Monday, March 28, 2011

Fullers fares to rise for a second time in 6 months

Always the easiest of excuses used by Fullers to "justify" fare rises, the oil price is again used to whack up the fares, for the second time in 6 months. The monthly pass goes from $330 to $350, the highest it has ever been. Adult returns from town are up to $35 but the off-island return stays at $28.
So the squeeze continues unabated and each turn of the screw sees a batch of islanders contemplating moving off Waiheke, students going flatting in town, contractors upping their quotes when you need a town tradesman and a batch of tourists thinking of holidaying elsewhere.
The argument Fullers uses is typical sophistry: whack up the price as soon as the oil price moves upward (of course, never down). The result of this monopolist behaviour is clear for all to see: season tickets have increased by 50% in the last decade while the CPI (the inflation index which includes labour, cost of living and fuel) has moved not nearly as fast.
And all this with the same level of service as 10 years ago (with the same old boats and the same old timetable - the only difference is that the promotions now state it's a 40min trip instead of a 35min one). The only justification for a price hike above inflation is an improvement in service delivery. But the frequent outages due to 'mechanical failure' put Fullers' service reliability way down.

So what of the future? $500 monthly passes? $1,000 ones? Waiheke depopulated like Great Barrier after their boat service became 'uneconomical' (for Fullers)?

UPDATE 3APR: An edited version of the blog item was published as a Letter to the Editor in the Waiheke Gulf News. The Marketplace ignored it.
The Waiheke Island Local Board has set up a Transport Forum and its first meeting will be on Thursday 7 April at 6.30pm at the Ostend Service Centre. The Fullers fare hike will be on the agenda and the C4FFF campaign will make a submission asking the local board to censure Fullers pricing policies as detrimental to the well-being of Waiheke

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