Half Moon Bay ferry commuters say they are sick of bearing the brunt of service disruptions which have earned discounted fares for many of their Waiheke Island counterparts.
Ferry operator Fullers yesterday offered monthly Waiheke ticket holders $35 discounts for each of the next three months as a "goodwill" gesture for being crowded on to smaller boats than their usual 650-passenger ferries, the Superflyte and Quickcat, which are under emergency repairs for storm damage and mechanical failures.
Two other vessels are also out of the water having their control systems upgraded.
But the Weekend Herald has received messages from several Half Moon Bay commuters complaining of serious disruptions to services throughout this week after their regular ferry, the 306-passenger Starflyte, was co-opted to the Waiheke run and they were left with even smaller boats.
Wayne Dempsey listed three instances in which passengers were left behind by full vessels, and another when a service was replaced by buses which took twice as long as a 30-minute ferry trip to reach downtown Auckland.
He said that on Wednesday morning, no passengers were left behind by a 7am service, but the ferry Harbour Cat was "over capacity" with more than 40 people standing outside and inside, and some sitting on the floor.
"Whenever there is a problem with vessels servicing Waiheke, it is always the Half Moon Bay service that wears the brunt of it," he said.
Fullers operations general manager Tim Palmer said the Waiheke passengers had been offered discounts because it was likely to take several more weeks before their services were back to normal.
He accepted that the Half Moon Bay commuters had endured a difficult week, but said Fullers had put an extra vessel the Discovery 111 on their run yesterday which it expected to improve services. He denied that the Harbour Cat had exceeded its permitted capacity.