Frustration is at an all-time high among ferry passengers and Waiheke businesses dealing with the fallout of repeat cancellations, delays and lengthy hours-long queues on the island’s vital transport route.
Fullers360 CEO Mike Horne has been quick to defend the company, pointing to a critical skills shortage, unprecedented weather and cruise ship disruptions.
Patience has worn thin though and Waiheke shuttle bus operator Rob Griffin says poor service from Fullers is not only “killing business on the island” but now puts living and commuting here in the “too hard basket” for many.
In a direct appeal to Mr Horne, Rob said he had used the ferry service for years and had never seen it so bad.
He also questioned Fullers’ recent preference for smaller vessels, when larger ferries like the Quickcat provided a more robust and reliable service to the island.
“I commuted for 23 years from 1987, when the Quickcat started on the run and during that whole period we probably had about two or three cancellations and maybe six delays in the whole year,” said Rob. “Sure numbers were lower but the larger ferries ensured all passengers were able to get on board, very rarely were people left behind.
“Last week the commuters for the 7am ferry were waiting in line only to be told with 15 minutes notice that the 7am ferry was cancelled and the next ferry was 7.30am, well the 7.30am ferry didn’t depart until 7.45am leaving 100 commuters at the terminal.
“Then the 8am ferry was also cancelled with no other ferry until 9am, obviously with every cancellation the numbers at the ferry terminal increase.”
Rob says ferry delays and cancellations on Fullers Waiheke route have become the “norm” with Fullers messaging about “operational issues” and “vessel breakdown” now meaningless. • Liza Hamilton
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