THE Pride of Hayling Island is looking to secure its service to the public by offering something new to schoolchildren and parents.
The Hayling Ferry is giving pupils living on the island who go to school in Portsmouth the chance to travel there and back for £3 a day.
It’s thought the new scheme will not only save parents time but, if used enough, ease pressure on the only road on and off the island (the A3023).
Colin Hill, who runs the Hayling Ferry on behalf of Baker Trayte Marine Ltd, said: ‘Parents can drop their children off at our base where they would hop on the ferry and reach Eastney within three minutes.
‘Seven children from Mayville High School use our service and the school sends its own minibus to pick them up when they arrive.
‘If what we’re offering proves popular with pupils from other schools, I think they would look to do the same and arrange to pick the children up from Eastney.
‘At home-time, the bus from Mayville takes the pupils back to Eastney, where we then take them back to the island.
‘If this new link is well-used it will reduce the number of cars going across Langstone Bridge and ease strain on parents.
‘It takes some of them up to 40 minutes to do one out of four journeys per day, taking their children to school and picking them up, and driving themselves back home or to work afterwards.
‘We’re offering a 40-trip ticket for £60, which means kids can use the ferry for £1.50 a time.’
The Hayling Ferry was re-launched in August after its former owners went bust in March, 2015.
But Mr Hill wants to assure people that despite welcoming new business with open arms, the service is very reliable.
The 55-year-old added: ‘If we can get parents and children on board with this, it would make our business more secure in the winter months.
‘Obviously, use of the ferry is always more popular in the summer.
‘The boat is licensed to carry 63 people at a time, so if we get more pupils than this we’ll do more than one trip there and back in the morning and in the afternoon – we can be very flexible.’
Mayville High School’s bursar Bernice Magee is happy with the service children are getting. She said: ‘We used the ferry before it stopped running, but had to revert to our own minibus system when it did.
‘When the business was re-launched it was too expensive for children to use everyday, but now they’re offering this reduced rate for them it’s perfect.
‘We’ve had great feedback from the parents of the pupils using the ferry.’
Hayling West councillor Andrew Lenaghan supported the re-launch of the business. He added: ‘I’m delighted about the new, reduced rate link for schoolchildren.
‘Anything that could ease pressure on the A3023 is a good thing.’
Visit haylingferry.net for more details.