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Free ferry fares to Tassie after pandemic?

Free ferry fares to Tassie Tasmania

Tasmania wants to encourage domestic tourism with free or discounted fares for all vehicles including motorcycles on the Spirit of Tasmania ferry when the state reopens its borders after the pandemic closure.

Tourism Industry Council Tasmania CEO Luke Martin has called in the Federal Government to temporarily extend the Bass Strait Passenger Vehicle Equalisation Scheme that covers the gap between the true cost of taking a vehicle on the ferry and the ticket price.

That would make fares attractively cheap or even free.

Ferry proposalFree ferry fares to Tassie Tasmania

The proposal has been supported by Premier Peter Gutwein and the Motorcycle Riders Association (MRA) in Victoria who asks riders to email the Premier to show their support.

Luke says tourists spend an average of $2400 in the local economy.

Motorcycle tourists should be among the most desirable for local businesses, spending more than other motorists.

For example, Tourism Queensland estimates motorcycle tourists spend up to $160 a day in local communities on food, drink, accommodation, fuel and necessities, while caravaners are more self-contained and only spend about $40 a day.

A Spirit of Tasmania spokesperson says the current motorbike fare starts at $69 each way in the low tourist season.

It can rise to $99 in the high season or $109 for a flexi fare. Sidecars and trailers can lift the price to as much as $139 each way.

A discount or free fare would encourage more riders. Not that riders need much encouragement to head to Tassie. Charley Boorman rates it one of his favourite riding destinations.

Safe travels

The Tasmanian Government loves to welcome visiting motorcyclists, but also promotes important road safety messages about roads and riding conditions in Tasmania.

They have produced a Tasmanian Motorcycle Travel Guide video which is given to all motorcyclists when they board the Spirit of Tasmania.

It is one of many motorcycle-oriented tourism videos they have released.

In 2015, they produced a video featuring multi-Australian Superbike Champion Malcolm Campbell and interstate motorcycle club member Lester Knowles riding around the state and pointing out the features and dangers.

Each year the video is updated.

Road safety billboards and posters are also displayed on popular riding routes.

  1. Tasmania is a great place to ride and it is motorcycle friendly. The MRA in Victoria supports the idea that road motorcycles, scooters and three-wheelers should be carried free on the Bass Strait ferries as a permanent change not a short term fix. Riders spend money on the ships and money saved on passage is likely to be spent on the Island. Families with members on both sides of Bass Strait would be able to get together more often. Please email Tasmanian Premier Gutwein to let him know what you think. Add your post code, state or territory.

  2. Hopefully it’ll be cheaper in both directions and stay that way – great for tourism. I’ve looked at taking the ferry, but much of the time once you work out the total costs it is far cheaper to fly up / down and hire a car or bike at the other end.

  3. Have toured parts of Tas several times. Was there in Feb this year. Absolutely, positively would go more often, maybe annually if ferry was free and other mates would do the same.

  4. When I have looked at this previously it was not the cost of the bike that was the issue it was the cost of the person that blew out the costs. Several trips to Phillip Island we have looked at a trip down to Tasmania and getting a booking that did not involve several hundreds in cabin fees was the issue.

  5. Need to fix the issues with compulsory third party insurance and ambulance cover for riders from nsw who travel to Tas.

  6. Mark, discussion could take place on our 4 day excursion from the 13th June, but Jim and myself plus a couple of others have already voiced a possibility of heading to Tassie early next year to do exactly this, but the ferry option would probably not apply to us as we will be FIFO and hire bikes possible over in Tassie. Mates in Melbourne would take up the offer of free ferry to Tasssies though I am sure.
    Something worth considering rather than flying over the ditch and spending money on some other countries econony and instead helping out Tassie where it is definately needed.

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