Residents to protest against Straddie ferry fares

Big Red Cat

Big Red Cat

Stradbroke Island residents are planning to hold a community meeting to protest about new fares introduced by Stradbroke Ferries.

The meeting will be held on Saturday 23 May commencing 10:00 am at Ron Stark Oval, Dunwich.

Of particular concern to residents are changes to the Day Shopper fare.

Stradbroke Ferries initial proposal was to remove the day shopper ticket for locals. After locals expressed their concerns, Stradbroke Ferries reinstated the ‘day shopper fare” but with an additional condition that ‘day shopper fare’ was only a “standby fare”. This means that residents are not able to count on being able to travel and may not be able to return home if “full fare” payers fill the barge.

Five Concerns about new fares

Island resident Elinor Drake has identified five key issues:

  1. Fares for islanders are – apart from more the more limited and uncertain new version ‘shopper return’ – increasingly expensive overall. For the cheaper fares offered [and they are ‘seasonally based’], one must travel at only certain times – regardless of emergencies or life’s demands which do not fit such a timetable.
    Clearly in the busy holiday times, ‘shopper returns’ won’t even be possible.
  2. The old ‘shopper day return’ fare has been replaced with a more limited and uncertain [“standby basis” only] arrangement. You could make the ‘booking’, turn up and then be told there’s no room for you! Moreover, the booking has to be made by phone, so does not attract the old online booking discount.
  3. Local business operators and tradesmen have to suffer increased rates, which will either be absorbed by them [and diminish their livelihood], or be passed on to island customers. Residents will thus be paying the penalty for others’ increased ferry costs, as well as our own!
  4. Visitors too will be put off by the price hikes, so we foresee the fare increases having a negative impact on tourism – one of the mainstays of the island economy.
  5. When Transit Systems Pty Ltd acquired Stradbroke Ferries Pty Ltd  in 2011, the ACCC concluded that this would lessen competition. We are now feeling the unfair impacts of a monopoly provider of vehicular ferry services.

When the new fares were introduced, the Chief Executive of Stradborke Ferries said he hoped the new fares would encourage more tourists to the island and help the ferry company minimise costs, as reported by the Redland City Bulletin on 20 April.

Unhappy residents have already started a petition against the new fares. It had been signed by 1490 people according to a report in the Bulletin on 5 May.

Letter to Stradbroke Ferries from Rex Kimlin

Amity resident Rex Kimlin has written the following open letter which details the impacts of the changes on his wife and himself:

CEO Stradbroke Ferries,

I am a 92 year-old WW2 Air Force Veteran, and my wife and I have enjoyed living on Straddie for 26 years. I retired over here, and the life style is wonderful. Now I am not sure it was the right move.

We both have to go to the mainland to have medical appointments quite frequently and as I am in a wheelchair I cannot use the water taxi and have to use the barge. Now with the new proposed fee set-up, I can see it becoming very difficult and expensive for us. While there was competition we enjoyed a free journey now and then, and the cost of travel was the same whatever time you travelled. We used our day shopper frequently and quite often due to appointments running overtime or finishing early we sometimes have to change travel times. As I see it now I could be charged extra for changing any bookings. I also understand that we will be placed on stand-by when making a booking for a day trip and may have to wait for the next ferry if other confirmed bookings supersede ours. This is just not manageable for people our age and with our health problems. Also I can see it having a severe effect on the tourist trade.

A few people have said to me that it is much cheaper to have their holidays on the Gold Coast.

I appeal to you to reconsider these draconian changes, and hope some of these proposed changes get changed for the better.

Rex Kimlin

Redlands2030 – 22 May 2015

Please note: Offensive or off-topic comments will be deleted. If offended by any published comment please email thereporter@redlands2030.net

5 thoughts on “Residents to protest against Straddie ferry fares

  1. Every push upward of an already high fare, be it Stradbroke or Southern Moreton Bay Islands, is bringing bridging as competition closer.

  2. To The Manager
    Transit Systems,
    Since the monopolisation of the Stradbroke Ferry System a number of actions taken by your organisation have identified grave cause for concern. The substantial increase in pricing due to your so called (Airline System) is the pinnacle of corporate greed. Airline pricing is due to competition, of which you have none. A perusal of your online prices shows total disregard for Island residents whom had a set rate return price.
    The reintroduction of the Shopper Day (Local Day) is commendable, if done under duress. However, not being able to place in credit any return portion of the trip is not taking into consideration any unforseen circumstance of your Bread and Butter customers, ie: Unforseen medical situation, vehicle malfunction etc. There is no avenue for judgement on merit.
    You are fast becoming known throughout the Island community as a poor corporate citizen that indulges in profit gouging with absolutely no consideration for its customers.
    The ACCC made a complete miscalculation in believing your company would not disadvantage Island residents, and in fact all customers.
    Your are urged to reconsider your position.

    Yours sincerely
    Bill Frost
    103 Sovereign Road
    Amity

  3. Gwen Specht
    Point Lookout

    21.05.2015

    Dear Stradbroke Ferries,

    Re: Locals Fare Day

    I am writing this letter to make you aware how the new fare structure has impacted on pensioners and elderly on the Island. I am a very long term resident of the Island, in actual fact since 1955.

    As I am sure you can appreciate the community needs certainty and a fair price when making a booking as I will occasionally take my friend Beryl Moore who is 98 years old to the mainland for appointments and enjoy a little bit of shopping. The new cheaper fares at 6.30 and 8am and returning at 5pm are of absolutely no use to us as that day is just far too long for Beryl and being on standby is not an option at 98 years of age.

    The new fare structure impacts on the elderly by limiting the times they can travel and costing us more if we do want to ensure we have a confirmed booking. We would usually go over on a 9am or 10am and be home on a 2pm or 3pm which would through the current fare system mean a cost of $102 return and that is with discounts.

    I hope you can appreciate the impact that has on the elderly in the community.

    Regards,

    Gwen Specht

  4. I feel sorry for the locals living on Straddy due the price grab by the Ferry company but for my worth, regrettably we will never be going to Straddy again as it is simply too expensive.

    Stradbroke Ferries are heavily subsidised by the government and whilst some CPI adjustment will always be necessary, they still have an obligation of fairness to the Islanders. That many of the latter have to go on standby when they are travelling to the mainland for often expensive and lengthy health appointments is pathetic and the Ferries should be ashamed of themselves!

    Hey, how about a PRIORITY ticket to help the often elderly folks out, maybe even a freebie now and then!

    Now wouldn’t that be a change for this ever dollar hungry company who have finally out priced themselves!

    Bye Straddy, we enjoyed the many trips over there. The Sunshine Coast for us from now on!

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