Festival woes spark fresh calls for Hayling bus service to link with ferry

The Hayling Ferry
The Hayling Ferry

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FRESH calls have been made for a bus service to link up with the Hayling Ferry.

Residents and visitors leaving Portsmouth’s Victorious Festival and using the ferry to return home were left without a means of transport as they reached Hayling.

With no bus service available and taxi companies reporting two-hour waits, festival-goers had to walk along Ferry Road, which has no lighting and no pavement.

Concerns about safety on the road were so high on Saturday that glowsticks were handed out to those having to use it on Sunday.

Island resident Mark Coates, who used the Hayling Ferry to return home from Southsea after the festival on Saturday, said: ‘There were families and groups of teenagers walking down the road, where there’s no pavement and zero lighting.

‘Some people had arranged lifts and pre-booked taxis, so there were cars travelling down the road and it’s 40mph.

‘I genuinely think there could have been a serious accident or even a death, but due to luck there wasn’t.

‘It highlights the serious need for a bus service that runs to and from the ferry point.

He added: ‘There also needs to be some form of lighting on the road.

‘Ignorance and the head-in-the-sand culture that many have about this issue is ridiculous.’

Along with the ferry’s managing skipper Colin Hill, Mr Coates has made a bid to get the cost for the maintenance and use of an 18-seater minibus funded for four years as part of Havant Borough Council’s community infrastructure levy programme.

The council has more than £1.75m to spend on infrastructure and neighbourhood projects across the borough.

Mr Hill reported the total number of people who used the ferry on Friday, Saturday and Sunday was 2,286.

Portsmouth City Council arranged a free shuttle bus service, to connect those travelling to and from the festival on the Hayling Ferry, with the commercial bus network on the Portsmouth side.

Mr Hill said: ‘Things were very chaotic over the weekend.

‘I gave two people who were staying in a caravan at Northney a lift home because they had no idea what to do – they couldn’t get a taxi.

‘As I was driving I saw three youngsters on one side of the road and one on the other, it was very tight for me to get through and it’s just so dangerous.

‘A bus connection would make a hell of a lot of a difference.

‘I almost feel responsible for the fact there isn’t one, because although it’s not my fault it seems as if I’m just dumping people at the ferry point.’

The News asked Hampshire County Council if anything would be done about the safety concerns at Ferry Road, but a response was not received.

Councillor Clare Satchwell, who represents Hayling East at Havant Borough Council, said: ‘The Hayling Ferry festival route worked really well over the weekend.

‘There’s no doubt it would be better if there was a bus service to be used on the Hayling Island side.’