November 29, 2023

‘Pathetic’: Bluebridge cancels more sailings as police called on upset customers

Related video: Bluebridge has had to cancel a second day of sailings on its Feronia ferry. And with the Interislander ferry Kaitaki still out of action, the backlog is getting even bigger.

Bluebridge has cancelled sailings on the stricken Feronia ferry for the third straight day as the ongoing disruption frustrates passengers. 

Bluebridge “apologised unreservedly” for the cancellations on its website, acknowledging it’s “very disruptive for our passengers”.

The cancelled services on the Feronia ferry are the 2am and 1:30pm crossing from Wellington to Picton and the 7:45am and 7:15pm sailings from Picton to Wellington. 

“Unfortunately, due to limited space in coming weeks, the only option available to passengers travelling with vehicles is a full refund,” Bluebridge said. 

“We are unable to offer standby bookings at this time. If your sailing has been cancelled you will have received a text message and an email containing a link to the refund request form. If you did not book direct with us and did not receive a message, please contact your booking agent.”

Bluebridge asked passengers not to turn up at the terminals if their sailings are cancelled and said it wasn’t sure when the issue will be resolved.

“Our engineers are doing everything they can to resolve the issue as quickly as possible, but unfortunately we do not yet know when that will be,” Bluebridge said.

“Please note, our call centre is extremely busy and wait times long. Please bear with us, and be kind to our staff, who are working hard to assist our customers during this difficult time.”

A stranded passenger in Wellington told Newshub Bluebridge threatened to call the police on her when she suggested she would sleep in their carpark for two weeks. 

“I can’t afford to go stay in a hotel for two weeks,” stranded passenger Carol Donaldson told Newshub on Tuesday. 

“I did suggest sleeping in my car in their carpark for two weeks and they threatened me with the police.”

American tourist Tyler Shunk told Newshub he’s been sleeping in his car the last few days because of the cancellations, which he says has ruined his trip.  

“It’s really frustrating because it feels like no one is really trying to help us.”

Another frustrated Bluebridge customer, who has been waiting for a sailing with his wife since last Saturday, told the NZ Herald the cancellations are “absolute bullsh*t”. 

“It’s just pathetic,” Rob told the Herald, who has been rebooked on the 16th but until then is stuck waiting at a Picton petrol station in their caravan.

He added his “patience is running out.”

Police called

Wednesday’s cancellations come after police were called to the Bluebridge ferry terminal in Picton on Tuesday. 

Police said they were called to the terminal because of a large number of annoyed passengers who had their sailings cancelled. 

“There doesn’t appear to have been any specific instance of abuse or bad behaviour that the staff were concerned about,” police said. 

“We did a foot patrol through the terminal a short time later and confirmed that although there were some ‘loud and upset’ people, there had been no significant issues.”

It comes after an engineering fault was discovered on Sunday night that saw four sailings cancelled on Monday.

On Tuesday, Bluebridge announced further cancellations because of ongoing engineering issues. 

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