Although tickets for the ferries operating between Trinidad and Tobago were listed as “sold out” during the July/August holiday season, there were over 25,000 empty seats on the Jean De La Valette, the T&T Spirit, the Galleons Passage and the Cabo Star during that period.
This according to the latest statistics released by the T&T Inter-Island Transportation Company Ltd.
And according to officials from the company, passengers who purchased tickets but failed to show are being blamed for the empty seats.
According to the data, during the vacation period, there were 60,782 available passenger spaces on the Jean De La Valette. However, only 56,484 passengers were transported.
On the T&T Spirit, there were 43,250 available seats while only 30,6111 passengers were transported.
On the Galleons Passage, there were 32,000 available seats and 30,611 passengers.
The Cabo Star, which has the smallest passenger capacity, carried 9,395 passengers- 485 less than its 9,880 maximum capacity.
The vehicle capacity for the Jean De La Valette, the T&T Spirit and the Cabo Star is 47,480 but during the vacation period, only 33,243 vehicles were transported- a 14,237 vehicle difference.
For the period July 18 to August 31, the Jean De La Valette made 78 trips between the islands, four of which were cancelled. The T&T Spirit made 365 trips in the period January 1 to July 31.
In an interview with Guardian Media Chief Executive Officer (Ag.) of the T&T Inter-Island Transportation Co. Ltd, Vilma Lewis-Cockburn attributed the empty seats to passengers who purchase tickets but never show up for sailings or change the dates after the tickets were purchased.
When asked what measures could be implemented to prevent this from happening in the future, Lewis-Cockburn said, “Develop a culture where persons who are not travelling advise early enough so that someone else can get this seat.”
She said there is currently a 25 per cent penalty applied when a refund is requested.
Asked if there were plans to put any other measures in place, Lewis-Cockburn said no.