Perth's newest ferry will carry the name of famous Western Australian distance swimmer Shelley Taylor-Smith.
Premier Richard Court this morning officially commissioned Transperth's new $680,000 Swan River ferry the Shelley Taylor-Smith in the presence of the world champion swimmer.
Mr Court said it was appropriate that the new vessel carry the name of someone who also had a close association with Perth's beautiful Swan River.
He said the Shelley Taylor-Smith would become a familiar part of the Swan River scene, operating regularly between Perth's Barrack Street jetty and the Mends Street jetty in South Perth.
Mr Court said the 21.7m ferry, which was constructed by local company SBF Shipbuilders, had been specifically designed for people with disabilities.
The many features of the design included handgrips and high visibility handrails for the visually impaired. It was also suited for river use by being able to achieve high speeds using minimum horsepower creating low wash and minimising disturbance to banks or other vessels.
"The new ferry is part of the State Government's commitment to expand integrated public passenger transport in Perth and improve access to the system for people with disabilities," the Premier said.
"Under a successful program initiated by the Government Perth residents have already benefited from the implementation of the single ticketing system and the introduction of the CAT buses."
Mr Court said further improvements to the system were planned, with tenders being called for the installation of ramps to provide easy access for people with disabilities at the Mends and Barrack Street jetties by October.
The aluminium catamaran would replace the existing ferry, The Princess, and was designed to carry 144 passengers. The new ferry had a 50 per cent greater capacity and had provision for wheelchairs, bicycles and prams.
Mr Court said the State was very proud of the achievements of Ms Taylor-Smith, who had been an excellent ambassador for Western Australia during her many years as a successful international marathon swimmer.
Ms Taylor-Smith had recently returned from the Pan Pacific Swimming Championships in Japan where she won a gold medal in the 25km marathon and was now planning an attempt on the world record for a triple crossing relay of the English Channel.
More than 600,000 passengers were expected to travel on the ferry over the next 12 months.
Media contact: Casey Cahill 9222 9475