With residents of the western suburbs grappling with traffic congestion, a new ferry service hopes to link Werribee to the Docklands.
Businessman Paul Little put up $2.5 million to trial his Port Phillip Ferries concept after the Andrews Government refused a request to pitch in $500,000.
But Mr Little said he is now discussing a higher speed limit with safety authorities the viability of service hinges on it. With the current speed limit of 6-10 knots on the Yarra, the trip between Wyndham Harbour and Docklands would take 68 minutes.
While Mr Little believes there are no safety issues for increased speeds, Treasurer Tim Pallas said the State Government would need to be satisfied with the environmental implications of raising the Yarra speed limit for ferries.
Following initial testing, passenger services will start on May 16 and run for eight weeks using 35-metre long catamarans seating 400 people indoors. At the moment, one morning and one evening peak service is planned, with the possibility of an off-peak service during weekdays and weekend trips. A special $20 return fare is being offered during the trial period while the normal cost will be $25 for an online booking and $29 if bought on the day.
Parking at Wyndham Harbour marina will be included in the fare and ferries will have free wi-fi access. Mr Little said other stops such as Point Cook and Portarlington will be considered if demand is there.