31 May 2019

Under-fire Fullers ferries: Operations review, public forum announced

2:33 pm on 31 May 2019

The head of Fullers Ferries says the company needs to do better following a week of complaints from passengers about its Waiheke service.

Fullers ferry

Photo: RNZ / Todd Niall

Hundreds of passengers were left queuing early yesterday morning, after some sailings were cancelled due to a mechanical fault.

Fullers chief executive Mike Horne said the company had started an immediate review of its operations looking at staffing levels, scheduling and customer communication.

It would also hold an open forum on Sunday 9 June for Waiheke commuters to voice their frustrations.

Mike Horne

Mike Horne Photo: Supplied / Focal Point Photos

In a statement this morning the company listed the things it was doing to try to address the concerns that had been raised this week.

It said the forum would include "a panel of critical Auckland leaders and Waiheke stakeholders to be part of the conversation".

The event would be be chaired by former Waitakere mayor Sir Bob Harvey and was open to all people who wanted to talk about the ferry service.

The company had also started posting more detailed information about the performance of its services on its website [ https://www.fullers.co.nz/].

Mr Horne said while things like weather were beyond its control, there were things the company could do better.

"For the things that are within our control, there's more that we can do.

"For other stuff we just need to keep going with our contingency planning and make sure we're doing our absolute best to get people to where they need to be," he said.

Mr Horne also said that in the last two weeks, the company had finalised a deal worth $13 million to buy two new 400-seater vessels. The boats will be used on the Waiheke and Devonport routes from August.

The company had also committed to the research and design of full electric carbon fibre ferries, designed and built in New Zealand, with the aim of introducing them by 2021.

Get the RNZ app

for ad-free news and current affairs