Monday 14 December 2015

Will Scoot get the Boot? [part two]

The fig tree teaches you a lesson.
When its branches become green and tender
and it starts putting out leaves,
you know that summer is near.
In the same way, when you see all these things,
you will know that the time is near,
ready to begin (or even end!).

fbb does tend to be in a bit of a Biblical mood at this time of year - with a very busy churchy season and a particular celebration in the offing in a few days. The above quote is from a difficult passage in Matthew's Gospel where Jesus is warning his disciples of the coming "Day of Judgement".

Is the Day of Judgement looming for Scoot Ferries?

 Sign 1 

fbb has already alluded to the halving of the service from Cowes to Portsmouth and the apparent non-return of Scoot 3 from "essential repairs", leaving one boat to maintain a seven day a week service. Risky?

Well now; on Friday last (11th December) this notice appeared on the Scoot Twit site.
The sorry saga continues ...
... and concludes with ...
... with the surprise return of Scoot 3.

 Sign 2 

A new "fares initiative" ...
... which is not quite as big a bargain as it seems. We read on:-

What is the ScootClub? ScootClub is an annual membership option which allows our ScootClub card holders to buy fixed price travel across ANY route, ANY sailing, ANY day - ALL year!

How much does it cost? We offer 4 levels of membership - pay your annual membership fee and then pay as you scoot:

SeniorScootClub: £25 (£35 for couples) = £6 per person crossing
If you're at least 60 years young this is the ticket for you - be prepared to flash your bus pass if you look particularly sprightly ;-)

SuperScootClub: £100 = £5 per crossing
If you're an every day Scooter this is the ticket for you!

AnyTimeScootClub: £50 = £6.50 per crossing
Not sure how often you'll scoot but think you'll scoot more than 5 times a year? This is the perfect option for you!

Please note, these memberships are non-transferable - if your fellow Scooter wants to travel for the same price they'll need to join the ScootClub!

FamilyScootClub: £100 = £16 per crossing
(max 4 Scooters per ticket - at least one Scooter must be an adult and at least one must be a MiniScooter and under 15 years of age. You must all travel together! BabyScooters under 12 months travel free and don't count as a group member)

SuperScooter Season Ticket with £100 annual ScootClub membership: £200 per month (20 return crossings, valid for 30 days - valid on ALL Scoot routes!)

These are all new offers; and ferry attractive they are too. (Scootspeak is catching!). But are they commercially suicidal? Obviously the club membership fees of between £25 and £100 will help with the cash-flow, always a critical problem for a new business.

But ... you do wonder.

 Sign 3 

Island ferry watchers have been intrigued to know where the company's start-up funding has come from. One source for the future might be ....
... the Scoot passengers (Scooters!) and other profit hungry investors.

So here's a FERRY good plan for 2016...

In the New Year we'll be launching a crowd funding campaign to give you all the chance to buy ownership in Scoot and help us continue to grow...

Right from day one we set out to create a brand new ferry company for the Isle of Wight - and the best way to ensure that our focus remains on providing you all with the best possible service is for you all to become not just passengers but shareholders in your own right!

Crowd funding is a way of helping us raise money by asking lots and lots of you to invest small amounts of money in return for equity (shares) in Scoot. If we do well, so do you...

this isn't about returning value to anonymous shareholders...

 If you're new to the idea of crowd funding you can see how it works by clicking the links...

We'll be providing lots more information over the coming weeks but in the meantime, if you'd like to register your interest you can email us now.

There is nothing about the crowd funding on the company web site so this is, currently, a social media thing.

 Sign 4 

Last Friday's Scoot blog post produced one comment ...
... whilst oir Isle of Wight correspondent headed  his most recent emails "End Game?". How does this sound?

 Sign 5 

The Scooter park at Portsmouth is less than convenient with a long walk round to get to anywhere. 
In its initial blurb Scoot promised a bus connection to town and Stations.

It's a tidy stroll between Millennium Quay (by East Street, bottom left) to the Harbour Interchange (upper left) or the ton centre (upper right). But this note appears on the Scoot web site:-

The Scoot Shuttle bus has been
SUSPENDED until further notice.
If you need a taxi,
please call AquaCars on 02392 654321

fbb would LOVE to see the company succeed; but the signs are not good. Scoot wears its business heart on its sleeve but you do have to wonder whether the money is about to run out.

For years people have said "What the Island needs is more competition to bring ferry prices down; to challenge the evil monopolistic Wightstink and Red Flannel." "I would travel more often if the fares  were cheaper." "What we need is a consortium of Island businesses to take over the ferries and run them for Islanders."

Sadly, folks, it ain't hat easy.

fbb will not be investing in Scoot's crowd funding project. In fact there is a tough question to be asked of the company's only registered director, the lovely Ms Zoe Ombler.

There never was a year 0. In theory 1BC finished on December 31st and 1AD started immediately afterwards on January 1st. But that is a nonsense. To add to the complications, some nations had a lunar calendar of 13 months and others a solar calendar of 12 months and the two systems simply don't match. [The word "month" actually means "moon-th", a contraction of "a moon's worth of days."] All very confusing.

Finally who cared? Whilst Emmanuel (God with Us) was a mega event for people who later became known as Christians, the ruling powers (Romans) were completely uninterested in some religious nutter who was mailed to a cross as a result of a dodgy trial. Pilate washed his hands of the whole thing.
The Jewish authorities, after all, were the ones who engineered the death penalty, so they had no reason to record times and dates accurately.

Even ex-Pope Benedict ...
... explains how the early Christian calendar contained mistakes.

Pope Benedict XVI has revealed in the third installment of his trilogy, dedicated to the life of Christ, that Jesus was been born earlier that our calendar suggests. The calendar we use today, which commences with the birth of Christ and was created by a Dionysius Exiguus, a 6th century monk, may be mistaken. The Pope explains in his book that Exiguus, who is considered the inventor of the Christian calendar, “made a mistake in his calculations by several years. The actual date of Jesus’ birth was several years before (0 BC).

Does it matter. It matters just as much as the birth date of Shakespeare. That is uncertain; but we don't reject his literary genius because we haven't got his birth certificate. We don't even have any examples of Shakespeare's written work, only copies made later by others. But we still enjoy his plays - well some of us do! All we have of  bill the Bard's handwriting is some of his signatures on documents.

And they are all spelt differently. 

There is no good reason to doubt Emmanuel, even if we cannot get the date exactly right. 

But we really must take a look at the crowd of scruffy reprobates who were the first to visit the child.

       Next train blog : Tuesday 15th December   

1 comment:

  1. Crowd Funding is not for investors seeking a return. You should treat an "investment" as a donation. The anarchist in me does make small investments in such projects - merely to show the big boys that people power could make a difference. I will probably bung in a couple of quid - or what ever it is to get two free trips. If I end up riding on the thing all well and good. Having been strangled by the existing operators last year we are not taking a vehicle to the Island again and having just bought a new motor caravan you can follow the conclusion. We needed to get off the island at short notice to get a part for our then defunct van- the walk on fare for foot passenger was horrendous.