back to article A bridge too far: Passengers on Sydney's new ferries would get 'their heads knocked off' on upper deck, say politicos

As if we needed a reminder that joined-up thinking in government is rarer than hens' teeth, New South Wales has bought 10 River Class ferries that won't fit under two bridges in Sydney's Parramatta suburb if people are sitting on the upper deck. Well, they will – just – but a public transport association has suggested the …

  1. Azamino
    Pirate

    Thinking outside the box

    Don't waste your time raising the bridges, simply flood the bottom few decks of the ferry so that it floats much, much, lower in the water.

    Obvious icon!

    1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Thinking outside the box

      Nah, take some water out of the river.

      1. Woza

        Re: Thinking outside the box

        The Goon show called it 65 years ago:

        Seagoon:

        Tell me, how do we raise the pier?

        Moriarty:

        Oh, don't raise the pier!

        Seagoon:

        What then?

        Moriarty:

        Lower the river!

        Seagoon:

        Gad! Genius! Absolute genius! But, but can you do it?

        Moriarty:

        Sapristi yacka-backakas of course I can. My partner, the Honourable Grytpype-Thynne is the greatest water remover in the world! Follow me!

        1. hoopsa

          Re: Thinking outside the box

          For those who doubt that this would be possible, I seem to recall that Grytpype-Thynne and Moriarty successfully lowered the level of Loch Lomond by the simple expedient of getting Ned Seagoon to drink from it. While I concede that a Loch is not a river, their solution to the level rising was simply to make him drink faster and I see no reason why it wouldn't also work on the Parramatta River.

          1. ralphh

            Re: Thinking outside the box

            Neddie, would you like a drink?

            1. Flywheel Silver badge

              Re: Thinking outside the box

              Bluebottle would have been more willing...

          2. Black Betty
            Pint

            Re: Thinking outside the box

            You want someone to drink WATER in Australia?

            Obvious icon.

            1. Trigonoceps occipitalis

              Re: Thinking outside the box

              "You want someone to drink WATER in Australia?"

              They do, only they call it beer.

        2. Chloe Cresswell

          Re: Thinking outside the box

          My favourite bit is where Moriarty's card lists him as a sunken Westminster pier specialist.. "At last! Employment!"

        3. Commswonk Silver badge

          Re: Thinking outside the box

          The Goon show called it 65 years ago:

          Can I include Little Jim with...

          He's fallen in the water.

          Seems a pity to miss him out, given the subject.

          1. This post has been deleted by its author

        4. T. F. M. Reader

          Re: Thinking outside the box

          Alternatively, bring in Danny and Rusty and the gang, threaten them appropriately, give then till next Tuesday or something, and they'll raise the bridge pillars...

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Thinking outside the voting booth

      In these days of hypernationalism the solution is simple.

      Bring a nicely sized Australian flag onto the top deck and video it being chopped down and thrown into the water by the bridge. Faster 'n you can say 'votes' there'll boats returned, funds for proper Australian ferries being built provided for, etc. etc., done!

      It will take a long time to actually build boats for those routes, but the return in votes will be immediate. Done!

    3. cortland

      Re: Thinking outside the box

      Then there's that sinking feeling...

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They could

    Dredge out the bottom so the sea level went down.

    Or flood the bilges and lower the boat.

    Or replace all the bridges with London Bridge type opening bridges.

    Have a nice day!

    1. Timbo

      Re: They could

      "Dredge out the bottom so the sea level went down."

      That, clearly won't work as water finds it own level...and dredging the bottom of the river will just allow more water to fill the gap.

      "Or flood the bilges and lower the boat."

      That makes more sense...as long as the bilges are large enough. Another option would be to add more ballast so the boat sits lower in the water

      "Or replace all the bridges with London Bridge type opening bridges."

      OK - that's the one - and as you thought of it first, so can you send them some money to cover the costs of your brainwave please.

      PS I think you meant TOWER Bridge. :-)

      1. Stephen Beynon

        Re: They could

        ""Dredge out the bottom so the sea level went down."

        That, clearly won't work as water finds it own level...and dredging the bottom of the river will just allow more water to fill the gap."

        You are thinking small. If you dredge deep enough then eventually there will not be enough water to fill the gap and job done !

        Admittedly raising the bridge is probably less work.

        1. iGNgnorr

          Re: They could

          "You are thinking small. If you dredge deep enough then eventually there will not be enough water to fill the gap and job done !"

          I've heard people ask (here in Blighty) whether someone digging a hole was trying to get to Australia, so if those down under start digging in the opposite direction, they may meet in the middle. I'm not sure this solves the original problem however.

          1. ericsmith881

            Re: They could

            You neglected the fact that when the two holes meet, both parties will be upside down with respect to one another. Any Aussie walking out the British side would fall up into the sky. Likewise for any Brit exiting the Aussie side. You canna change the laws of physics! ;)

            1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

              Re: They could

              if you jumped down the hole you'd decelerate on the other side just in time to step out of the ozzies hole , air resistance not withstanding.

              Even weirder , the same applies to any straight line tunnel dug thorough the Earth regardless of wether it goes through the centre. friction and air resistance not withstanding.

              1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

                Re: They could

                I think I saw a documentary where people travelled in a big cylinder from one side of the world to the other. They overcame the "upside down" issue by swivelling the chairs around as they passed the halfway mark. Or maybe that's just a fake implanted memory.

                1. zemm

                  Re: They could

                  I totally recall seeing that documentary too! It would be exciting to visit Western Europe with minutes of travel instead of a whole day of flying around the long way!

              2. KarMann Bronze badge
                Boffin

                Re: They could

                Well, air resistance, plus Coriolis effect, notwithstanding. The only places it would work like that are from one pole to the other. Anywhere else, you're going to have the velocity of the surface you jumped from, plus the acceleration accumulated since then, so as the velocity of the tunnel at your distance decreases linearly approaching the centre, and the horizontal component of your velocity stays the same, you're going to smash into the sides, and probably fairly soon.

                Some of the more esoteric possibilities include tunnels with a zig and a zag in them to follow the path a falling object will take. If you ignore air resistance (again), it's not too hard to work out the appropriate shape of the curve.

        2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

          Re: They could

          "You are thinking small. If you dredge deep enough then eventually there will not be enough water to fill the gap and job done !"

          You might be on to something there. When the ferries were ordered, sea level was lower, but due to climate change, the sea levels have risen and now the ferries are "too tall". If we dredge all the rivers and harbours around the world enough, that should drop the sea levels back to whatever we all agree is "normal". After all, it's been reported that the "pause" in sea level rise during the 70s and 80s was due to large numbers of massive damns being built, so there is precedent :-)

        3. Timbo

          Re: They could

          "You are thinking small. If you dredge deep enough then eventually there will not be enough water to fill the gap and job done !"

          Well, the Parramatta River drains into the Tasman Sea - and hence is linked to the Pacific, Atlantic, Indian and every other ocean...

          Also, one would need to dredge a VERY, VERY. VERY long way down to be able to drain most of the oceans.

          A simpler way would be to just put in a "lock" (at an appropriate place) and thereby have control over the height of the inland waterway.

          "Admittedly raising the bridge is probably less work."

          Just a bit !!

      2. MyffyW Silver badge

        Re: They could

        @Timbo, maybe AC meant the London Bridge which now graces Lake Havasu, Arizona? That bridge could really move.

        1. Ken Shabby
          Thumb Up

          Re: They could

          The solution, move all the bridges on the Parramatta river to Arizona.

      3. John Jennings Bronze badge

        Re: They could

        A typical passenger ferry only sits in 5-8 feet of water. You cant drop them much ususally - a matter of a few inches usually or all sorts of breakages happen.

        Also have to consider the bottom of the river/runagrounds if they go deeper.

        Also may have to rengineer the docks at either end to have passengers get on and off - the access ramps need to be approximately level in rivers - in tides they may have to float to maintain a level. The problem happens then if other passenger ferries also need to use the same docks - obvious hilarity.

        The cost of changing to swing bridges (and the disruption they cause) also needs to be factored into the life of the bridge. Swing bridges take years to implement, and cause disruption to traffic on a regular basis. The lifespan of a bridge is longer than a ferry, generally.

        Finally, rivers change height too - every few years a flood (rarer in Australia than most places, I am sure) might add feet to the height of the river at times - again causing disruption to service. I do not like taking a boat under a bridge with less than 10 feet clearance for safety and sanity.... passenger ferries might do 10 knots or more down stream - thats a LOT of kinetic energy to hit a bridge from the side....

        Scrap the ferries or modify them and fire the procurement team.

        1. jelabarre59 Silver badge

          Re: They could

          Scrap the ferries or modify them and fire the procurement team.

          I think it needs to be done in the opposite order, lest the procurement team get a chance to make more screwups before they leave.

          1. MyffyW Silver badge

            Re: They could

            Give the procurement team a party on the top deck, go for a nighttime cruise around Sydney, problem solved. Might need to sluice the decks down afterwards

      4. hoola Bronze badge

        Re: They could

        Flood the bilges too much and then it will turn into a submarine as water pours in through the windows. All up to the top deck......

    2. Falmari
      Facepalm

      Re: They could

      Cause that works so well.

      https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-london-53877433

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They could

        Cause that works so well

        Yeah but that was just kids mucking about and putting Viagra in the bridge's hydraulic system...

    3. sanmigueelbeer Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: They could

      Or flood the bilges and lower the boat

      The idea will go down well.

      1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

        Re: They could

        You could just add some sponges to the water to soak it up and lower the water level

      2. ericsmith881

        Re: They could

        I think that idea is *starting to sink in!*

    4. katrinab Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: They could

      London Bridge is a very boring 1970s concrete motorway bridge

      https://www.google.co.uk/maps/@51.5085057,-0.0902752,3a,75y,102.16h,92.96t/data=!3m6!1e1!3m4!1sJ1R6us0iIXMkdNCDDWVGuQ!2e0!7i13312!8i6656

      Are you sure you don't want the next bridge downstream which is Tower Bridge?

      1. John Doe 12

        Re: They could

        I suspect he might have been talking about it's predecessor. Like that London Bridge you could dismantle it and sell it off to some dumb ass American with more money than sense and hey presto - no more bridge problem :-D

      2. rg287

        Re: They could

        London Bridge is a very boring 1970s concrete motorway bridge

        But it has a rifle range in the southern footing, so it's got that going for it!

        As often happens, more interesting on the inside.

        1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

          Re: They could

          >But it has a rifle range in the southern footing, so it's got that going for it!

          I believe it's called 'sarf london' and AFAIK it isn't restricted to rifles

    5. Bowlers

      Re: They could

      A pumped lock either side of the bridge could work, but would add time to the journey so could charge more. Win.

  3. Sykowasp

    I expect the final solution will be the upper deck being completely blocked off on routes that go via these bridges. It will be too much hassle to get everyone off the decks in time on each journey, and having the boat creep under the bridge each time just in case someone was missed.

    If every route goes via these bridges, then the upper decks will be permanently closed. Great value for money there!

    1. Twanky Silver badge

      Close the upper deck

      I wanted to make the same point about the obvious solution being to close the upper deck. From the article that seems to mean losing just ten seats. Not sure what fraction of capacity that is but it doesn't seem such a bad deal if it saved having something bespoke built.

      Mind you, clearance of a few cm seems a bit tight. I'd want at least 1 linguina.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        High tide only

        It looks like a tidal river, you only need to close the upper deck at highest tide. Potentially only on spring and neap high tides too.

        Bangkok cruise ships have the same problem on super-tides, they ask you to duck, and lower the speakers and poles. You duck, its a bit of fun.

        This is not a big deal, its one of those 'how could they make such a stupid mistake' stories, when it looks like the press struggled to make a 'new ferries come into service' news item interesting.

        1. Prst. V.Jeltz Silver badge

          Re: High tide only

          neap are the lowest high tides.

          (and the highest low tides)

          1. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

            Re: High tide only

            I thought you ate them with tatties and haggis.

      2. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

        Re: Close the upper deck

        "close the upper deck"

        This is the solution

        I've been on a few river cruises in Germany where the boat would not clear bridges without lowering all the upper deck hardware. Including the wheelhouse. All passengers were cleared from the deck and the nav lighting masts and radar were hinged.

    2. theOtherJT

      As I remember there are actually only 2 of the cities many, many ferry routes that go as far up the Parramatta as to actually _go_ under either of those bridges. Would make more sense to just not run these on that route.

    3. Timbo

      It only seems to be an issue at HIGH tide...so for most trips it will be OK.

      Just need to close the top deck at these times.

      1. Mog_X

        That is familiar to anyone who has tried to take a boat under Potter Heigham bridge in the Norfolk Broads.

        1. Dave559 Bronze badge

          Potter Heigham

          Gosh, that reference has suddenly dredged up (pleasant) memories of certain of the Swallows and Amazons stories from several fathoms deep in my mind…

    4. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

      Why block off the upper deck?

      It seems that there's already a very good solution:

      "While customers are able to enjoy the upper deck during their commute, they will need to move to the lower deck when passing the bridge."

      What's the worst that can happen?

      1. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        What's the worst that can happen?

        Some overly pecuniated idiot thinking it doesn't apply to him and starting to make problems after he is seriously knocked about by the bridge.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          @A.P. Veening

          Like some clueless septic tourist would likely do because "it's his constitutional right to remain on the upper deck"?

    5. 9Rune5 Silver badge
      Pirate

      then the upper decks will be permanently closed.

      I dunno how things are down under, but up here we are told to keep a seat (or two) between us when we travel by mass-transit. (some virus lark or something)

      So.... Shut down an entire deck and then throw overboard those who are standing too close to their fellow passengers.

      Win-win.

  4. skeptical i
    Devil

    Are they named Queen of Hearts I, Queen of Hearts II, and so on?

    "Off with their heads!"

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Why don't they just extent the river round the side of the bridge so the boat doesn't have to go under it? Problem solved.

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Or make the water level a bit lower under the bridges. I’ve seen it in Microsoft Flight Simulator so I know it’s possible!

      https://www.reddit.com/r/MicrosoftFlightSim/comments/id9csd/speed_bumps_in_the_panama_canal/

      1. hitmouse

        You can fit a skyscraper under those bridges, so a ferry should be a doddle.

    2. hitmouse

      The current govenment - who are engaged in pointless moves of existing buildings from the city to Parramatta - would think that is an excellent idea. It also gives them an exciting opportunity to extend the floodplain.

      https://www.cityofparramatta.nsw.gov.au/recreation-environment/floodsmart-parramatta/know-your-flood-risk

  6. MiguelC Silver badge

    They're navigating like an Egypcian

    When there was at thing called ‘tourism’ in the world, I did a cruise on the Nile river.

    Enjoying myself on the top deck, I didn't understand what the fuss was about when the boat's employees started dismantling the tents that provided some well needed shade.

    Then we passed under a bridge that I could touch with my hand if I'd wished to.

    Watching more carefully, I noticed that every other boat we passed by also had those removable tents on top.

    Never read about any accident resulting from that particular set-up, though.

    1. Vincent Ballard
      Alert

      Re: They're navigating like an Egypcian

      You missed an opportunity there to hop out, run across the bridge, and jump back in.

    2. DRue2514

      Re: They're navigating like an Egypcian

      reminds me of some old cine footage my grandfather took in the 1930s of the Nile. The boats all had collapsable funnels for going under bridges and the boatman pulled a string and down they went.

  7. RM Myers Silver badge
    WTF?

    I heard that everything in Australia will kill you.

    But I always thought that only applied to the plants and animals!

    1. WolfFan Silver badge

      Re: I heard that everything in Australia will kill you.

      Bruce and Shiela have adopted Skippy’s attitude.

      1. David 132 Silver badge
        Happy

        Re: I heard that everything in Australia will kill you.

        Your comment confused me for a moment there until I realized you were talking about Bruce, not Bruce, Bruce or Bruce...

        1. Twanky Silver badge

          Re: I heard that everything in Australia will kill you.

          So Michael's safe then?

          1. Black Betty

            Re: I heard that everything in Australia will kill you.

            Back before we knew what memes were, it was a meme that all blokes were called Bruce, or occasionally Eric.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I heard that everything in Australia will kill you.

          > Your comment confused me for a moment there until I realized you were talking about Bruce, not Bruce, Bruce or Bruce...

          But he is talking about shy Ella again.

    2. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

      Re: I heard that everything in Australia will kill you.

      "But I always thought that only applied to the plants and animals!"

      Yep, they got the full set now. Animal, vegetable and mineral.

  8. Cynic_999 Silver badge

    Mountain out of a mole hill

    The clearance is only a problem at high tide (and quite possibly only around the period of spring tides at that - i.e. full and new Moon). So the solution is to chain off access to the uppermost deck for ferry trips that take place during the period when the tide is too high. Which is likely to be two trips per day per ferry during part of the month. So not a particularly serious problem at all - but of course ripe for making political hay.

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge
      Coffee/keyboard

      Re: Mountain out of a mole hill

      Also the opposition berating the government for buying off the shelf, but if they'd bought bespoke they'd berate them for wasting money when they could have bought off the shelf.

      Tedious.

  9. Duncan Macdonald Silver badge
    Joke

    Make use of the problem

    Label the upper deck - POLITICIANS ONLY

    1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Make use of the problem

      Nah.

      Label the upper deck - POLITICIANS and LAWYERS ONLY

      1. Marketing Hack Silver badge

        Re: Make use of the problem

        It would only work if you could get ALL the lawyers on these boats at the same time. Otherwise, massive liability suits would ensue.

        1. whitepines Silver badge
          Joke

          Re: Make use of the problem

          Otherwise, massive liability suits would ensue.

          Which would tie up the remaining lawyers quite nicely. Job done!

      2. David 132 Silver badge
        Trollface

        Re: Make use of the problem

        No, make the top deck a place only for waiters and concierges, and thus establish Sydney as a world leader in IT...

        “Look at how many headless servers we have!”

      3. John Brown (no body) Silver badge

        Re: Make use of the problem

        "Label the upper deck - POLITICIANS and LAWYERS ONLY"

        Nah.

        Label the upper deck - POLITICIANS, LAWYERS and MARKETERS ONLY

        1. hitmouse

          Re: Make use of the problem

          They need to be labelled. I can't tell them apart.

    2. b0llchit Silver badge
      Coat

      Re: Make use of the problem

      So... mark those new ferries as B-ark?

      1. Kabukiwookie Silver badge

        Re: Make use of the problem

        This is a common mistake. Since all important people will want to be on the primary ark, the B ark should be the one with functional life support.

  10. Steve K Silver badge

    High tide and choppy conditions?

    If it's close at high tide as mentioned, what's it going to be like in choppy conditions and high tide.....?

    1. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge

      Re: High tide and choppy conditions?

      in choppy conditions the upper deck will be even more choppy...

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Pfft, solvable with two words:

    Limbo Contest!

    1. David 132 Silver badge
      Happy

      Curse you, Barbados Slim!

  12. Jon 37

    Procedures don't work

    There is a long history of accidents where someone didn't follow the procedures. So we know that just having procedures doesn't work. There are various things that can be done to help, but they're not 100%. (E.g. aircraft pilots have lots of training, and checklists, and simulators, and still there are aircraft crashes due to pilot error).

    For the ferry, it's worse - there will be tourists who may not speak English very well, there may be old or disabled people who can't see the bridge or need help to get down, etc.

    My prediction, is that within 10 years of services starting:

    * People will be injured when the boat goes under the bridge. The government will try to blame the boat crew or the passengers. But this is a completely foreseeable accident caused by poor management decisions.

    * People will be killed when two of these new trains hit each other head-on in the tunnels. The government will try to blame a signal problem or the train driver. But this is a completely foreseeable accident caused by poor management decisions.

    Note: They're only widening the tunnel so that the trains can go through without hitting their sides on the tunnel. They decided it was too expensive to widen the tunnel a bit more and move the tracks further apart, so they won't do that. So if trains go through the tunnel in both directions at the same time then the sides of the trains will hit each other.

    1. Robert Carnegie Silver badge

      Re: Procedures don't work

      I think it's still considered news-worthy when a high omnibus tries to drive under a low bridge, and... doesn't. In the UK anyway. I think we had one in Scotland this month, and a fatal one in Wales some time in the last year...?

      It isn't every day, but it does keep happening, at ramming speed, and casualties are pretty much anyone on the upper deck except for particularly short children.

      Yes, yes, buses and bridges both have signs on them all saying how high and how low they are. Perhaps that stops a lot of these accidents, but not all of them.

      1. tiggity Silver badge

        Re: Procedures don't work

        That needs the obligatory HMHB track

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IofpJzYTwrI

        (Tour Jacket with Detachable Sleeves)

      2. A.P. Veening Silver badge

        Re: Procedures don't work

        I think it's still considered news-worthy when a high omnibus tries to drive under a low bridge, and... doesn't.

        Why am I suddenly reminded of the omnibus scene in Live And Let Die (James Bond)?

      3. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Procedures don't work

        https://www.standard.co.uk/news/bus-on-diversion-from-blaze-site-hits-bridge-6654706.html

        The driver should have been reminded that on this diversion he should have kept to the centre of the road under the bridge; he should have been reminded by the 'low bridge' and 'tall vehicles should keep to the centre of the road' signs; should have been reminded by the road markings, the markings on the bridge and the lights under the bridge marking the safe route. It flattened the top deck down to the top of the seats but luckily only 6 were injured!

        The 'keep to the centre of the road' is now reinforced by bollards that push all traffic to the centre

  13. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge
    Holmes

    Almost as big a fiasco as Crossrail

    where the untested and unproven signalling system is shite but they still plough on spending millions rather than putting in an older proven system just to get the effing thing open.

  14. Cederic Silver badge

    Sydney's bridges are too low

    I've been on a vessel that cleared the underside of their harbour bridge by just a couple of feet, I think they just aren't very good at bridges there.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Sydney's bridges are too low

      SHB was built in the 1920s/30s.

      Ships change.

    2. coconuthead

      Re: not very good at bridges in Australia

      The Sydney Harbour Bridge was built by a British company, Dorman Long, to their own design. Even 86% of the steel was imported from the UK. Both the Union flag and the Australian flag (which would have been the old red one) flew from the top on opening day. The NSW government's contribution was the choice of site, which razed much of The Rocks and Miller's Point and turned the western edge of the CBD into a traffic sewer.

      Melburnians spent 35 years pointing and laughing at the "coathanger" until Melbourne's own Westgate Bridge fell down during construction, killing many. It is a stupendously ugly bridge from many angles, including the iconic view from Brighton Beach. It was not until 1999 that Melbourne got a "proper" big bridge, the Bolte.

      From pictures, I would nominate Brisbane's Story Bridge (1940) as Australia's most beautiful. I can't, right at the moment, go look at it in person to verify that.

  15. Marketing Hack Silver badge
    Go

    There's a simple solution to this problem!

    Add some ballast tanks and dive planes to the ferries and have your new submarine ferry dive under the bridge! You'll have to caulk up the windows on the lower decks, but it could work!! OOGAA!!! OOGAAAA!!! DIVE!! DIVE!!!

    (More seriously, I want to see how many times these ferries get delayed crossing under the bridge because people won't evacuate the top deck in a timely manner, or what happens during a combo of spring tide and a bit of a storm surge. )

  16. Falmari
    Joke

    Heads will roll

    Lets hope New South Wales government call for a full inquiry. With the promise, when we find out who is responsible heads will roll.

    1. Stoneshop Silver badge
      Trollface

      Re: Heads will roll

      With the promise, when we find out who is responsible heads will roll. they will get designated seats on the ferry's upper deck.

  17. chivo243 Silver badge

    Dam they've totally locked up their thinking on this channel...

  18. Badbob

    Reminds me of...

    ... Open top bus tours in NYC.

    The fascination with fairly low hanging traffic lights suspended over the carriageway are an ever present hazard to the tourist that wants to stand to get that shot of the Chrysler Building.

    I was on one that went under a bridge in Brooklyn that was so low, that from a seated position you could touch the underside of the bridge (which was possibly carrying the BQE?). The bus did go dead slow and even stopped immediately beforehand so the tour guide could give us a final warning. Luckily I speak English, the rest of the tourists may or may not have understood.

    1. Jan 0 Silver badge
      Devil

      Re: Reminds me of...

      Lucky for you that the tour guide wasn't a native of Brooklyn, or you might not have understood either.

  19. IGotOut Silver badge

    Some stupid answers here.

    All you have do is saw the bottom off the boat.

  20. Mike 125

    competitive tendering

    "Minns slammed the outcome as "another national joke" that ranks alongside "intercity trains that don't fit the track, or the 'Ferry McFerryface' fiasco"."

    Wikipedia on a related ferry fiasco, care of The Rt Hon. Chris Grayling:

    "The announcement that Seaborne Freight had been awarded the contract caused controversy after it was revealed that at the time contract was signed, the company had no ships and had never operated any. Critics also pointed out that the Port of Ramsgate would need to be dredged before services could begin and raised questions as to whether due diligence checks had been undertaken before the award of the contract.[14] By 3 January 2019 dredging had begun in Ramsgate."

    On hearing about Transport for NSW's troubles, Chris Grayling was later heard to comment:

    "Look, it's not a goddamn competition."

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: competitive tendering

      You forgot the T&Cs copiy'n'pasted from a pizza delivery co.

  21. Just A Quick Comment
    FAIL

    No monopoly on stupidity

    I thought us Brits and certain US states had the monopoly on idiotic politicians - I happily stand corrected! Where do these people come from, and what are they using for brains?

    1. Dave559 Bronze badge

      Re: No monopoly on stupidity

      There's a commonality in all of these things: they're all English-speaking countries.

      It makes you wonder: are British people, and our colonial descendents, just exceptionally good at screwing things up in a world-class world-beating way (go us!!), or is it just that we don't hear so much about other nations' screw-ups because we generally never bothered to learn other languages and so don't pick up on similar media stories from other countries so much? Research needed!

      1. Strahd Ivarius Bronze badge
        Joke

        Re: No monopoly on stupidity

        " are British people, and our colonial descendents, just exceptionally good at screwing things up in a world-class world-beating way (go us!!), or is it just that we don't hear so much about other nations' screw-ups because we generally never bothered to learn other languages and so don't pick up on similar media stories from other countries so much?"

        As the logician said:

        oui

  22. Will Godfrey Silver badge
    Facepalm

    I smell bean counters

    Nuff Sed?

  23. DS999

    So I guess what happened

    Is that the people buying them had a "minimum bridge clearance at high tide" spec and found ferries that were shorter than that, without figuring in how much higher people would be above the top of the ship (upper deck railing I assume)

  24. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge
    Facepalm

    InCat - Hobart

    But Graeme Taylor, of Sydney-based consumer group Action for Public Transport, was unimpressed with the excuse. "They bought an off-the-shelf option so the thing doesn't fit properly," he said.

    If only they had placed the order with a well known Australian shipbuilder right on their doorstep...

    "Incat takes ownership of the customer’s specific needs ensuring on-time delivery of the right ship for the right job."

    https://www.incat.com.au/company-profile/

  25. Fruit and Nutcase Silver badge

    Sun Loungers

    Replace the seats on the upper deck with low profile sun loungers

  26. Jamesit

    Just have everybody on the upper deck lie down when they go under the bridges.

  27. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Is that the same Graeme Taylor

    that in an alternate universe complained that they wasted kazillions on a custom boat construction when there were off-the-shelf solutions that would've been a tenth of the price and only required ten bucks' worth of red-and-white chain across the stairs about once every other week?

  28. Flywheel Silver badge
    Joke

    Must be Chris Grayling's Aussie cousin!

    Apparently Grayling has a cousin that decided to escape emigrate there in a hurry after his Bridge-Selling company collapsed unexpectedly. Keep it in the family eh!

  29. Stoneshop Silver badge
    Headmaster

    Options

    " Sadly, we suspect messing with bridge heights is far more difficult due to the many knock-on effects it'd have on the rest of the transport network."

    Well, not taking any of the available options would have knock-off effects.

  30. carolinahomes

    Yet another 'solution':

    How about they remove all the seating and post 'no standing' signs on the top deck. With everyone on the top deck seated on the floor, if necessary they could just lean back or lie down as the bridge passes overhead. In addition, they could easily have everyone who goes up there sign a waiver which states they'll follow all posted safety precautions.

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