A group of Waiheke residents was left stranded in the Auckland Ferry Terminal overnight after the last ferry to Waiheke at 11.45pm was cancelled.
They say that Fullers360 didn’t offer them a solution on how to get back to the island except for spending the night in the waiting room area in order to be able to catch the next ferry at 6am next morning.
Fullers chief operations officer Paul Trotman says that the cancellation of the last ferry from Auckland CBD to Waiheke due to weather is a very rare occurrence and not a decision they take lightly.
“In the rare instance it does happen, Fullers360 staff are equipped to direct customers to options for accommodation or the option to stay in our waiting room until the next sailing,” he says.
“Fullers360 does not cover the cost of impacted passengers’ accommodation. Our team has several contacts at nearby hotels that we offer passengers if required.”
“We recognise this is a challenging situation for all involved, but regretfully, instances such as bad weather are not in our control and we absolutely must prioritise the health and safety of our passengers and crew.”
Mr Trotman says that on this occasion, a ‘water taxi’ or other ferry alternative was not an option due to the nature of the weather. The vessel scheduled to run the service, Starflyte, is one of their largest vessels.
“We apologise to all customers who were impacted by this cancelled service,” he says.
Neil Hunter, an 80-year-old retiree from Rocky Bay went to Auckland with his wife to assist to an Irish dancing show. He said that Fullers didn’t offer them a viable solution.
“We weren’t even offered a blanket,” says Neil.
“They were expecting us to spend the night in the waiting area and it can get very cold there. They could have at least given us a key to keeping the doors closed because that city area can be quite dangerous at night.”
Neil says that when he asked for assistance to find cheap accommodation around the area, Fullers staff said that there was nothing available. But minutes later, he and his wife found an available room in the hotel across the road. Because the room price was $450 a night, Neil asked the concierge if they could help him find a more affordable option.
• Silvia Massa.
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