As of 1st October, the Samoa Shipping Corporation will be charging customers with vehicles extra fees.
But that is only if they decide to change their already confirmed bookings with the Corporation to an earlier or later date.
The Corporation has taken this action to make their service more efficient and fair for all customers.
This, according to General Manager of the Samoa Shipping Corporation, Papali’i Willie Nansen is called ‘changing fees’ when your bookings is changed.
“This only applies to vehicles only and the surcharge is to cover the additional services rendered for rebooking and reissuing of tickets.” Papali’i said.
The surcharge is to solve the growing problem of passengers with confirmed bookings, failing to turn up on their scheduled trips.
Only then they “turn up whenever they feel like it and rebook the vehicle” he said.
The unacceptable practice by passengers is ‘costing the Corporation a lot’.
“This is because when they (customers) do turn up to rebook, the Corporation has had to reissue the ticket in order for the ticketing system it currently operates to accept the change.
Papali’i said the problem with the practice, “is they have taken up space another customer could have used and we (have) had to turn away customers wanting to sail on that particular sailing because we have thought the vessel was full and sold out. This is unearned revenue to the Corporation.”
As a result of this sort of problem the travelling public “on standby blame us for telling them that the vessel is full but when they turn up they saw the vessel is half full with confirm vehicles but this is due to confirmed vehicle ticket holders failing to turn up”.
At the moment there is no charge for changing the booking but with this new procedure to be effective 1st October charges will be enforced.
He suggested this was the very reason why customers concerned themselves very little about the effect it has on the Corporation.
“This is how many customers have been abusing the system because they see it as easy and it’s not costing them anything.
He went on to say that the surcharge (changing fee) is basically 30 per cent of the normal charge for each category (of vehicle).
“This fee only applies when you change your booking … it’s like a penalty fee.
“It’s minimal and if customers abide by it, then it will assist the Corporation to operate smoothly.”
But the additional charges will not have any effect on the normal charges for vehicles, Papalii emphasised.
The normal vehicle charges have been priced as they were from nine years ago.
“The changing fee is to encourage customers with confirmed bookings to utilize the opportunity wisely.
“Far too many people don’t care and have little concern to turn up for the scheduled trip they are confirmed on because it doesn’t cost them anything to change when they fail to turn up.
“Right now, the user-pay methodology is widely adopted and used by businesses requires the users of services to pay for the cost of using that service.
“You use it and you pay for it.”
Papalii is advising customers and the travelling public to utilize their confirmed booking wisely.
“Otherwise you are liable for the changing fees when you opt to change your booking,” he added. “This is a method widely used by airlines and ferry companies overseas and we are no different.
“It’s just that the cost for making the changes no longer can be afforded and absorbed by the Corporation.
The notice of the new policy has also been published in some local newspapers and aired on TV 1’s Lali Programme as well as the Corporation’s social media sites, Facebook and Twitter.
The changing fees are as follows;
Vehicle Category A (9ft-12ft) - $24, Vehicle Category B (12ft-15ft) - $29, Vehicle Category C (15ft – 18ft) - $30, Vehicle Category D1 (18ft – 21ft) - $33, Vehicle Category D2 (4tons or more than 21ft) - $42.