A number of residents from Port Macquarie's North Shore believe a second trial for the extension of the Hibbard Ferry's operating hours is needed to gauge more accurate numbers.
Council is currently in the final week of the trial extension for the ferry, with times being extended by one hour and 15 minutes each day.
North Shore resident and president of the Northside Progress Association Kerry Fox said more communication was needed to inform residents of the trial.
"Residents are disappointed that this trial has been conducted with a lack of communication. Council announced in a Facebook post that the trial was taking place, but not everyone has access to Facebook," she said.
Ms Fox started a change.org petition in September last year to extend the hours of the ferry.
"With the increased traffic, it was starting to become a big problem," she said.
Ms Fox said there have been a number of discussions at council meetings regarding the trial extension of operating hours for the ferry, but due to the lack of resident communication about the original trial, a second trial is needed.
"It's almost like it has been set up to fail," she said.
"A number of residents weren't aware of the trial and because we asked council to outline the amount of communication they had done, in the last two weeks they have suddenly started advertising it and putting up signs at the ferry.
"The mayor has always supported the North Shore, but we believe there needs to be another trial that all residents know about to get a better understanding of when people use the service.
"A positive of the trial is that it has helped parents who need to pick their children up from school in the afternoons."
Ms Fox is on the council election ticket for Hastings First in the upcoming 2021 Local Government Elections to be held on December 4.
Council's director of infrastructure Dan Bylsma said the trial gives council an opportunity to assess the feasibility of operating hours.
"As needs change in our community, we need to regularly take stock and review our service levels, expectations, and pricing," he said.
Council has crunched the numbers and an extension of operating hours for the Hibbard Ferry would add more than $22,000 per year to the running costs.
"This could see an increase in ferry charges to users by approximately three per cent if council was to recover this additional expense," Mr Bylsma said.
Ms Fox said a number of residents don't agree with the potential cost increase if the hours are extended beyond the trial.
"Is council also going to ask the residents of Rawdon Island to cover the cost of a new bridge? The ferry is our road," she said.
"We don't know how they would go about collecting the extra money for the operation of the ferry.
"Residents aren't happy about it, but it isn't set in stone until the end of the trial."
Mr Bylsma said the trial data will be collated at the end of the trial period for presentation back to council.
"Rates do need to reflect the level of services provided, so we can make sure we're meeting the needs of each of our residents, and that's why we're building a business case - to make sure we make the right move," he said.
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