Hayling Ferry boss says passenger numbers up due to Saturday’s traffic problems

BUSY Frida Edwards, the owner of the Hayling Ferry
BUSY Frida Edwards, the owner of the Hayling Ferry

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THE BOSS of a ferry firm which helped people get home after the weekend’s gridlock has hit out at the council for slashing its funding.

Frida Edwards, who owns the Hayling Ferry, says scores of people who dumped their vehicles in Portsmouth had no choice but to use the ferry to get out of the city.

Passenger numbers were up 30 per cent and they had to stay open an extra hour to cope with demand.

But in March Portsmouth City Council confirmed it would no longer subsidise the ferry to the tune of £15,000 a year because they did not feel it benefited people from the city.

Mrs Edwards said: ‘If it were not for the ferry people would have been stranded.

‘It took us completely by surprise but we coped with it. The thing is, the council stopped the subsidy because they said the ferry was not needed.

‘But what would those people have done if it was not for us?’

Traffic problems caused by work on the M275 saw thousands of people stuck in traffic backing all the way down to The Hard.

Work was being done to waterproof the motorway’s bridge.

It meant the southbound carriageway of the motorway was reduced to one lane while the northbound was down to one.

But Councillor Jason Fazackarley, in charge of traffic and transport at the council, said Saturday’s traffic woe was exceptional and he could not reconsider the subsidy on that basis.

He said: ‘The gridlock at the weekend was, hopefully, a one-off. We took the decision (over the subsidy) as part of the overall savings we have to make within the budget.

‘We are looking into what went wrong with the debacle at the weekend and, with regards to the Hayling Ferry, I don’t expect to see that scenario every weekend.’