After only a year in operation Explore Group, the second ferry operator to challenge Fullers, is ending its ferry service to Waiheke after dwindling commuter numbers.

Explore Group managing director William Goodfellow said the decision to stop the service was difficult to make, especially because of the support the company had received from passengers and the investment it had made over the past two years.

"We've thrown everything we could at the Waiheke service and we greatly appreciate the support of Waiheke and Auckland travellers, however, the initial strong support from commuters was not sustained and ultimately the numbers did not stack up."

Explore's situation mirrors that of Pacific Ferries, which ended regular weekday ferry operations between to Waiheke in 2000 after a year of competing against Fullers. It then took on the car-ferry operations between Waiheke and Half Moon Bay, but quit the area after a stoush over wharf access.

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Explore's service would run its regular schedule until May 8.