From looking at their fare structure there seems little difference in price between the two companies so it will be interesting to see what additional incentives they offer to attract custom away from Fullers.
The false start has already lost the new company momentum. They would have cashed in a bad run of mechanical difficulties faced by Fullers three weeks ago but, having already cast doubt on their own ability to provide a hassle free service, they will struggle for credibility. This does not auger well.
Meanwhile Fullers now offer a late night sailing of 10.30pm instead of the last boat being at 9.30pm on a Sunday. If they could move the 10.15pm sailing weeknights to 10.30pm as well this would be a boon for theatregoers who struggle to get to the ferry after most shows or concerts which finish at 10pm. But running a ferry service is a complicated business with a myriad of factors to be taken into account.
If the Explore service gains sufficient custom and proves its commercial viability it will greatly increase Waiheke's accessibility as a commuter suburb of Auckland and as a tourist destination. With Waiheke house price increases lagging behind the Auckland boom the new ferry service could provide just the momentum for a catch up. This will put pressure on the transport infrastructure at Matiatia as well as the demand for increased land supply.
A new ferry service could therefore herald much greater change for Waiheke than we have seen for two decades. How will the island's infrastructure cope when our Local Board has a backward-looking vision rather than a focus on providing for the future? Congestion at Matiatia will only get worse so, apart from asking for even more plans on top of the numerous plans already in existence, what solutions can we expect from this Luddite Board? That's a rhetorical question.