A CLEAR business plan is ready to be submitted to get a ferry back in service, a packed meeting heard.
But backers of the Hayling Ferry warned that external funding will be needed to get the boat on the water again.
More than 150 people crammed into The Royal Shades Pub on Hayling Island for a heated public meeting.
There were strong statements from members of the public about how the ferry is a vital environmentally-friendly transport link and helps tourism on both Portsea and Hayling islands.
Andrew Rothwell represented Portsmouth-based Baker Trayte Marine Ltd, which has bought the ‘Pride of Hayling’ and will submit its business plan at the end of the month to the Langstone Harbour Board.
He said a new service would hope to take between 60 and 106 passengers a day with a return costing around £5.
There would be three crossings an hour starting from 6am and finishing at 7pm. This could be increased to 9pm in the summer.
‘We want to do this in a professional manner,’ he said.
‘We want to make it self-funding within three to five years.
‘Hopefully numbers of passengers will increase if they know the service is going to be there when they turn up.’
Portsmouth City Council has said it is not willing to subsidise the ferry, while Hampshire County Council has said it is open to discussions about ‘viable business plans’.
Tony Berry spoke on behalf of Community Empowerment Ltd, a charity that helped local people take The Fox and Hounds pub in Denmead into community ownership. He said charitable grants could be applied for.
The ferry reduces the area’s carbon footprint and there were calls at the meeting to apply for EU funding. People also called for an integrated transport system with bus routes connecting to the ferry at either side.