CAMPAIGNERS are hoping a bus link for the Hayling Ferry could be one step closer.
It comes as a date is set for a public meeting to rally for funds for a community-led service.
Headed by activist and Labour party member Michael Evans, the event will discuss the prospect of a minibus serving passengers on the Hayling side of the ferry.
Mr Evans said: ‘It is hoped this meeting will bring people together to create a crowd funding effort to pay for a 19-seater minibus.
‘I have currently got two potential drivers lined up for it too, so it’s about trying to get this service paid for and on the road.
‘A bus service linking to the ferry is absolutely necessary – the number of people using it who don’t have access to have a car is huge.
‘Although this is a big task, I have faith the community can do it.’
While the conditions of the bus service will be discussed at the meeting, Mr Evans said it would ‘have disabled access’ and ‘pick up passengers from various points’ on Hayling Island.
He added that expected costs to purchase the vehicle and get a service running would initially be ‘in the region of £25,000’.
Speaking ahead of the meeting – set to be held on Wednesday, October 18 – skipper of the Hayling Island Ferry, Colin Hill, said: ‘Anyone that supports a bus service for Hayling Island and the ferry is doing a good thing.
‘A service like The Hayling Ferry is only as good as its weakest link.
‘Sadly, we currently have two – given the fact that there are no buses linking either side of the ferry.
‘The ferry has proven to be much needed – we have carried nearly 60,000 passengers in the past 13 months.
‘A bus service would only enhance this and it would have a positive effect on all the nearby businesses too.’
The meeting comes after concerns were raised about the safety of ferry passengers following the Victorious music festival at Southsea last month.
While Portsmouth City Council organised a free shuttle service for those travelling from commercial bus stops to the ferry’s jetty at Eastney, festivalgoers were left without a transport link once they arrived on Hayling Island.
Colin Hill said: ‘If ever it was illustrated how much we need a bus, it was then.’
The two-hour meeting is due to take place at The Royal Shades pub, Sea Front, Hayling Island at 7pm on Wednesday, October 18.
For more information on the meeting or to discuss donations for a minibus serving The Hayling Ferry, contact Michael Evans on 07939 553898 or firstname.lastname@example.org