Monday 26 October 2015

Across the Solent by Scooter??? [2]

fbb Goes to See; but Doesn't Go to Sea!
They named the first vessel in the Scoot fleet, toute suite, as "Scoot 1". Sweet? And really original?

So on Friday last, fbb scooted out to Yarmouth Isle of Wight to observe the service in action. Already the timetable has been revised slightly. Those peak time trips for "pre-booked commuters only" have mainly become un-asterisked crossings for all. But after just one month of operation, certain early morning and late evening journeys became "on request only".

Booking must be made no later that one hour before departure or the boat will not sail.
Note the significant gaps in the hourly schedule, the largest being one of 2½ hours between 1300 and 1530 (from Yarmouth). The terminal facilities are basic; correction, there aren't any. But a poster sandwich board indicates where to wait.
A notice on a gate confirms that you are in the right place within the confines of Yarmouth Harbour and next to the lifeboat.
Shelter, in the unlikely event of precipitation (?), is there none. So keep a brolly handy.
Of course, it never rains in Yarmouth IoW.

There are no on-shore booking or enquiry facilities, so prebooking on-line is strongly recommended for the 12 seats available. You can help yourself to a timetable card from a little box on the big board ...
... but both board and cards show the original timetable, not the modified one shown above.
fbb watched the 1625 arrival from Lymington (5 minutes late) ...
... with just six passengers.
... and six departures including three children. Likewise the 1725 arrival disgorged its half dozen ...
... including the man in the peaked hat (Richard, left) who used to work for fbb. Spooky! This trip returned Lymington-wards again with six, including two children. None of the passenegers looked like "commuters". Scoot have not said what sort of loads they expect, but, putting the timetable change together with the "peak" (?) loadings that fbb observed, it is hardly a roaring success.


But about a week ago, there came yet another announcement.

Arriving 5th November 2015!

Here at Scoot HQ we're thrilled to announce the upcoming launch of our new Cowes-Portsmouth service, which will connect Cowes and Portsmouth with just a 35-minute crossing time and an approx. 40 minute turnaround.

The new service will run from Trinity Landing in Cowes to Millennium Pontoon in Portsmouth, offering an (optional) FREE five minute shuttle bus service to and from Gunwharf Quays to help make your journey just that little bit easier. The new route will start early in the morning and finish late at night, seven days a week, 365 days a year, giving all our Scooters the chance to travel with even more convenience!
The new Cowes to Portsmouth route and the existing Yarmouth to Lymington service will operate their normal timetables on Christmas Eve, Boxing Day and New Year's Eve, whilst offering a reduced, book-only service on Christmas Day and New Year's Day.

We'll be opening up advance booking on the new route from Wednesday 21st October, but for the meantime be sure to check out our new timetable and take a sneak peek at the great new features of our new vessels, Scoot 2 & 3!
Scoot 2 and Scoot 3 are variously paraded as offering 33 or 40 seats.

One or two points of note. For the Portsmouth run, Scoot have abandoned the Yarmouth to Lymington idea of a seven-day-a-week fixed timetable. One might also question running every 45 minutes; hard to remember. Some would suggest more passengers would be carried if boats ran at an easily remember "every hour". Maybe it doesn't matter if the majority of tickets are booked on-line? You can pay the on-board conductor but the fare is higher.

This is not the first time a Cowes to Portsmouth service has been proposed and even started (even in fbb's memory) and every time it has failed.

Can Scoot make it work?

Frankly, fbb doubts it. But a hearty three cheers for having a go. Let's hope their backers have deep pockets.

The vessels are produced by an Island Boatbuilder ...
South Boats IOW has an extensive portfolio of crew transfer vessels for the offshore wind farm and oil and gas sectors. With a range from 13m to 28m, there is a vessel to suit the meteorological conditions of every project, be it a small inshore project in the UK, Round 3 offshore project in the UK, North Sea German Bight or the ice conditions on the German Baltic Sea. South Boasts IOW wind farm vessels are a proven, dependable, low risk option for all projects and clients.

No mention of Scoot?

 Next ferry blog : Tuesday 27th October 


  1. Sheffield update.

    Despite earlier promises, no printed timetables in Arundel Gate office today. Racks of maps are available on some buses. Kind weather has allowed the survival of the cardboard top notices at least in places. Buses carry stupifyingly vague posters saying 'Sheffield's buses are changing on 1 November' with no detail whatsoever.For the biggest set of changes in the history of buses in the city, this is pathetic.

  2. Another boat operator at Lymington is Puffin Cruises. They advertise a ferry to Lymington. The website indicates that this is once daily between June and September but increases to three journeys in July and August. When I visited a couple of years ago the service was supposed to be more frequent!

    I think one or two of the various smaller operators put on 'ferry services' around Cowes week.

    Previously you mentioned Hamble. For those who don't know this has a ferry to Warsash. It operates hourly in the Summer - and I think the same to a reduced operating day in winter. It is pink and really stands out. They also used to operate a river taxi to ferry people to and from their boats but that's no longer mentioned on the website.