‘I am offering you a discounted rate of $8 for a one-way bus ticket and an all-day $14 bus ticket on our Island Explorer all year round,’ RIA chief executive officer Paolo Amaranti said in an email to the boating community on December 30.
Reinstatement of the discount followed boaters’ protests after the RIA, which faces a reported ongoing $4 million shortfall in its $35 million annual costs, increased the cost of single adult bus fare from $14 to $20, children’s charges went from $6 to $12 and a daily ticket for a four-member family on the a new Island Explorer service rose from $30 to $50 last month.
In his email, Mr Amaranti said other changes to ‘improve’ boaties’ visits included water rangers collecting mooring fees with EFTPOS machines, water and a range of fuels at jetties and boat rubbish collection in holidays. Those seeking the discount need to tell the bus driver they are from a moored or visiting vessel.
Up to 25 boaters protesting against the RIA’s higher fares called Boating WA.
President Colin Lockley said those who could afford to take their own boat to the island should pay less on the buses when a recent study found middle-aged couples with vessels were the single largest contributors to the island’s income.
‘It’s quid pro quo, because if you raise fares then you shouldn’t heap those costs on those that most regularly come over to the island,’ Mr Lockley said.
Fremantle MLA Simone McGurk said while the increases may only allow the RIA to recover the cost of running the buses, she had told Parliament’s Delegated Legislation Committee last week to monitor the increases.
‘Overall, the concern is are there are number of concessions being given to the top end of town when we should be ensuring that the same amount of consideration is given to WA families,’ Ms McGurk said.
The RIA could not be contacted before deadline.