Ferry commuters from Auckland's Waiheke Island and Devonport have to wait even longer for a resolution to ferry woes due to Covid-19.

About a year ago, ferry users from both locations were complaining about cancellations and delays to services, which left commuters stranded on wharves due to staff shortages.

Auckland Transport is not able to make changes because a Land Transport Act exemption gives control to private company Fullers, which operates the services.

That could be changed by a review into the Public Transport Operation Model, which was due mid-2020 but has been delayed due to Covid-19.


A spokesperson for Minister of Transport Phil Twyford confirmed there was no new timeframe for the review while the Ministry "works urgently on Covid-related issues in the transport sector".

Waiheke Island Local Board chair Cath Handley said it was "deeply disappointing" and did not think Covid-19 was enough to indefinitely delay the review.

"Life is worse for us right now than it has been, with respect to our ferry service, for a very long time."

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She said some commuters did not want to return to work in the city because Fullers was operating a limited schedule that could leave people waiting an hour for a ferry during peak times.

Handley said due to Covid-19 and the review delay, she was concerned the island was being overlooked by the Government as a tourism destination. "Here we have a major New Zealand destination where even the transport to-and-from is kind of, at the moment, limping."

Devonport-Takapuna Local Board chair Aidan Bennett said people ultimately wanted the timetable to be better and to fulfill the needs of locals.

He understood the reduced timetable was due to less passenger traffic, largely because of a lack of tourists, but said Covid-19 had "created a temporary problem on top of what was already seen as a problem".

Bennett said Fullers told him a recovery plan was in place. "Whether that gets back to what is totally desirable for users of the ferry from Devonport is questionable".


Fullers have been contacted for comment.