Ferry cancellations cause months of delays for frustrated passengers

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch
Feb 20, 2023 |

A Christchurch man trying to get back home from Wellington is now leaving the city without his vehicle, and it could be months before he can get it back as ferry sailings across the Cook Strait are repeatedly cancelled.

Breakdowns, servicing, cyclones, and an especially busy summer have seen multiple sailings cancelled over February. 

Hundreds of passengers have been stranded on the wrong side of the Cook Strait in the wake of a month of ferry disruption between Wellington and Picton.

Bluebridge and Interislander have just one operating passenger ship each.

Just three weeks after entering service as Bluebridge’s newest vessel, the Connemara suffered engine failure yesterday on the way to Picton and is moored up awaiting parts from overseas.

Christchurch man Paul Francis told Chris Lynch Media he was meant to take the Bluebridge sailing of the Connemara at 8am this morning, which has now been cancelled.

He has no choice but to abandon his vehicle until he can make time to collect it again, after driving up and taking the ferry to Wellington.

“I am one of the many stuck in Wellington with my vehicle and having to fly back home to Christchurch and come back to collect it another time.”

Paul says passengers have been told re-bookings will not be available for another month. 

“At 400-500 people per sailing and five sailings affected by the Bluebridge failure that’s 2500 odd people told sorry, we have nothing for you but a refund.”

“I took the opportunity to visit Zealandia two days in a row with my camera, and have many lovely shots to show for it on my page Paul Francis Photography.

“But when I get home, my work will be very disrupted without my vehicle, which is a real pain.”

Cook Straight ferry operator BlueBridge have given the below statement:

We understand the cancellations are very disruptive to our customers’ travel plans and we are sorry. 

Unfortunately, we have almost no available space on other sailings over the coming weeks and the only option we will be able to provide to affected passengers is a full refund of the ticket.

All customers affected by these cancellations will be advised by email and text, and the email includes a link to the refund request form.

Chris Lynch
Chris Lynch

Chris Lynch is a journalist, videographer and content producer, broadcasting from his independent news and production company in Christchurch, New Zealand. If you have a news tip or are interested in video content, email [email protected]

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