frewing. Picture: Nic Ellis/The West Australian

With unprecedented population growth and traffic congestion to double in the next 10 years, the need for a diverse public transport system in Perth has never been greater, according to experts.

Business-backed think tank Committee for Perth indentified growing congestion and car dependence as a major weakness in a city that is expected to grow to 3.5 million people within 40 years.

In its recent report Towards a Bright Future, the committee calls for an integrated network that includes all modes of transport.

Edith Cowan University planning and transport expert Tim Perkins said there had been much talk about rail and light rail for Perth but other forms, such as ferries, should also be examined.

"Most transport planners in Perth are talking about rail and bus to meet our future needs and light rail as a new mode," he said.

"Ferries as yet have not been considered seriously, but they can be a viable transport method, as you can see in Brisbane and Sydney.

"It's important that all transport options are considered to keep Perth moving as we grow as a city."

South Perth chief executive Cliff Frewing said his council had campaigned to extend the ferry service to Coode Street for more than seven years and for more services from Mends Street for the past two years.

"With Elizabeth Quay on its way, car ownership figures up and congestion increasing on our roads, by the month it seems, it's more important than ever that we utilise our ferries," he said.

"If we had an extended and more frequent service, ferries would be more popular. If they ran every 15 minutes instead of every half an hour, for example, patronage would increase and it would get people off the roads."

According to the Public Transport Authority, ferry boardings increased 0.6 per cent last year to more than 470,000.

Two ferries operate between the city and South Perth providing 80 services on weekdays during summer and 60 on weekdays in winter.