Shirin of the Campaign 4 Fair Ferry Fares spoke on the campaign's behalf:
First, public transport regulation issues:
ARTA – or whatever organisation replaces ARTA should be an independent body reporting to the GAC, rather than a department.
Integrated ticketing needs to be a priority for GAC. This would allow a competitor to compete fairly on the Waiheke to Auckland run. At the moment, the commuters are the lifeline for Fullers. The monthly pass allows unlimited travel on Stagecoach buses and on buses on Waiheke, making it nearly impossible for another company to compete.
We also need an affordability criteria and a look at standardising fares across the Auckland region – It shouldn’t cost as much to go 5 kms on Waiheke as it does to get from Auckland Central to Henderson.
If the Half Moon Bay ferry is $13.40 return, why is a Waiheke ferry $32 return, for the same distance travelled?
Secondly, ownership of the wharves needs to be clarified and a system whereby a competitor can be guaranteed berthage at competitive times.
Thirdly, Waiheke needs an effective transport management plan which recognises Matiatia as a transport hub for islanders getting off the island as well as tourists trying to access the island. Transport plans have been made before but are not followed.
Over the last 20 years people have been asking for a more flexible bus service - smaller buses with better coverage. It shouldn’t take 50 minutes to get from Rocky Bay to Matiatia, before you even start your journey into town.
Also Matiatia is primarily set up for tourists and selling tours.
The local population don’t need a flash terminal – they need a place which is safe and warm to wait, free parking within easy access to the wharf and a system with flexibility for the different users (people with bags, families with young children, cyclists and motorcyclists).
A plan needs to combine the needs of all users but then needs follow through.
Fourthly, we support greater autonomy for decision-making on Waiheke.
The Auckland City Council continually fails to represent us or act in our interest. We would like a local council to have greater decision making powers in terms of infrastructure and transport decisions. They are a cross-section of elected representatives who live within the community and their authority should be respected.
Local councillors and council workers recognise the importance of sustainability because they also live on this island. This carries through in terms of waste, use of water, management of septic waste. The more decision making that can be carried out locally, the better.
TV One News clip: