New ferries can’t pass under bridges safely in NSW if passengers are on deck

The New South Wales government has confirmed that 10 new ferries will not be able to safely pass under bridges along the Parramatta River if commuters are sitting on the top decks.

The new River Class ferries will join the NSW transport fleet later in the year, operating along the Parramatta River and on inner harbour routes.

The new boats, built off-the-shelf in Indonesia, include an upper deck with 10 seats, but these commuters must be called below before the boat can travel under the Camellia Railway Bridge and the Gasworks Bridge near Parramatta, because the clearance levels of those vessels are insufficient.

A spokesperson for Transport for NSW said the practice of removing people from the top deck while travelling sections of the Parramatta River was not new. “The process of customers moving to the lower deck between Rydalmere and Parramatta [one stop] is already in place for the existing fleet of charter vessels currently used by Transdev Sydney Ferries,” the spokesperson said.