At this week's Ferry Working Party Group residents were delighted to hear the news that Councillors on both sides of Langstone Harbour have finally agreed to put in place buses that will link with Hayling's Ferry. For residents and tourists alike it's really important to keep in mind that not only the Ferry but any bus transport must be self-financing. What does this mean for everyone? We must use all of these facilities!
The new operator, Mike Elgin, of Emsworth and District Buses, has agreed to a 28 seater bus, wheelchair friendly, short chassis and the route is under discussion but so far the preferred route covers: Ferry Road from the Ferryboat Inn, eastwards along Sea Front Road then north on Beach Road up to Manor Road roundabout, south on Church Road and east along Selsmore Road to Eastoke Corner and following this route in reverse back to the Ferryboat Inn. The route will not cover Stagecoach's Eastoke Corner to Beachlands which is also the railway's route.
Readers may recall that the Draft 2036 Local Plan includes a reorganization of Eastoke Corner so it is hoped that this will further facilitate this bus service. On the Portsmouth side, Cllr. Winnington has successfully gained agreement to the Bus Service 15/16 linking at that side's RNLI with the Hayling Ferry. The Portsmouth bus will go through to Commercial Road.
It is hoped that there will be a comprehensive charge to include both buses and the Ferry, possibly even the Hayling Railway, so as to encourage as widespread a use as possible. The Group is urging all speed in processing the necessary Licenses so it is hoped that the Bus service will be in place for September 1st for the minimum 6 months' trial period. The holiday season provides good revenue but, because the contract with the Harbour Master is payment per passenger, Autumn, Winter and Spring over the past year have apparently failed to provide the Ferry with the essential funds required for maintenance. Unfortunately payment per passenger also means that infants must also be charged which seems counter-productive. Surely Langstone Harbour Board want and need the Ferry to be self-sustaining, so providing the Board with a steady funding stream?
On a constructive note, HIRA Member Richard Coates plans to put in a CIL Bid for a pedestrian pathway along the southern stretch of the Ferry Road. The current road verges are unsafe for any pedestrians yet anyone needing to walk to or from the Ferryboat Inn or indeed having negotiated the beach walk, must use them. It really is time these verges were brought into the 21st Century and pedestrians provided with safe passage.