A DETERMINED bid has been launched to re-instate a vital ferry service.
Six months after the last ferry sailed between Hayling Island and Eastney, many people are desperate to have the link restored.
A Save The Hayling Ferry campaign, backed by The News, has been launched with the intention of getting a viable, sustainable service back in action.
The privately-owned ferry finally went bust in March after years of problems.
Community leaders believe what is now needed is a strong business plan in order to attract investment, which could come from private sources, the public purse and the community.
Guy Hudspith, a ferry enthusiast who lives on Hayling Island, has been carrying out detailed research and believes a catamaran carrying around 50 people would be the best option.
To not have it is a disasterPaul Fisher
He believes there should be a rush-hour timetable, but more flexible trips during the day, offering journeys to walkers and cyclists and even tourists trips in Langstone Harbour.
He said the two old vessels that ran the ferry route – which were bought at auction – were not viable as they used too much fuel.
‘What is needed is somebody to come up with a proper business plan and put it before the public as an attractive investment,’ said Mr Hudspith, who is part of the Save The Hayling Ferry group.
‘Certainly community investment could be possible.
‘There are so many people on Hayling who desperately miss it. Crowdfunding is possible.’
A ferry service has been running for around 200 years and figures show that more than 70,000 people used the ferry in 2009-2010.
Hayling cyclist Paul Fisher will write to the transport leader at Hampshire County Council, Sean Woodward, to demand a commitment to getting a service back in operation.
Cllr Woodward had previously said the ‘significant costs’ of getting a ferry back did not represent ‘good value for money for taxpayers’.
But he told The News he would be happy to speak to any group that came forward with a viable proposition.
Mr Fisher said: ‘In our view the ferry service is an essential element of the transport infrastructure for Hampshire.
‘The ferry can be self-supporting. It needn’t be subsidised, but it needs financial support to get started in the short to medium term.’
He added: ‘To not have it is a disaster. It’s like having your hand cut off – there are only two ways on to the island.’
n Have you been affected by the closure of the ferry service and would like to see it back?
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