THE ferry is in pristine condition and is ready to sail the harbour.
But The Pride of Hayling is moored up at Camber Dock, Old Portsmouth, as the owners are desperately seeking a funding boost to get the Hayling ferry service back in action.
Tim Trayte and Dave Baker, who run Baker Trayte Marine Ltd, bought the boat in May with a view getting the ferry back in action.
But, just before they were about to apply to the Maritime & Coastguard Agency for approval to take passengers, they received an email from Hampshire County Council saying that there would no more subsidies.
The county council used to provide money for the service, until the former owners went bankrupt in March.
Portsmouth City Council also used to provide funding until last year.
Tim Trayte, 55, from Portsmouth, who has run the marine company since 1993, said: ‘We bought the ferry in May to put it back into service.
‘We live in Portsmouth and have always used the ferry in the summer.
‘It really needs funding from the council to make it work.’
He added: ‘We would like to run it.
‘Ultimately if we can’t we will probably just sell it. That would be a shame.
‘It could be put back in very quickly.
‘We would be happy to run it as a trial.’
Hayling councillor Michael Wilson is supporting the re-instatement.
He is hoping to get the key players round the table to thrash out a way forward.
He said: ‘There’s quite a lot going on behind the scenes.
‘I’m chairing a steering group to get the interested parties together to see if we can go back to Hampshire and get some subsidy for a sensible bid.
‘The funding is there. It was allocated for this year. It’s available.’
He added: ‘It’s more than just a transport route. It’s a sustainable transport route.
‘It’s providing trade for the holiday trade on Hayling Island and it also gets traffic off the road.
‘If we can get it back more people would be able to commute across.
‘We need a reliable, regular service – the problem was no-one knew when it was going to run and people stopped using it.’
Officials at the county council have indicated they are not willing to subsidise, given the small number of users, the ‘unknown costs of future subsidy requirements’ and ‘the significant future maintenance costs for the pontoons.’
But Cllr Sean Woodward, who heads transport in Hampshire, has said he is willing to talk to any interested party with a ‘viable business plan’.