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Win:win for Russell day-trippers

Press Release

Win:win for Russell day-trippers

Passengers benefit most from new ferry initiative

Fullers Bay of Islands received an accolade from members of the Russell Business Association Inc on Friday when they announced they were no longer selling return tickets on their passenger ferries. With three passenger ferries running in rotation, return tickets had always been a point of confusion to visitors to Russell.

“Many years ago one of the ferry operators introduced return tickets for twice the price,” said one Business Association member, “and that’s where the difficulty arose. Visitors to the Bay didn’t understand that there was more than one ferry operator – let’s face it – some tourists don’t even speak or read English. They would buy a return ticket, but in some instances might wait almost an hour until ‘their’ ferry returned – or buy another ticket.”

And that’s where the problem arose. Picture a tourist who has a bus to catch on the other side, or as elderly American, Derek Brewer once complained to the Russell Lights newspaper, he and his wife had been “sitting around in the wind and the cold for at least twenty minutes.”

While the ferry skippers were accommodating they could hardly accept the ticket of a competitive service. Would-be passengers were asked to buy new tickets.

But now, in the interests of tourism, and the businesses of Russell which are always working to enhance their visitors’ experience in Russell, Fullers have seen that this service initiative will far outweigh any profits generated by the sale of the return ticket.

“The return tickets were always a bone of contention,” said Roger Dold from Fuller’s Bay of Islands, who run the ‘Bay Belle’ on the trip between Russell and Paihia. “We have always been able to give passengers refunds on their unused return tickets because of the hours kept by our offices on each side. But we certainly shared the passengers’ frustration when they couldn’t get a refund.”

Keith Bradley, the owner of the ‘Waimarie’ and who has been around boats since the 1940s is right behind the idea.

“As well as the Waimarie and the Vigilant, my wife Shirley has run the information centre at the end of the Russell wharf for some years,” he said. “We were always getting complaints from people being turned away from another ferry. We would maintain a stock of half-used return tickets and swap them for people but sometimes their day had already been marred.”

It seems that everyone is looking forward to this win:win situation. **

405 words ENDS

For further information please contact

Jacqui Knight, Chair Enterprise Russell bus 09 403 8843

or by email erussell@ihug.co.nz


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