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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Sorry if this has already been raised, or if the issue should have been posted elsewhere, but I was wondering what people's views are on transport spanning the Mersey.

Apart from tight, congested tunnel crossings and an equally unsatisfactory bridge way down river, the obvious solution of increasing public transport through new, affordable ferries has not been invested in (AFAIK).

The current Mersey ferries are expensive, old and only really hold novelty value - but you only have to look at other cities around Europe to see how effective ferry transportation could be.

Venice has its Vaporetto service, which is hugely popular and can haul thousands of commuters and tourists around the city quickly and easily. Even visiting in late November I found myself propped up by shear mass of people squashed together while hitching rides on the service.

Istanbul has a similar system crossing the Bosphorus and is preparing to introduce a new water taxi service to add efficiency and comfort on journeys.

With a growing trade in tourism and many other sectors anticipated, surely a much more modern, afforable and efficient system connecting Liverpool to the Wirral suburbs is necessary? Park and ride schemes from Woodside/Seacombe and perhaps even a small car ferry (as in Plymouth Sound?) could benefit transportation to and from the city.

I'd say enough people drive to/from Liverpool a day from Wirral to suggest there would be demand for such a service.
 

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Good points, although as far as I know the Venice Lagoon does not get the sort of surges and waves the Mersey gets, so I'm not sure I'd be confident crossing the Mersey in a little water bus in the middle of winter. It's a pretty scarey river sometimes. On my last trip I went on a nicely refurbished old ferry, I think it was the snowdrop - there is even a disabled toilet in it.

The depressing thing is the lack of traffic. They seem to have a pretty minimimal commuter service, then it hands over to a sort of mini-cruise sort of thing during the day, for tourists or day-trippers, and the last ferry is extremely early, around 7 or 7.30 in the evening I think. Maybe there is a better summer service.

It's a tricky one, because you don't want to undermine the viabilty of the railways - the use of those is a bit sparse I think, and the frequencies not very good, so would be robbing Peter to pay Paul to try to divert some people off the trains and onto the ferries. Park and Ride is an excellent idea though, if you could incorporate large multi-stories into redeveloped ferry termini.

A practical way I can think of improving the situation is, as I've suggested in another thread, for Wirral Council to have a 'tall buildings' policy based around Woodside and Seacombe terminals (and, if it was succesful, to possibly do same at New Brighton, and re-introduce ferries there). In the case of Woodside, this actually links up with the CBD of Birkenhead anyway, so would simply be stretching the town centre a bit further riverwards. I think it would be a very useful complement to Liverpool CBD (I perceive them more as "left" and "right" banks of one city than competing centres).

Commuters could live in the towers, enjoying river views and the dramatic panorama of Liverpool, and be able to hop on the ferry and walk to work, if they work in the city centre that is, and I know not everyone does. Retirees could live in them as well, and take nice walks along the prom, and to Liverpool for their shopping and their afternoon cups of tea, so I think there must a lot of demand out there to fill a cluster of residential towers around each terminal. So I think you could grow demand for the ferries that way.

Throw in a hotel and a small office tower, plus shops, car parks and services, and you'd quickly have the start of a nice looking coastline. Being boring and repeating what I have written on another thread, I think that more people, including tourists, would use the ferries if it was worth getting off at the other side for just half an hour or an hour to do something. So a high level observation deck in one of the towers, to enjoy the fantastic views of Liverpool, and cafes and restaurants and bars at roof level, would make it more of a trip - so make more people likely to get on the ferry in the first place.

Howevever, would still be a need for later night ferries I think... Maybe the developers could chip in to subsidise later ferries?

A quick question, if I am right that (God knows why) the city council didn't have the common sense to route one of the tram routes via the airport, is if it would be feasible to have a Pier-Head to Liverpool Airport boat service? Maybe that could scoot across to Wodside as well, to make it easier for people from Wirral and North Wales to get to the airport by public transport.
 

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I have always been impressed by the under ground rail service. I used to go out with a girl who lived in Birkenhead about 5 years ago. I'd take the bus from Runcorn into Liverpool, or the train into Lime Street; then I'd hop on the underground and get off at Birkenhead Park. I remember the trains being frequent and the journey from Lime St or Central Station taking about 8 mins. In just 8 mins. (-might be exaggerating) I could go from Liverpool city to one of the best parks in the North West- in fact you can stay on the train and go to the coast.

I seem to remember the last service being just before mid-night- it saved me on so many occasions.

I think the underground, in terms of cost and time consumption is the best means of public transport for crossing the river. It looks incredibly dated though- the stations are so dark and dingy looking. Shame
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
Hey Liverpolitan. I agree that the Mersey would probably need its own custom made fleet of vessels to withstand the weather on the estuary - Venice is indeed much more sheltered, but such ferries on the Bosphorus should stand up to rough weather so they may set an example. The multi hulled water taxis I linked to are a good idea as their design inreases stability and comfort for a passenger. Catarmarans are also very speedy, hence their design being used by top sailors.

I also agree with the unification of both sides of the Mersey. It makes sense, plus a decent ferry service could feed a desperate need for regeneration in Birkenhead. While Liverpool steams ahead, Birkenhead really is dragging its heels and the North end is just dire. There is no need for competition; Birkenhead grew as a commuter suburb of Liverpool in the first place, Liverpool has always been the region's administrative centre. Small minded attitudes towards peripheral areas won't benefit Liverpool CBD in the long run.

Residential towers in Woodside would make sense as the inhabitants would have easy access to both the city and more rural, relaxing areas such as West Kirby and North Wales - as originally was the case when the area became popular in Victorian times. Perhaps towers accommodating more space for small families and the like.

I think the Albert and Princes Dock areas would be hotspots for new river crossings. It would further increase modernity and bring life to the redeveloped docks. The round route as suggested by Liverpolitan is also a good one, with stops stretching from say Princes Dock to JLA and across to the Wirral.

After your stay at the brand new Malmaison hotel , what better way to end your visit than to cruise down the world famous waterfront to JLA for your flight home?

I suppose the main issue however, as raised already, would be demand.
 

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If markets are left to govern transport development then I don't think the water crossing transport can compete with the tunnels (road and rail.) The ferries are superb for tourists and for locals who might want the odd novelty trip into work. But the whole process is just so time consuming compared to the undergound- which can drop you in the middle of town, and is faster both in transit and in 'loading' time. Also, trains don't make you sea sick :)

Isn't it cheaper to take the tube as well?
 

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It is interesting that the decline of the ferries and the decline of Birkenhead went almost hand in hand. William Laird saw Birkenhead as the 'city of the future' back in the 1840s and laid it out with a Manhattan gridiron but in the end, only Hamilton Square was built to his vision.

The coming of the railway made a major change to commuter patterns. Whilst, in the old days, water transport was far more efficient and cheaper than land transport, making Birkenhead an ideal commuter suburb for Liverpool, the Mersey Railway reversed this. The traders of Birkenhead hated the railway and nicknamed it 'the sewer' as it enabled customers to by-pass the town to the leafier suburbs and villages of Wirral.

The ferries still had the upper hand when it came to transporting goods as the plans to extend the Mersey Railway to railway goods yards was never carried out. Carts and lorries could use the ferries via the old floating roadways but all this could not compete with direct road access when the Queensway Tunnel opened.

In my lifetime, the ferries have never been more than a pleasant but more time consuming way to cross the river - mainly in the summer. I think though that more development in the Woodside area could change that, as Liverpolitan suggests.

I would keep the old ferry boats as speed is not important for the river crossing. I remember when a fast jet foil service was established for a short while in the early '80s. It just took all the fun out of the crossing and was still not competitive with road or rail.

Having said that, some sort of fast zig-zag service across the river might be viable, especially if it was extended to the airport. I would be sceptical though as a commuter service on the Thames from central London to Canary Wharf, established in the early Nineties did not prove viable in the long run.

The other problem with an airport connection is the fact that the airport terminal is the wrong side of the runway from the river and might require some long bus service from the landing stage, assuming that a landing stage was feasible in that area. However, it is an idea worth consideration.
 

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Martin S said:
The other problem with an airport connection is the fact that the airport terminal is the wrong side of the runway from the river and might require some long bus service from the landing stage, assuming that a landing stage was feasible in that area. However, it is an idea worth consideration.
There was some talk about building a new terminal on the river side of the runway.
If that came about then a ferry service might become viable. :cheers:
 

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Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Ta for the info guys. So it seems demand for such a service as a serious means of transport would probably be low, although I still think a scheme of some type should be revived as the city regenerates and the population rises again.

I never knew they'd tried the fast crossing in the 80's either, it was this sort of method that I thought would be popular. An interdocks shuttle, when all this mass of resi blocks and towers go up may do some trade, a bit like the tourist duck thing does now.
 

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In time for ECoC 2008 if not for Liverpool 800 - 2007

In time for ECoC 2008 if not for Liverpool 800 - 2007

Given that the `Mersey Ferries` are reputed to be the worlds oldest `regular ferry service` - dating back to 1150 they should be equally celebrated during ECoC etc.

(Personally I think Birkenhead should buy a few new ones as our birthday present......... :) :) :) )

http://www.merseyferries.co.uk/ The worlds oldest regular ferry service.....

http://www.nywaterway.com/ The civilised commute.....
http://www.sydneyferries.info/ 135 years of service.....
http://www.discoverhongkong.com/eng/mustknow/information/mk_info_gett5.jhtml Hong Kong tourism.....
http://www.baylinkferry.com/ and San Francisco.....
http://sanfrancisco.about.com/cs/familyactivities/a/ferrybldg.htm

On a more serious note I believe that a new ferry service between Crosby (sea wall / POL radar station area) and New Brighton would work - thus linking directly the higher end of the mersey boroughs - Wirral and Sefton.

Obviously this would also mean that additional sailings could take place from Liverpool, Birkenhead and Wallasey for additional tourism (ticks the box) and commuting as deemed viable.

Also new landing stages at New Ferry and reinstating the IGF ferry stop last used in 1984 or a new one nearer Otterspool - which would be handy for St Michaels - Merseyrail station.

And we should be thinking of `Fast Ferries` into North Wales as not much is happening on the railways front!

(See also Miami on the Mersey........potential, potential, potential!!!)
 

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This is a great idea and I think that it should be exploited more!.

About a month or so ago there was a power failure in the James St/Hamilton Sq area and lots of people in my workplace got the ferry over, they said it was a novelty to do this & wondered why there wasnt a regular service.

My brother lives in Sydney and I went to visit him in May. He lives in a place called Manly Beach and it is accessible by "rocket" ferry in 20 mins, if you travelled from Manly to Sydney by bus or car it would take about an hour and a half and you have to pay the equivelant of the ferry fare to cross the Sydney Harbour bridge. They also have a ferry terminal which is quite big and you can get ferries to almost everywhere, even just a short ride to the Olympic Park. Its also sold as more environmentally friendly due to less people using cars.

Liverpool could be like Sydney and have (as far as I am aware) something that no other city in Britain has, a proper, regular & reliable ferry transport service. That would be another Unique Selling Point for Liverpool. The traffic in the city centre is getting bad too, so maybe people travelling from the Wirral, Sefton or Otterspool by boat would reduce it.
 

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Indeed I did, also went into the barbecue rib place on the front where all the rugby teams ate in the 2003 world cup.

Loads of Liverpool related places everywhere in that part of the world. Liverpool the suburb of SydneyWent to Birkenhead over the water from Auckland, even Singapore has an Everton street near the cable car station
 

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John Matrix 1985 said:
Indeed I did, also went into the barbecue rib place on the front where all the rugby teams ate in the 2003 world cup.

Loads of Liverpool related places everywhere in that part of the world. Liverpool the suburb of SydneyWent to Birkenhead over the water from Auckland, even Singapore has an Everton street near the cable car station
Oops! Sorry can't seem to post pictures to the forum.
 

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Only 7th most famous? How rude! No respect.

Martin S said:
There has been some justifiable criticism on these threads of the number of times the phrase 'world class' is used to glamourise the most run of the mill developments.

So lets forget about the world class public toilets, litter bins and bus shelters and concentrate on what in this city and region is really 'world class'. By that I don't mean necessarily the best in the world but those things that bear comparison to the best that the world has to offer. It might be a modern building, a cultural event, something from the city's history etc. My own suggestions are as follows:

1) The Beatles

Liverpool's tourist industry may go on about the Fab Four ad nauseum but how many other figures from popular culture have had so much impact on the entire world?

2) Liverpool Anglican Cathedral

The largest Anglican Cathedral in the world and the seventh largest of any denomination.

3) The Queensway Tunnel

Longest road tunnel in the world when built, still the longest in Britain and one of the largest underwater tunnels in the world, conceived on a heroic scale with marvellous art deco architecture.

4) The Grand National

Most famous steeplechase in the world, watched every year by hundreds of millions.

5) The Mersey Docks

In their heyday, the nine miles of docks along the Liverpool waterfront were one of the greatest sights in world shipping.

6) The Liver Bird

Other cities have mythical beasts as symbols but the Liver Bird is unique to Liverpool and its perch 300' above the city must make it one of the most famous civic symbols anywhere.

7) The Liverpool and Manchester Railway

By no means the first ever railway but the L&MR marked the beginning of the modern passenger railway which was to conquer the world.

8) The Williamson Tunnels

Virtually forgotten for ages but now recognised as one of the most extensive and magnificent underground follies to be found anywhere. Maybe not as famous as the Paris catacombs but they are still finding more and more of them.

9) The Mersey Ferries

A Sunday Times poll a few years ago listed these as the seventh most famous ferries in the world. When you consider that the competition included New York's Staten Island Ferry, Hong Kong's Star Ferry and the Sydney Harbour Ferry you realise that they are a world class attraction.


10) The New Brighton Tower

Sadly no longer with us but this tower would have been second only to the Eiffel Tower in Paris in terms of height. New York had nothing to compare at the time.

11) The Northern Airport Terminal

Probably the greatest survival from the early days of aviation. This magnificent terminal built in the Art Deco style has no rival in Britain and only Berlin's Templehof matches if for size and spendour in Europe.

12) St Georges Hall

One of the finest public buildings in the world, a one hit wonder for Harvey Lonsdale Elmes its 24 year old architect.

13) Oriel Chambers

and

14) 16 Cook Street

These buildings by architect Peter Ellis were completely revolutionary when built and are suspected to have influenced the early Chicago skyscrapers.

That's all I can think of at the moment, any more suggestions or comments on my list?
Worth a ferry trip any day!
 

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Mersey Ferry to Salford Quays or vice versa.

I`ve done the trip from Salford Quays back to Liverpool and it was well worth the effort as it was a glorious day and the Mersey Basin was entered at high tide.....spectacular views of Liverpool arriving from down river.

http://www.manchesteronline.co.uk/ewm/001ewm/035_salquays/index2.html

Overall a splendid journey made even more enjoyable with sunbathing on deck chairs and a well planned picnic basket.

:cheers:
 
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