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Ferry user hits out over service disruptions

Ferry disappointing: Abrupt changes to ferry schedules are causing problems for commuters and visitors

A ferry commuter has called for prompt alerts of service disruptions after a string of problems this week on the Green Route linking Hamilton to the West End.

A regular user of the service said the Government’s apps failed to warn ferry riders left waiting after abrupt route changes and breakdowns.

A transport ministry spokeswoman responded that Lawrence Scott, the minister, was committed to “to reviewing the matters highlighted to ensure a better customer service outcome going forward”.

Mr Scott was answering a post from 22-year commuter Janice Battersbee, widely shared on social media this week as well as being sent to the ministry.

Ms Battersbee told The Royal Gazette last night that “unless the commuters raise a united complaint, nothing will happen”.

In her message posted on Tuesday, she commended the ferry crews but said there was “a major communication challenge between the Department of Marine and Ports and their taxpaying, fare-paying clients”.

She said that she had called on the ministry “years ago” suggesting electronic boards at ferry stops with updates on running times, including delays or cancellations.

“I was told that this had been considered but abandoned due to the potential for vandalism.”

She cited a switch from the 5.20pm commuter fast ferry on May 6 to an alternative ferry because of a mechanical breakdown, making it 30 minutes late for the Watford Bridge stop.

She added that the switch had confused some of the cruise ship passengers put on board the other vessel who had expected a direct trip to Dockyard.

The 8am inbound ferry was disrupted last Monday when a single vessel took over all the stops – and commuters for Paget at 5.15pm that day were delayed an hour when their ferry was switched for a Dockyard run.

Ms Battersbee decided to write in after a late inbound ferry the next morning.

“I have taken my time to cite the various recent incidences to provide a pattern of lack of communication that we, the faithful and paying ferry commuters have had to continually endure for the entire time that I have utilised this service,” she said.

She questioned why the Government’s app used for hurricane notices or roadworks could not advise ferry users of problems. She added: “Why is Peter not talking to Paul?

“It’s been heartbreaking to see how the harbour commuters are being treated.

“Nothing wrong with communication.”

The spokeswoman responded on Thursday: “The Ministry of Transport values the input and feedback from the community and strives to ensure a safe, efficient and reliable public transportation service for all.

“Any concerns that are raised regarding our public transportation service are taken very seriously.

“The account shared by this member of the public must have been distressing. And the minister is grateful for those ferry operators who were able to assist the individual.”

She said most interruptions to public transportation were “unavoidable sudden occurrences”.

“But overall, when there is a disruption, notifications are shared in real time across a variety of government social media and online platforms, including Facebook, WhatsApp, Twitter, Instagram, the government portal, the Tree Frog App and others.

“These notices are also distributed with local media partners.”

Ms Battersbee said last night that notifications went out “a lot less than they should, and definitely not on all platforms”.

She added: “We must do better – much better.”

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Published May 14, 2022 at 7:26 am (Updated May 14, 2022 at 7:26 am)

Ferry user hits out over service disruptions

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