Auckland Transport says it has teamed up with Fullers360 for a new public-private ferry partnership.
Agreements were signed today affecting the network handling more than half of Auckland's ferry passengers on Devonport, Hobsonville, Half Moon Bay and Gulf Harbour services.
The Devonport to downtown Auckland route will be integrated into AT's ferry network, meaning the service will no longer be a privately operated route.
And a new agreement has been signed between AT and Fullers360, aimed at enhancing reliability, fare affordability and sustainability of services to and from Waiheke.
Auckland Transport will take charge of finding and delivering five new electric-hybrid ferries.
Fullers360 chief executive Mike Horne said the partnership would accelerate the transition to green ferry transport.
"Following the impact of Covid-19 on our business, solidifying a long-term partnership with AT means that we can continue to invest and pursue other new innovative solutions such as hydrogen powered technology."
AT's Darek Koper said the move to AT procuring new electric ferries would speed up the transition to an all-electric and electric-hybrid ferry fleet.
"Passengers travelling on services like the Devonport route will be some of the first to travel on the new electric and plug-in electric-hybrid ferries, which will be comfortable, quiet and will deliver a fantastic experience for our passengers," Koper said.
Fullers and AT said the Waiheke Island service - which currently cost $46 return - would still be exempt from contract regulation.
But it would have minimum service levels in a "quality partnership agreement".
The new agreements between AT and Fullers360 were signed today and take effect from Monday.
Waiheke passengers should be able to access the discounted AT HOP adult monthly pass in the coming months, but an exact date is yet to be announced.
Auckland Transport interim chief executive Mark Lambert said the renewed partnership between AT and Fullers360 represented a shift in how AT procured its ferry services.
"Through this successful joint negotiation for a public-private partnership, we're moving to a model of public ownership of Auckland's strategic ferry assets with its ferry fleet to be increasingly owned by Aucklanders, for Aucklanders, which is 12 years earlier than previously anticipated as a result of the negotiations" Lambert said.
- More to come