Seeking economic and social success with sustainable urban ferry services

Authored by: James D. Frost , Mary R. Brooks

The Routledge Handbook of Public Transport

Print publication date:  May  2021
Online publication date:  May  2021

Print ISBN: 9780367418724
eBook ISBN: 9780367816698
Adobe ISBN:


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This chapter explores supply and demand conditions for successful ferry operations, including various vessel types and appropriate characteristics for differentiating maritime public transport services. Sustainable ferry operations require services that not only meet public transport requirements but also contribute to meeting ‘zero emissions’ targets set by the International Maritime Organization. The chapter sets out criteria for comparing maritime public transport options with traditional bus rapid transit (BRT), light rapid transit (LRT), and other options. The chapter then discusses the case of the Halifax Regional Municipality in Canada, where only conventional ferries have been chosen, BRT is evolving, commuter rail has been studied and rejected as an option, and LRT has not been considered. The case illustrates the key elements in a framework for examining alternative public transport options. Conclusions are drawn on how successful, sustainable ferry operations for a modern city can be implemented.

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