Yesterday I held a meeting with the Chair of the local board for Waiheke Cath Handley and Auckland Transport where we raised issues regarding a lack of urgency on the ferry service issues, MP for Auckland Central Nikki Kaye says.
“I have since written to the Mayor and Minister raising a range of issues. In the short term it is clear there needs to be greater guarantees around ensuring elderly and vulnerable people are prioritised, including the delivery of a well-functioning locals lane.
“I have now formally requested Auckland Transport (AT) 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. People are fed up with being left on wharves and the lack of progress.
“In the longer term it is my clear understanding from talking to AT that there is no technical barrier to Waiheke being included in integrated fares. If there is a subsidy the Council will have to pay this (due to the exempt route status).
“We need a timeline on the discussions between Fullers and AT and we need assurances that Fullers intends to be cooperative, swift and reasonable in their response. Otherwise Waiheke is on track to be left out of integrated fares by February next year alongside the rest of Auckland.
“In the longer term the Public Transport Operating Model (PTOM) review is occurring. It is concerning this review could take at least 12 months to possibly two years to complete. 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.
“I understand a PwC audit is being undertaken by fullers, in my view a company that is under intense scrutiny around its services should not be commissioning an audit of itself.
“I have asked the Mayor to ensure there is either an independent audit of the company, or it should be at the very least jointly commissioned with AT to ensure the terms of reference are appropriate and that stakeholders are engaged.
“People need to be confidence there is going to be change with regards to services. We need greater urgency and assurances by the Minister and Mayor on these issues.”