A consortium of island businesses and key figures are working on plans to introduce a new community ferry service across the Solent, competing with the duopoly of Wightlink and Red Funnel.
Currently there are 3 vehicle ferry services to and from the island; Fishbourne-Portsmouth and Yarmouth-Lymington operated by Wightlink and East Cowes-Southampton from Red Funnel. However, as part of the initial plans being developed, a 4th service would be introduced to and from Portsmouth.
The proposal will undoubtedly be called a piece of cake in the sky by many Islanders, especially given the huge start-up costs involved, including the purchase of ferries, terminal development and associated road works – not to mention. inevitable years of planning requests and approvals from authorities. .
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 whether or not to issue a letter of support at this early stage.
It is said that the consortium will consult with the public and key agencies on the principle of the proposal, but, to date, nothing has been made public about the idea and who is behind it. It is also not known how long it would take to implement such an important project.
Many are hoping for a low-cost operation that undermines both Wightlink and Red Funnel, which have raised prices in recent years while reducing the service provided. The two ferry operators were also marred by numerous accidents and breakdowns.
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