THE future of a ferry link is in serious doubt as the operating firm enters administration.
The Hayling Ferry did not run over the weekend and both its boats are up for sale.
It is understood Hayling Ferry Ltd is struggling financially after the service was out of action for part of last year and subsequently lost customers.
Last year the family-run company was also fined more than £12,000 after admitting carrying more than twice the number of passengers the ferry was licensed to on four occasions.
Commuters who rely on the service between Eastney and Hayling were devastated.
One 37-year-old woman, who did not want to be named, said: ‘I’m gutted to be honest. Using the ferry to go to work makes my commute quite a pleasurable experience.
‘The 15-mile commute in rush hour traffic is stressful and bad for the environment.
‘It’s really sad news. I’m keeping my fingers crossed a solution can be found.’
As well as being used by commuters and schoolchildren, the ferry is used by many tourists and visitors during the summer.
Hayling Island councillor Andy Lenaghan said: ‘Because they have not been offering a regular service a lot of the customers have found alternative ways of commuting. I don’t think the ferry has got them back.’
He added: ‘We are very disappointed it’s come to this.
‘It’s been there for years. It could be very successful with somebody behind it as a ferry and tourist attraction.’
The service had been subsidised entirely by Hampshire County Council after Portsmouth City Council withdrew its £10,000-a-year funding last year.
The 65-seater Pride of Hayling and the smaller 12-seater Tina Marie are both up for sale.
Tim Chapman, an agent dealing with the sales, said: ‘It’s up for sale.
‘We are trying to get the maximum amount we can do for the benefit of the creditors of the company.’
Frida Edwards, one of the directors of Hayling Ferry Ltd, would not comment.
She told The News: ‘I’m not saying anything right now.’
A statement from Baker Tilly, an accountancy firm, said: ‘Alexander Kinninmonth of Baker Tilly has been approached to assist the directors of the company. The company is subject to a “notice of intention to appoint administrators” which was filed at court on March 27. We will not be in a position to provide any further comment unless or until the administrator’s appointment is achieved.’