A consortium of Island businesses and key figures are working on plans to introduce a new community ferry service across the Solent, acting as competition to the duopoly of Wightlink and Red Funnel.
Currently, there are 3 vehicle ferry services operating to and from the Island; Fishbourne-Portsmouth and Yarmouth-Lymington operated by Wightlink and Red Funnel’s East Cowes-Southampton. However, under initial plans being put together, a 4th service would be introduced to run to and from Portsmouth.
The proposal will no doubt be labelled a pie in the sky idea by many Islanders, especially given the huge start-up costs involved including the purchasing of ferries, terminal development and associated roadworks – not to mention the inevitable years of planning applications and authority approvals.
The mysterious consortium has requested support in principle from the Isle of Wight Council for the proposed development of this new community ferry service. Next month the Council will decide on whether or not to issue a letter of support at this early stage.
It’s said that the consortium will be consulting the public and key agencies about the principle of the proposal, but, to date, nothing has been made public about the idea and who is behind it. It’s also unknown how long such a major project would take to implement.
Many will be hoping for a low-cost operation that undercuts both Wightlink and Red Funnel, who have in recent years raised prices whilst cutting the service provided. Both ferry operators have also been marred by numerous accidents and breakdowns.
Would you support the introduction of a community ferry service? Have your say in the comments section below!