Kangaroo Island Connect ferry service has just announced a new partnership with Koala Car rental.
The company says this joint venture will means Island residents can shop or have medical appointments in Adelaide or Victor Harbor for a fraction of the cost of taking their cars on the boat.
Kic managing director David Harris said he believed it was most significant improvement of transport services to KI residents since the Philanderer 3 commenced car services to Cape Jervis in 1989.
"SeaLink now has real competition to their car transport business," Mr Harris said. "Hire cars and fast ferry passenger capacity is easily scalable and will add significant capacity to peak tourist periods."
Mr Harris from Kangaroo Island Connect (Kic) and Brenton GriGoul, managing director of Koala Car Rentals, last week announce the joint venture between their two businesses.
The joint venture would provide seamless hire car services for Kic ferry passengers to and from Kangaroo Island, Mr Harris said.
Koala Car Rentals will provide cars and services to Kangaroo Island Connect replacing Kic's mainland car hire business and bus service.
Mr Harris said Koala Car Rentals was Adelaide's oldest independent car rental business.
The company also runs Cut Price Auto Rentals specialising in truck, van and ute hire from its premises at Sir Donald Bradman Drive, Mile End.
Mr Harris said that Mr GriGoul had developed an outstanding vehicle rental business in a very competitive industry over many years.
Cars can either be rented and returned from Koala Car Rentals in Adelaide or Cape Jervis. Customers can jump on the Kic ferry and pick up another car, ute or campervan from Kic at Penneshaw - all within the one online booking.
The Koala cars can be rented for $45 including insurance, GST and unlimited daily kilometres.
Kic is also expanding its fleet on Kangaroo Island this summer to include cars for $65 per day.
"The significance of the new arrangements should not be underestimated," Mr Harris said.
"The daily cost of the Koala cars will be cheaper than a single return passenger ticket on the Cape Jervis/Adelaide bus. The Koala cars will lower the car costs for short trips from the Island by 75 per cent.
"This combines with Kic having already lowered the ferry fare to the Island by over 45 per cent and halving the time for the journey on a more luxurious vessel.
"Kangaroo Island Connect is creating competition on the route which fundamentally changes car and passenger transport services to the Island.
"In an age of change and disruption, the solution to solving the twin problems of capacity and cost is not a new larger car ferry or Government subsidies.
"The advent of relatively cheap, imported hire cars with seven-year's warranty and efficient internet based booking systems has meant it is now much cheaper to rent and/or ride share rather than put a car onto the ferry for trips of three days or less. Over 50 per cent of the trips to KI are for three days or less.
"Despite all the South Australian Tourist Commission's promotion of Kangaroo Island, five times the number of tourists overnight on the Fleurieu Peninsula than on the Island.
"Kic and Koala Car Rentals aim to bring the two districts together so that tourists can use our hire cars, spend a day on the way down to the Island, catch the ferry and after a half hour, seamlessly pick up a car on the Island.
"Those who choose to fly to the Island can now take a car back through McLaren Vale or Hahndorf on the way back to Adelaide. Only self-drive touring can effectively integrate the two adjoining and complimentary tourism districts.
"The obvious implications of the new competitive environment created by Kic should not be lost on the State Government who own, control and maintain the essential port infrastructure which is well below international standards."
Mr Harris said that negotiations with the Department of Planning, Transport and Infrastructure and the SA Tourism Commission to ensure Kic has adequate port access were still ongoing.