It's still happening: Otago Regional Council's confirmed a subsidised ferry service on Lake Whakatipu will still happen, but has been delayed


As Rachel Hunter might say, it won’t happen overnight, but it will happen.

That’s the word from the Otago Regional Council, which tells Mountain Scene the long-awaited trial of a subsidised ferry service on Lake Whakatipu will happen, but won’t start next month as originally planned because of Covid-19.

Regional council media man Ryan Tippett confirms it’s agreed to run the trial, and funds have been set aside in the annual plan for the current financial year.

In January, the council agreed to subsidise the existing service, Go Orange’s Queenstown Ferries, while it planned a new, subsidised service.

It called for public submissions, over April and May, on a service with a timetable, routes and stops similar to the existing one, and a fare of about $4 a trip for multi-trip users.

The council also asked residents about the targeted rates regime they would prefer for funding the trial, and whether, in the light of the pandemic, whether it should start next month or some time later.

It got 185 submissions that provided, according to the annual plan, ‘resounding feedback’’ that funding for the trial be allocated.

In its annual plan, finalised in June, the regional council agreed to begin the trial during the current financial year.

That means it’ll have to start some time before the end of this coming June.

Funding for it will come out of $7.8 million allocated for public transport in the Whakatipu.