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All Sydney Ferries Have Been Cancelled Because of the Bushfire Smoke

If you usually travel home via ferry, you'll need to make alternative plans.
By Lauren Vadnjal
December 10, 2019
By Lauren Vadnjal
December 10, 2019

If your daily commute involves ferrying across Sydney Harbour, you may need to find an alternative way home tonight. Thick smoke from NSW's ongoing bushfires has led to the cancellation of all State Government-operated ferry services.

That includes ferries running between Circular Quay and Manly, Parramatta, Double Bay, Mosman, Taronga, Neutral Bay and Watsons Bay. The Manly Fast Ferry has also stopped, but some other private services still seem to be running ferries. Yep, the smoke's that bad.


Replacement buses have been organised for the F1 Manly service only and will continue to run between Manly Wharf and Circular Quay for the foreseeable future. The other routes won't be receiving replacement buses, so Transport for NSW is telling commuters to delay their journeys.

There's no word on when the ferries will resume just yet — but it's safe to assume that you should plan an alternative route home. The Bureau of Meteorology predicts that the smoke cover will linger until a southerly comes through, around 5pm.

This is what it looks like on the harbour:

Today's thick smoke follows weeks of poor air quality, with a severe fire danger level (and total fire bans) declared across the Greater Sydney, Central Ranges, Illawarra, Greater Hunter and Southern Ranges areas for today. As of midday, the NSW Rural Fire Service was continuing to battle 85 fires across the state, 42 of which are uncontained.

And the smoke isn't just causing issues on the water — it's wreaking havoc across the city. According to The Sydney Morning Herald, Fire and Rescue NSW have responded to multiple alarm call-outs triggered by the smoke — including the paper's own offices — and Transport for NSW is also warning commuters that alarms may be activated in train stations.

During periods of  reduced air quality, NSW Health suggests that everyone cuts back on strenuous outdoor activities, as well as going outside in general — if you can. Those with chronic respiratory or heart conditions are especially advised to avoid all outdoor physical activity and stay indoors where possible. It's also recommended that you carry your inhaler, follow your Asthma Action Plan, and keep your other medication with you for all breathing-related conditions. If you start experiencing symptoms, even if you're otherwise fit and healthy, seek medical advice.

For those staying indoors, NSW Health also suggests turning your air conditioner on — if you have one — and using it on recirculate mode to keep the particles from outside out. With Sydney firmly in the grip of warm end-of-year weather, and temperatures expected to reach 37 in the city today, residents are also advised to be wary of the heat, as well as its combination with the hazy air. Drinking plenty of fluids, taking cool showers to keep your temperature down, soaking your feet in water and draping a wet cloth around your neck are also recommended.

For the latest updates on traffic and public transport delays, head to Live Traffic NSW and Transport for NSW's official Ferries Twitter account.

Image: Tim Snape. 

Published on December 10, 2019 by Lauren Vadnjal
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