Fares hike is justified if cash is spent on upgrades

Picture: Shutterstock

STEVE CANAVAN: The case of the 'kitchen' door is open and shut

Have your say

The owners of the Gosport Ferry have a monopoly on cross-harbour travel.

And for hundreds, if not thousands, of people it is part of their daily commuting routine.

Were it not for these hard-working vessels criss-crossing between Portsmouth and Gosport, their travel-to-work plans would be far less energising.

Let’s face it, how many thousands of commuters into and out of the Portsmouth area would rather have a brisk and bracing boat trip than one in which they are stuck behind the wheel of a car?

From time to time there is grandiose talk of building either a giant bridge to span the harbour, or, once, a supertram scheme which would have run beneath it.

Some ferry passengers might be moaning about the cost of their passage, but it’s worth remembering that had either of those plans ever come to fruition there would have been a toll to use the bridge and the massive cost of the tunnel – £600m was mooted – would have been reflected in the price of a tram ticket.

The ferry company has justified its latest price increase by saying it wants to buy a new £3.3m, 300-passenger boat and improve the waiting area on the Portsmouth side.

We hope this is not a smokescreen and that is indeed where the extra cash will go.

Meanwhile, we do not think £3.10 for a return ticket – a 20p increase – is exorbitant.

As 64-year-old Bobbie Folan, of Bridgemary, Gosport, tells us on page 5 today, it cost him £4.65 simply to catch the bus from home to the Gosport ferry terminal.

Those who are complaining about the increase – and it’s not everyone by any means – should remember the alternative.

That involves an interminable journey on the dreaded, traffic-choked A32 around the harbour and into Portsmouth. Or vice versa.

Who wouldn’t prefer that ferry crossing – just as long as the price is right and the money raised from the fares increase is spent making that short journey across one of the world’s most interesting harbours more enticing?