All I Want For Xmas Is Fair Ferry Fares!
All I Want For Christmas Is Permanently Fair Ferry Fares!
Commuters and ferry users coming to catch the 7am and 8am sailings from Waiheke on Monday 1 December will be treated to some Christmas cheer from the Fair Ferry Fare Fairy and her winged helpers! Members of the Campaign for Fair Ferry Fares (C4FFF) and their supporters will dress as Fair Ferry Fairies in their latest bid to lobby Fullers and its parent company Infratil to introduce permanent ferry fare reductions and a more transparent long-term pricing system for Waiheke ferry users.
In response to the announcement that Fullers would be reducing the monthly pass to $319 for December and January, C4FFF spokesperson Cathy Urquhart says the gesture, while a welcome one, is not sufficient to provide long term help to a community that is struggling economically as a result of high ferry fares. Many people do not buy monthly passes over the holiday period and there is no corresponding reduction for the 40 trip ticket that residents also use.
'A temporary price reduction is not the answer for our community, however welcome it might be. It is urgent that Fullers introduce transparent measures that can fairly regulate Waiheke ferry fares for the long term, especially given the disastrous impact the higher fares are having on the community and the future of our local economy.'
Dr. Urquhart has suggested the consideration of a surcharge for ferry users set on a sliding scale indexed to the price of Brent Crude oil or other index. 'If Fullers are concerned about the long term stability of fuel prices, then they should do the right thing by their commuters and introduce a surcharge. This would provide some much needed transparency for Waiheke customers,' says Dr. Urquhart, 'and reassure them in the long-term that the Waiheke route is not simply a cash cow for Fullers and Infratil.'
Dr. Urquhart said it was not fair for Waiheke ferry users and commuters to be left with a 'month by month' approach that provided no transparency, and no protection against future price rices. 'The fact the Fullers is a powerful monopoly still leaves us in a very vulnerable position in the long term We have no alternative means of getting to the city, so at any stage, we can be held over a barrel,' says Urquhart.
The Fair Ferry Fares Fairy and her supporters will be handing out flyers, encouraging ferry users to continue to lobby their local politicians for measures to introduce fairer long-term fares under the new Public Transport Act, and to help foster competition. On a lighter note, they will have a few Christmas treats for commuters and Fullers staff alike. 'We want to wish Christmas greetings to all ferry users, and to the dedicated Fullers staff on our ferries and buses as well,' says Urquhart.
The All I Want for Christmas is Permanently Fair Ferry Fares protest will take place on Matiatia Wharf on Monday 1 December, from 7-8am.
On Saturday 13 December C4FFF will also take part in the Waiheke Santa Parade, making an anti-monopoly statement with their float, Pocket Raider, a bevy of Fair Ferry Fare Fairies and Infratil's reigning beauty queen, Ms Monopoly.