Ferry fees an ‘unfair’ charge

A NOOSA man who operates a trail riding business on the North Shore has taken issue with Noosa Council over ferry costs.

Patrick Lloyd - who recently and unsuccessfully ran for a councillor position - said it costs him $32 in total to take clients and horses across the ferry, being for a car and trailer.

Mr Lloyd believes the concession extended to North Shore residents to use the ferry should also apply to business people using what is the only means of transport across Noosa River - and tourism operators in particular should receive a discount.

"I have a horse-riding business, and use the ferry transport sometimes twice a day," he said.

"I asked about applying for a discount last October; it took me two weeks to get a response - which was no.

Mr Lloyd said he had initially gone through the ferry operator for information, who advised him to approach council, and he believed the service was being run on a former Sunshine Coast Council contract.

He said he studied comparable ferry costs and found the North Shore service very expensive.

"The Moggill Ferry in Brisbane costs $1.95 for a car and 95c for a trailer - and that one is run by Brisbane City Council.

"Here it costs $7 for a car, and $9 for a trailer if it'[s under five metres long."

MR LLOYD said the North Shore Ferry had a captive market and was running as a monopoly.

"Council has not made provision for tourism operators - there's no concession, no wholesale rate," he said.

"Yet we are paying the tourism levy.

"You'd think they would give some kind of concession," Mr Lloyd said.

Noosa Council's property and facilities manager Clint Irwin said the ferry was operated by a private contracted company, awarded through tender in 2008.

"The contract provides the operator with eligibility criteria to reduce fares for North Shore workers, residents and non-resident ratepayers," Mr Irwin said.

"The contract was not intended to provide reduced fares for commercial operators who can factor ferry costs into pricing decisions."

He said council had not to date considered discounting ferry fares for commercial operators travelling to Noosa North shore.

"Any changes to the current arrangements would likely need to consider, among other things, implications for the ferry operator, who has a commercial agreement with council, and the cost to Noosa ratepayers if council subsidises a fare reduction," Mr Irwin said.

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