Staff at Hongkong & Yaumati Ferry Company have been ordered to report for duty to their new operators two hours early on handover day next month to ensure the smooth transfer of routes. New World First Ferry, which is due to take over the operation of eight outlying island and cross-harbour routes from the company on January 16, revealed the move yesterday. It said appointment letters had been sent out this week to the 330 staff who had agreed to work for the new franchisee. Assistant general manager Kwan Chuk-fai said the action was taken to provide some sense of security for the group. 'Based on the experience from New World First Bus, we have also requested the employees to report to work two hours earlier than scheduled on the day,' he said. This would enable the company to provide sufficient staff to operate ferries immediately after the transfer. New World was confident the Hongkong & Yaumati Ferry would co-operate over the early release of staff. New World also stressed that there would be no immediate changes to existing ferry timetables.