Hip-pocket pain for Rotto holidaymakers

‘It’s got to the point where the ordinary West Australian will find it hard to holiday there,’ Charter Boat Operator Association of WA president Rick Reid said.

Mr Reid said members of his association were charged an extra $16 for each person they took to the island last year.

A month ago, the Authority increased the cost of fares on its new Island Explorer bus service, which replaced the Bayseeker operation.

A daily family ticket for two adults and two children rose from $30 to $50.

A single adult fare is now $20 (previously $14), concessions are up to $16 ($11), while children’s tickets have gone from $6 to $12.

The increases come at a time when the Authority’s income is $4 million short of the $35 million it says it needs to run the island each year.

The State Government provides the difference.

The island is in the electorate of Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk.

‘I will be visiting the island this week and will raise the issue of these increases when CPI is 2.6 per cent ” it’s difficult to justify a rise of that magnitude,’ Ms McGurk said.

She said while she understood the Authority had a difficult job managing an A-Class reserve and maintaining heritage buildings on the island, regulations may restrict any prices rises.

A RIA spokeswoman defended the bus fare hike, saying it had been ‘benchmarked with other holiday destinations and was deemed cheaper comparatively’.

She said the new service took visitors to the western end of the island, allowing access to 63 beaches and 20 bays.

Reducing other costs to visit the island included discounted accommodation and ferry tickets throughout the year.

Tourism Council of WA chief executive Bevan Hall declined to comment.

Authority chairman John Driscoll, who supports privatising island services, did not return calls.