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CityCats get extra set of eyes

12 July, 2010

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman will soon begin rolling out infrared cameras on all CityCat ferries that will help spot rowers on the river in low light.

Cr Newman instigated a trial of the technology in April last year based on recommendations handed down by the Lord Mayor’s Taskforce on River Safety, which he set up in 2008 after a rowboat and CityCat collided on the Brisbane River.

The Lord Mayor said the trial had been a success and the cameras were now being installed on each of Council’s 16 CityCat ferries.

He also announced today that Council would soon begin trialling a new safety system that uses flashing lights to warn rowers that CityCat ferries were docking in the area.

“My Can Do team is taking Brisbane’s CityCat fleet to a record 19 vessels in the next two years so we need to make sure ferries and rowers can safely coexist as river traffic increases,” he said.

In 2009-10, the Lord Mayor allocated $400,000 to enhance river safety, including these two projects.

Last year the Lord Mayor also gave Rowing Queensland $100,000 towards the cost of installing warning lights on all rowing boats using the Brisbane River and announced plans for rowers to wear reflective vests and abide by a code of conduct while on the water.

The infrared cameras use thermal technology and glow when an object emitting heat appears in front of a CityCat ferry. They can also pan, tilt and zoom to suit conditions.

Cr Newman said the cameras provided another set of eyes for Ferry Masters at dawn or dusk and during foggy weather and would cost about $20,000 per vessel to install. The rollout is currently in the tendering stage and is expected to begin next month.

He said the technology had been built into recent additions to the fleet during their construction, including the city’s 16th CityCat ferry Gootcha, which he launched last week, and would be retrofitted in all older vessels.

The safety trial involves placing a lighting strip close to the waterline at the pontoon which, using an automatic triggering system, will light up when a CityCat approaches the terminal.

It began this month at the Guyatt Park terminal at a cost of about $40,000 and will run until November to coincide with the school rowing season.

The Lord Mayor also launched Brisbane’s first-ever express CityCat services early this year, which run direct between the Hawthorne and Riverside stops in the morning peak.

CityCat patronage has skyrocketed by a record 93 per cent since the Lord Mayor was first elected thanks to his plan to take Brisbane’s fleet to a record 19 by 2012

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