With Mass Transit expansion, you can take control of waterways. Ferries are boats that travel on ferry lines, taking passengers from stop to stop. They can go on open water or use canals, allowing them to work inner city routes as a transport system that is not affected by traffic on roads.
Setting up a ferry line
To get ferries going, first you should check what kind of lines you want to make. If you have a city that is partly on islands, ferries are a great option. City centers with canals are also very good places for ferry stops. Once you have a plan, start with placing a Ferry Depot. The Depot is not connected to any lines, but naturally it needs to have access to lines so it can send out ferries. The Depot can house an unlimited amount of ferries, and they are automatically sent out to lines. The amount of ferries sent out is determined by the budget. A new feature is that you can fine tune the amount of vehicles per line when you open the line’s information window. The setting basically shifts the vehicles determined by the budget to go more often to lines where the setting is high, and less often to lines where the setting is low. Every line still gets vehicles automatically. This setting is also available on other public transport types.
After the Depot is placed, you can place Stops and Piers. Stops are very small and don’t have a lot of room for waiting passengers, so they work the best on fast routes with lots of vehicles. Piers are larger and allow two ferries to dock at the same time. Piers perform well on longer distances with many passengers. When stops and piers are in place, it’s time to mark where you want the ferries to go. Ferries need Pathways so they can find their way from stop to stop. Pathways are not lines, but markers, sort of watercourses. Many lines can use the same Pathways. Depot also need Pathway connections to lines, so ferries can find their way from the depot to the lines. Canals automatically have Pathways that are built with the canals, so for lines that go mostly in canals, you only need to make sure there’s Pathway access to the Depot.
A Ferry Pier
When Pathways mark where ferries should travel, you can build lines. Lines are pretty straighforward, you click on stops and/or pier in the order you want them to be visited. Lines must start and end on the same stop. Once a line is finished, it automatically starts to operate and the Depot sends vehicles to service it.
Building a Pathway
You can use Pathways to very carefully mark where the vehicles go, so they will be on the most optimal route or maybe the most scenic one, if that is what you are after. Pathways are like roads to ferries, needed to find their way on open water, but very flexible to build with the same kind odf curve tools as roads have. Naturally you can’t do tunnels or bridges (even if it would be cool!) but the tools for straight, curved and curvy Pathways are there.
The free update coming along with the expansion adds new wide canals to the landscaping menu. The wide variety has more space for Ferries, and still does not take up much space. Combining wide and regular canals allows for various canal systems and the different depths in both varieties give control over how much water is let into canals.
In the regular canals ferries cannot pass each other, unless one is at a stop. In wide canals ferries have room to pass each other by easily. All canal varieties automatically create Pathways when they are built. The Pathways are not visible unless you are using the Ferry Line or Ferry Pathway tool, so they do not hinder you in any way from building canals just to move water or make the city more beautiful.
Wide canal on the left, regular canal on the right.
Island and streams
Ferries allow you to lessen traffic on bridges and make islands part of your city more easily. Rivers and streams now have whole different meaning to city planning, and a well placed canal can help out a lot in a city riddled with traffic jams. Ferries are compatible with existing saves, so you can easily add them to your cities to allows for more options. Aren’t you excited yet?