Enough is enough – that’s the message that protestors will send to Fullers at a rally on Saturday 10 December.
Around Waiheke Tours operator Graeme Ransom is organizing the action at Matiatia ferry terminal from 10am after almost two months of late ferries, massive queues, stranded passengers at Matiatia and downtown wharves, ferry breakdowns and Fullers buses failing to stick to their schedules.
Mr Ransom is calling on Fullers to commit to meeting its ferry timetable and to give passengers free travel if ferries are more than 15 minutes late.
Since Fullers brought back its half hourly summer timetable on 17 October, the ferry service has been “beyond a joke”, he says.
However, Fullers has posted an acknowledgement of ferry delays on its website and in Gulf News on page 17.
Mr Ransom says that as a tour bus operator, he is aware that Fullers’ poor service is leaving a bad taste in the mouths of large numbers of island residents and visitors.
Residents are worried that they could miss important appointments or flights because of the unreliability of the ferry and bus services.
Locals and tourists are facing long waits in queues for late ferries and overloaded ferries are leaving passengers behind, even before the peak summer season hits, he says.
“People have said they won’t come to Waiheke again.
“It’s impacting on all of us.
“This is very bad for the people of Waiheke, for visitors to Waiheke and for the Waiheke brand.”
Mr Ransom says people are understandably angry that Fullers competed so aggressively that Explore stopped offering its Waiheke ferry service in May this year, yet Fullers can’t cope with all the passengers now using its services.
Nevertheless, he hopes the rally this Saturday will be a peaceful protest.
“Our presence should be enough to send a clear message to the authorities that we have had enough.”
Mr Ransom is concerned that Auckland Transport “doesn’t do anything” about the poor ferry service and that the government allows Fullers to operate outside of the requirements of a public transport provider.
“I don’t care who fixes the problem – there is one and we’ve had enough of it,” he says.
On Facebook’s Waiheke Community Page, ferry users have been expressing increasing rage at experiencing hour-long waits and being left on the wharf after small ferries have left, crammed to capacity.
Tommy Matoe writes that Fullers “may be underestimating how furious people are at the moment”.
“This isn’t directed at your lovely staff.
“Fullers management and owners, we’re looking at you. Come on. Sort it out,” he says.
Rodney Fatque suggests that this Saturday’s protest should include a blockade at Matiatia and Charles Graves proposes with a smile that everyone could “ride to town and refuse to get off”.
Christian Hoff-Nielsen argues that people should refuse to pay when ferries are substantially late.
Mel Johnson writes that a recent ferry trip from Waiheke to Auckland took an hour and a half and was “heartbreaking for the kids hoping to get to a birthday party”. • Rose Davis

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