"People are fed up with being left on wharves and the lack of progress."

That's according to Auckland Central MP Nikki Kaye who is asking for Fullers360 to make much-needed changes to its service urgently.

Last month, the ferry service's chief executive Mike Horne apologised to Waiheke Island commuters after weeks of disruptions, cancellations and frustration.

"I'm deeply concerned and I'm extremely regretful that we've not met your expectations," Horne told island locals in June.


Fullers360 recently reduced its services for winter, which resulted in long queues, lengthy delays and sometimes cancellations.

The service has a special status which exempts its ferry services from Auckland Transport oversight and competitive tendering rules.

A review is currently underway but Kaye said she was concerned the process would take too long.

"In the longer term, the PTOM review is occurring. It is concerning this review could take at least 12 months to possibly two years to complete," she said.

"I have asked the Mayor and Minister to make this an urgent priority and provide a timeline on this.

"The exempt status needs to be lifted as soon as possible. Ideally this would occur in conjunction with Fullers, and a contract for services would also be negotiated."

Fullers360 chief executive Mike Horne. Photo / Leon Menzies
Fullers360 chief executive Mike Horne. Photo / Leon Menzies

In May, Transport Minister Phil Twyford said the exemption to the public transport operating model (PTOM) was introduced by Steven Joyce in 2011.

"It is unclear why. Auckland Transport was concerned at the time that they would have no oversight of the ferry service," Twyford said.


"I have made no secret of my concern that PTOM is a race to the bottom for public transport services and could be driving down workers' conditions and wages."

Frustrated commuters were accused of violence against ferry staff amid escalating tensions caused by the reduced winter sailings to the island.

Promises were made to ensure the safety of commuters, especially the elderly and vulnerable when boarding the ferry.

However, Kaye claims greater guarantees are needed as the promises are not being met.

"I have since written to the mayor and [Transport] Minister raising a range of issues," she said.

"I have now formally requested Auckland Transport enter into discussions with Fullers to amend their access agreement to the wharves and AT have agreed to this.

"With further disruptions occurring over the last week, islanders need this sorted urgently."