Sunday, 25 October 2015

Across the Solent by Scooter??? [1]

Has fbb Finally Flipped?
... or Scoot?
Scoot is and airline operating out of Singapore.
Its staff seem particularly ebullient and way out of place for the restful flights that oldies like fbb would seek.
Tee-shirts for cabin crew; scandalous! But this company is not serving the Isle of Wight.

Back in late spring this item appeared in the local Isle of Wight Press.

A foot and bicycle ferry service
between Cowes and East Cowes
is launching.

For commuters who live in East Cowes, but travel to the Mainland on the Red Jet, will find the service hard to resist. Rather than needing to walk through Cowes from Town Quay, where the RedJet lands, to catch the Floating bridge ...
... the new service will directly board at Town Quay. People will  then be dropped off at Grid Iron Steps in East Cowes.

The service would link East Cowes (near the chain ferry, bottom centre) direct to the Red Jet terminal (top left) on the map below.
The charge will be £1 for a single journey, with concessions available and is expected to start in August. The service will run as a shuttle starting at 6am, running through until 15 minutes after the last Red Jet lands. This service will have the capacity for up to 50 foot passengers, as well as space for push bikes, wheelchairs and prams.

After many years of free crossings for pedestrians, the Island Council introduced a 40p return fee on the floating bridge in August last amidst vehement protest.
Given the convenience for East Cowes-based commuters, it’s highly possible this service will reduce the number of paying customers the Floating Bridge will have, in turn putting a dent in the council’s estimates for income, that campaigners say are already highly questionable.

But it never happened! No such service appeared.

But the company was called "Scoot".

Scoot Ferries Ltd,
Medina Ship Yard,
Pelham Road,
Isle of Wight,
PO31 7PG

And here is a piccy of their imposing front entrance (on Pelham Road).
But next came another announcement:-

Scoot Ferries Ltd, the new Isle of Wight-based ferry company has announced that it will be running a special, scheduled ferry service for this year’s Cowes Week between Cowes and Hamble.

The service will run from Friday 7th August until Sunday 16th August between the south side of Trinity Pontoon in Cowes and Hamble Town Quay. With single tickets costing £15.00 and anytime returns costing £25.00, the first boat will depart from Cowes at 05:30 and run a 30-minute schedule throughout the day. The last sailing from Hamble to Cowes will be at 02:00 hours.

In fact, during July and August several announcements were made about future plans.
Cowes to East Cowes : August 2015
Yarmouth to Lymington : August 2015
Cowes to Hamble : Spring 2016
Cowes to Portsmouth : 2016

And the Cowes to Hamble service during the yottie week did operate; but not without a snag.

New Island ferry company Scoot Ferries missed four of its morning sailings between Cowes and Hamble today (Saturday), after staff failed to turn up for them. Scoot has been running sailings from Cowes to Hamble over Cowes Week, before the full service is rolled out next year. The company had moved to apologise to customers on their Facebook page this morning.

Erm; whoops!

“Hello Scooters, we screwed up royally this morning and failed to turn up for our scheduled sailings at 0530, 0600, 0630 and 0700. This is ENTIRELY unacceptable and we are absolutely devastated to have let some of our fantastic customers down when we’d been doing so well. We’re contacting all our booked customers directly to try and do everything possible to make amends.”

Will a service to Hamble be viable? Here's a report from a real genuine passenger.

"Yesterday, I took a trip over to the Isle of Wight from Hamble village with the new ferry service that is now operating. The owner was telling me about what a bad season he's been having and how he has found it hard to get the word about. I work in Cowes very often and think that I will use this chap for commuting; but certainly during Cowes Week I will be going over every day. If anybody else is up for it, please get in touch as he needs a minimum of two passengers to run! He charges £20 for a return and he says that he will run late into the night."

Sadly that was written in 2013 and the service soon foundered (although not literally!)

But from 1st September 2015 the service between Yarmouth and Lymington commenced in a blaze of glory.
The "orange" journeys were restricted to "pre-booked season ticket holders" but the scope of the service was certainly very impressive.

The boat will be able to take up to 12 passengers and sailings cost £9 each way. A 30 day season ticket will cost £300.

Thus £10 a day assuming it is for any 30 days.

Yesterday, fbb motored over from Newport to Yarmouth to see the service in practice.

His incisive and slightly chilly report will continue tomorrow.
Fishwick Finally Fails after over 100 Years
The long established firm providing services between Preston and Leyland ceased trading at the end of business yesterday. Immediate news releases do not reveal the reason but the announcement was made suddenly a few days ago.
Once with their own bus station (pictured above in 1968) the company had a deserved reputation for high quality vehicles ...
... and excellent service. Stagecoach will be running a slightly modified service 111 from today and "are in discussions" with Lancashire Council about service 109, 115 and 119 which will not be covered immediately. Other existing services will mitigate some of this loss.
 Next ferry blog : Monday 26th October 


  1. I believe there was a ferry service between Hamble and Cowes prior to the one in 2013. Recall reading about it in a book about ferries in the Solent area. Believe it was when the former Hamble airfield was still being used for aeronautical engineering of some kind and employees came from Cowes.

  2. Andrew Kleissner26 October 2015 at 09:06

    As a busman, you ought to be ashamed(!) at forgetting to mention the London AEC Renown LTLs - otherwise known as "Scooters":

    I see that Scoot Ferries are intending to open Cowes-Pompey in a couple of weeks time ...

    (Sorry, posted this on the wrong page before!)