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The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Sun 15 Nov, 2009 8:03 pm
by Michael_Kingston
Anyone else noticed that the price of the ferry from Narcissus to the visitor's centre has gone up from $25 in January this year to $35 now. A 40% price rise seems pretty unreasonable, or am I missing something?

And yes, I know I could walk around the lake ... but does that excuse what appears to be profiteering from a monopoly granted to a private operator by Parks and Wildlife.

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Sun 15 Nov, 2009 8:16 pm
by dee_legg
It's ridiculous isn't it? The cost was $28 a few months ago.. but an increase the $35 seems unjustifiable! I'm no expert on the costs of running a small ferry service but i think $35 per person is a bit rich. I know that the ferry has recently changed hands, and as a result many people were made redundant... which isn't showing in the costs.
Interesting, and i'll be avoiding the service as much as possible now days!

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Sun 15 Nov, 2009 8:23 pm
by Michael_Kingston
The thing I worry about Dee is that people are being priced out of areas. AMria ISland is another example - once you could afford to go to Maria Island for a day trip - now, at $162 return for my family of 2 adults and 2 kids it is not an option.

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Sun 15 Nov, 2009 9:31 pm
by corvus
Call me a cynic but has the "season " not started ,tis November :roll:, having said that I believe the St Clair ferry offers good value at $35.00 if you choose to use it .When doing the OLT I prefer to walk around the Lake however if only doing Pine Valley etc I would just have to cost it in like fuel from the NW Coast down to the start.
Sorry to say their aint no free lunch and we live in a user pay society I am a self funded Retiree and can blink for a sec and see $1000.00 drop from my "super" so a $7.00 rise considering fuel cost is a mere Bagatelle in the due course of things and I do understand the pressure of paying for four,I just had to cut my cloth to suit my means back then with my Family and remember the folks running the Ida Clair need to make a living also.
corvus

P.S. what a great Monopoly must make a mint of dosh in the off Season eh!! :?

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Sun 15 Nov, 2009 10:00 pm
by sunbernd
Michael_Kingston wrote:Anyone else noticed that the price of the ferry from Narcissus to the visitor's centre has gone up from $25 in January this year to $35 now. A 40% price rise seems pretty unreasonable, or am I missing something?

And yes, I know I could walk around the lake ... but does that excuse what appears to be profiteering from a monopoly granted to a private operator by Parks and Wildlife.


I agree, most unreasonable!! But this is not all of it. Since Wilhelmina sold on Lakeside St Clair (including the "Ida Clair" ferry service) backpacker accomodation has also increased around 40%. But since I paid in full prior to the change of ownership, they are honouring my booking at the old price. How humbling.......

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 7:40 am
by jwalker
Wow. Must of just snuck in 3 weeks ago at $28 p.p each way. I always just pay the money for these things & try an concentrate on whatever great adventure I'm about to undertake. Though $70 p.p now for a pine valley area weekend is getting up there. The case for that sea kayak continues to mount.....

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 8:49 am
by wander
Try running a small seasonal bussine in Australia and you'll wonder how they can do it at $35.00 a trip.

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 9:19 am
by Son of a Beach
corvus wrote:would just have to cost it in like fuel from the NW Coast down to the start.


I can't comment on how fair it is, and how viable the business is from the perspective of operating costs.

But I can say that in my large car, with just one person in it, it costs about that same amount of money to pay for fuel to get all the way from Launceston to Lake St Clair AND back (more than a 4 hour round trip). To have to pay that same amount again just for the last few minutes (last couple of kilometres), ONE WAY per person, when the boat is also full of other people sharing the fuel use, does seem very unbalanced from the traveller's perspective.

I would prefer to walk the lake side rather than take the ferry for some trips, but for other trips, that's just not viable if time constraints prevent it.

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 10:18 am
by Ent
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Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 10:55 am
by Steve73
Brett wrote: Problem with transport is you have to cover the cost the boat sitting idle plus the dead trips with one or none people on the reverse legs.



Maybe this only applies to the off-season, but the minimum cost of using the boat is something like $160. In other words, if you're the only person on the boat then you pay $160. At least that's what it was in May when my wife and I did the track.

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 11:01 am
by Son of a Beach
Fuel is definitely more than half of the operating costs of my car, the way I run it. In any case, I was not really interested in the operating costs of my car for the trip from Launceston to Lake St Clair, I was merely using the cost of the fuel to get there to explain how much money I had to have "in my pocket" (so to speak) to get from home to the start of a bushwalk, and that catching the ferry MORE than doubled the cost of the round trip from that perspective.

I'm not disagreeing with you, though. They may well have good sound reasonable business reasons for charging that much, but unfortunately, it does make many popular bushwalks unaffordable for a large number of people.

It's also worth noting that they have a minimum charge per trip when there are not large numbers. I think when I did it in winter many years ago, they wouldn't go unless you had at least four people (or paid for four people). Most staff who have seasonal work find other jobs in the off season too, so staff costs are much reduced in the off season (I don't know how many staff they have, and if this really makes any significant difference to this particular business, or not).

They don't have a monopoly on all transport between Cynthia Bay and Narcisuss, but they certainly do have a monopoly on passenger ferry services between those two locations. Yes, there is the option of walking (which I already choose over the ferry when I have the time), but walking is simply not an option for many trips - eg, those who want to go into Pine Valley for the weekend, or a number of other locations for short trips.

So I'm not criticising them for charging what they do (I can't say one way or another if they're "doing the right thing" or not), but I'm merely stating that the massive increase in prices of this ferry service over the last 10 years or so has made some bushwalks unaffordable and impracticle for many people. 10 years ago, I would drive down there at the drop of a hat and wouldn't think twice about paying the small charge for the ferry (despite the sometimes grumpy disposition of the staff at the time ;-) ), but these days, I cannot afford that, which means that I need to add at least 1 day to most of my walks in that area, which means that I cannot do them merely on weekends, which means that I've got to take annual leave to do those walks.

So it's not a good thing for bushwalkers, the way I see it. However, it may well be required to keep the business afloat (and so long as the service survives, then that is a good thing for bushwalkers).

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 11:35 am
by dee_legg
I'd really just love to know what's changed in the last few months that forces a $7 increase in costs. I think i'm just more outraged about this because every time i've used this service to date i've endured sh't service!

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 11:56 am
by stu
Yeah, a higher rate in the off season would probably seem reasonable as they have to cover operating costs with less punters.
A price hike in the (now) peak season when they are generally running at 100% does seem like profiteering.
I generally only use the service to access areas in the Southern Reserve, so at $35 each way [per trip is bordering on ludicrous;
a reduced rate for return fares might be seem a little more favourable?
I know when I was going in regularly during late 2007 peak bagging every time the fare seemed to have increased by another dollar (was $25 in mid 2007).
I don't mind walking the lake on occassion (it's kinda boring after doing it multiple times) but it generally chews up the best part of a day each way, so for 2-3 day trips it's not really a viable option.
A bit sad really, I do love getting into that area regularly (Pine Valley, Labyrinth etc.).

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 12:13 pm
by ollster
I would gladly sever my own fingers as payment so I can avoid that @%$@# horrible $@#$$@# $@$@#$#@ painfully tedious @#%$@# %$#@$@$ lakeshore (or worse, the Cuvier Valley).

Actually, it's not that bad, but I've found I can only really handle it once a decade.

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 12:36 pm
by wander
Changes in expenses are not always passed onto an increase in ticket price. When a ticket price changes it is usually a range of expenses that have increased.

There is also a tendancy to hold a ticket price and "absorb" as many increases in expenses as long as possible. So there is often a backlog of expense to recover.

So there is more than likely not one single event or change that has lead to a ticket price increase.

And ticket prices are initially set based on a bunch of estimates. And estimates are just that, a best guess of the likely expenses and likely income. Once there is some hard data on these the experience should be put into recatsing the ticket price. And this for many industries is a moving target with the estimates getting better generally but remaining as estimates.

If you think the current ticket price for the boat is too much put a tender into Parks to take over the bussiness and charge less.

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 12:45 pm
by Ent
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Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Mon 16 Nov, 2009 1:58 pm
by Son of a Beach
ollster wrote:I would gladly sever my own fingers as payment so I can avoid that @%$@# horrible $@#$$@# $@$@#$#@ painfully tedious @#%$@# %$#@$@$ lakeshore (or worse, the Cuvier Valley).

Actually, it's not that bad, but I've found I can only really handle it once a decade.


I actually like both those routes. But only if I have time up my sleeves, and lots of it, which unfortunately is not usually the case. So yes, I often end up trying to avoid it too. But I can't afford the ferry any more, so I'll usually go elsewhere instead.

It seems that running some businesses seems to be getting very expensive relative to increases in personal income & CPI. Maybe it's insurance costs? I dont know. It's sad that it affects the bushwalkers this way, though, and there appears to be little we can practically do about it. For me, I just avoid the ferry, and often that means avoiding that end of the national park altogether, and walking elsewhere instead. Maybe they think this is a win/win situation, as it relieves pressure of numbers on that area.

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Tue 17 Nov, 2009 6:16 am
by Michael_Kingston
Thanks everyone for your thoughts. I agree with you Wander that running a small business is not easy and that the business may have been abosrbing costs for a while. However, from a customer perspective, putting up your prices 40% in 12 months ($25 in Jan 09 to $35 for Jan 2010) when fuel has NOT gone up and labour costs would have only increased 4-5% (assuming the employees got an average pay rise) is not a great look. Perhaps staggering the price rises would have been more sensible from a PR viewpoint.

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Tue 17 Nov, 2009 8:43 am
by Nuts
It must have Always turned a profit....parks havent taken it back all these years.... :wink:

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Tue 17 Nov, 2009 2:32 pm
by wander
With seansonal and/or tourist trade you try and set the price at the beginning of the season and avoid altering it too much until next season. This results in better PR than lots of small rises so the increase is staggered.

One reason is the price ends up in all sorts of litrature that will be quoted back to you over the counter when people tunr up the price is different. So you try and minimise puting staff in this position. Also most tourist decisions and bookings are made well in advance. So you need to have the information about what you do for how much out as early in the season as possible.

You also try and look around and see what other bussinesses are charging for similiar services. So how does the St Clair ticket price compare to say the Maria Island Ferry ticket price.

And last of all you charge as much as you dare without having bussiness drop off too much. This is the supply and demand guess you need to make to maximise the return. Remember this is not a charity or not for profit organisation. This last point seems to be forgotten by many customers which is ironic when you talk to them and find what they do for a living.

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Tue 17 Nov, 2009 2:40 pm
by Son of a Beach
wander wrote:And last of all you charge as much as you dare without having bussiness drop off too much. This is the supply and demand guess you need to make to maximise the return. Remember this is not a charity or not for profit organisation. This last point seems to be forgotten by many customers which is ironic when you talk to them and find what they do for a living.


This is true. It also reminds us that the business' primary goal is to make money from you, not to service your needs. If it can do both, then that's great. (Which is the same for the majority of commercial businesses - very few of them truly put their customers needs ahead of their own).

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Fri 20 Nov, 2009 10:31 am
by Nuts
Ordinarily perhaps, but then most people probably expect better value from what they may regard (as it is advertised) as being part of the track 'network'. Perhaps they should? Perhaps it should?

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Fri 20 Nov, 2009 10:36 am
by Son of a Beach
Yes, it certainly used to be good value in this regard about 10 years ago. It has certainly been less affordable over the last few years, and very much less affordable now.

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Fri 20 Nov, 2009 12:18 pm
by Nuts
Around $15 if I recall....(?)

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Fri 20 Nov, 2009 2:10 pm
by Ent
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Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Fri 20 Nov, 2009 2:17 pm
by Son of a Beach
Nuts wrote:Around $15 if I recall....(?)


I seem to remember around $10 or $12, but my memory is kind of dodgy. Whatever the amount, I remember that it was relatively insignificant to pay while I was a student, and while I was unemployed. I find the current price to be unaffordable even with a good job.

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Fri 20 Nov, 2009 3:16 pm
by wander
How should beting part of the "track network" impact on the price? It's just a tradename, catch phrase, or a somethingotmakepeopleinniceofficesaboutmeetingtablesfelltheyaredoingsomething.

I am aware of a lease / licence arrangement outside Tasmania where Parks take 4% of total turnover for the right to carry out the activity. Parks actual ongoing support for the activity is pretty low, up & down and generally unreliable.

I do not see why the Parks / St Clair Boat operation would not be subject to a similiar arrangement (but it may very well not be, I have no idea). If you want to talk about gouging perhaps you could consider if this 4% is not gouging? What % is fair an reasonable clear profit for an operator to make.

Consider the retail mark up is generally 100 to 150% and food (resturant) mark up is generally 200%.

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Fri 20 Nov, 2009 3:56 pm
by Ent
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Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Sat 21 Nov, 2009 2:35 pm
by MJD
Perhaps the Parks should take it over - sounds like it would increase their funding.

Re: The price of the Lake St Clair ferry

PostPosted: Tue 29 Mar, 2011 9:14 pm
by Phil
Hey guys

Is anyone able to tell me what times the ferry runs (and costs if it has changed) at the moment?? (for an Easter walk actually - late April)

Cheers

Phil