Waiheke residents want Fullers ferry service to prioritise locals

Waiheke residents met over the perceived shortcomings of the Fullers service at a public meeting at Morra Community Hall today. - Photo: RNZ / Jessie Chiang

Furious Waiheke residents have demanded ferry company Fullers prioritise them after what they say has been years of neglect.

More than 250 people packed the Morra Community Hall on the island this afternoon for a public meeting about the ferry's shortcomings.

Last month 18 ferry services were cancelled and 43 delayed.

Auckland Transport and Fullers were both represented at the meeting but locals had little patience for planned speeches, shouting at them to answer questions.

People at the meeting, which overflowed out the doors, did not mince their words. They want cheaper fare prices, a better locals' passenger lane and local authority oversight of Fullers.

A Fullers ferry docked at the Auckland Ferry Terminal before leaving for Waiheke

Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

One resident, Robin Tucker, said the current locals' lane did not work.

"All of the tourists go on first, it is an unpleasant experience," she said.

"All you're going to make happen is that the people at the end of the locals' lane who have been patiently waiting are going to be exceptionally cranky.

"And if they are left behind then they are going to get very, very angry."

Fullers chief executive Mike Horne said there was confusion about who is let on.

"The capacity on the vessels are still the same capacity," he said.

Fullers chief executive Mike Horne

Fullers chief executive Mike Horne Photo: RNZ / Jessie Chiang

"If some of the locals arrive a couple of minutes before and it's full then they absolutely get on the next one."

Mr Horne said the feedback Fullers received over the summer was that the locals' lane worked well but he acknowledged that was not what the public thought at the meeting.

He said Fullers would have to go back and talk to different groups about the locals' lane.

Mr Horne also said he was open to discussions about the Waiheke service coming under Auckland Transport oversight.