Here is the Explore media release
Explore Waiheke Ferry Service Operation to Cease on May 8th
Following a thorough review of its Waiheke ferry service the Explore Group has made the difficult decision to cease Waiheke ferry service operation and focus on its core business of tourism.
The Explore Auckland- Waiheke ferry services will continue to run to the current timetable through to the evening of Sunday May 8th.
The final sailing will be Matiatia-Auckland Sunday May 8th 2016 at 9:15pm.
Arrangements are being made to provide all MyWaiheke members with travel on alternative operators from May 9th onwards. MyWaiheke members WILL NOT lose the trips they have paid for on their 42, 30 or 10 trip cards.
Please click here for our Q&A with more detailed information
A message from Explore Group Managing Director, William Goodfellow to MyWaiheke members:
This decision was very difficult to make, especially because of the support the company has received from passengers and the considerable investment we have made over the last two years.
We’ve thrown everything we could at the Waiheke service and we greatly appreciate the support of Waiheke Island in getting behind us as we started up.
A particular thank you to our MyWaiheke members for their continued loyal patronage, strong encouragement and many positive suggestions.
There were a number of contributing factors, including infrastructure problems that prevented Explore from offering passengers a comfortable experience, especially during the winter months.
We entered into the service with the specific aim of providing ferry commuters with a superior level of service and on-board travel experience. We achieved this and as a result we believe the ferry services to Waiheke are in better shape, both in terms of the standard on offer and the frequency of service, than it was two years ago.
We make this decision to cease operations with a heavy heart.
While both ferry businesses were operating neither could make a profit. It was always going to be a contest to the death, so it was a case of who had the deepest pockets to last the distance. If Explore believed the island myth perpetuated by the moaners and groaners allowed a weekly whinge in the Gulf News that Fullers were ‘creaming it’ by price gouging then I’m sure they quickly discovered the truth.
Customers needed to be offered something significant to make them shift from Fullers who had built up patronage over thirty years. That had to be a much lower price, or a more frequent and faster service. When these weren’t forthcoming it was my view that it was only a matter of time before they sold out to Fullers or called it a day.
Nevertheless, Explore offered choice and gave Waiheke the most frequent transport service to the city centre of any Auckland suburb. They showed Fullers what good passenger service looked like, and have helped put Waiheke on the international visitor map as never before. They will be missed.
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