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Concerns ferry will disappoint tourists

JESS ETHERIDGE
Last updated 07:29 08/02/2013

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Cruise ship tourists let down by Auckland's floundering ferry service will be sharing their bad experiences abroad, potentially damaging the city's visitor numbers, the Devonport-Takapuna Local Board chairman says.

Chris Darby has spoken before about ferries in Auckland being treated as the "poor cousin", but he now believes it is having an impact on the city's overseas image.

"That's not the story we want told abroad," he says.

It comes after Mr Darby's 3pm ferry from Auckland's downtown terminal on January 22 was delayed 21 minutes.

The ferry only berthed at 3.09pm and started boarding at 3.13pm

He says it did not leave the pier until 3.17pm and arrived in Devonport at 3.27pm.

He was told some tourists travelling back to town were "jittery" about possibly missing their cruise liner which departed at 4pm.

Auckland Council is making efforts to attract tourists but "the numbers aren't great", he says.

"We need to get our heads around all of the transport issues - not just the fashionable ones."

Mr Darby says it is time ferries were given priority.

Fullers Group Ltd operates the city's ferries and a spokesperson says the company is "regretful" for the delay.

The spokesperson says service reliability for Fullers is more than 99 per cent across more than 80,000 departures per annum.

"It is also worth noting that the particular delayed service from Devonport to Auckland referred to, had an unusually high passenger load - 44 per cent higher than any other service from 1000 that day.

"It always takes more time to board and disembark tourists who are in holiday mode, as compared with commuters, and this unfortunately resulted in the delay to the service."

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- North Shore Times

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