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Customers complaints about Marine Atlantic


On behalf of the Board of Newfoundland B&B; Association, and the guests we have received over the past few weeks, I am passing on the complaints we heard from your customers.

Marine Atlantic Board Members;

On behalf of the Board of Newfoundland B&B Association, and the guests we have received over the past few weeks, I am passing on the complaints we heard from your customers.

…1) Despite assurance from your CEO this year the ferries would be on time, we have had consistent complaints from our guests the ferries have been late almost all the time. When your CEO Wayne Follett addressed various organizations (HNL convention, Municipalities NL) this spring he assured us the new schedule would have enough slack in it that it, along with the Atlantic Vision, would ensure on-time departures.
In the last several weeks almost no ferry has been on time.

For B&B operators the failure to arrive on time means lost bookings and extremely late nights, when someone has to stay up late to receive guests, and then has to rise early to make breakfast.

Hotels with 24 hour a day staff can manage, but owners of small B&Bs are being worked into the ground by your delays.

…2) Complaints about gouging by Marine Atlantic. The second most common complaint comes from guests who feel they have been gouged by the company.

They have to pay for their passage at booking, and when the schedule become altered and they can go earlier, they have to pay a $25 surcharge to change their reservation.

They complain the dining room on the Vision does not have an a la carte menu. and people are forced to pay enormous costs for buffet breakfasts and dinners even when they do not want them.

But worst of all is the need to book a cabin on the Atlantic Vision during daytime crossings, if you are not one of the first 350 to book. That is looked upon as gouging $50 extra out of the passengers.

By the way some of our guests did not like paying $7 for a beer on the Atlantic Vision either.

It is now clear the Atlantic Vision is not a suitable vessel for the Newfoundland service. It has enormous capacity for vehicles, but its anemic passenger accommodations negate the beneficial effect of all that vehicle space.

How can one place over 500 cars in the hold when there is only enough capacity for the passengers of 300 cars or less?

While some of the delays are caused by mechanical failures, some appear to be caused by shortages of staff, something any competent management should be able to address.

But breakdowns apart, it is time to abandon the gouging practices that most infuriate our guests. The fee for daytime cabins on the Vision should be dropped, the fee for changing reservations as well and you must introduce an a la carte menu in the Vision's dining room.

These changes will not fix everything, but will help our guests feel they are not being gouged.

While not a fix for everything, it would be a good start.

Yours truly,
Peter Fenwick, President
B & B Association of Newfoundland and Labrador

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