Hayling Ferry bus link dropped after four months

A new bus link on Hayling Island (Buses November) has failed four months into a six-month use-it-or-lose-it trial, putting at risk the future of the corresponding link on the Portsmouth side.

Portsmouth City Coaches’ half-hourly weekday peak route 149, aimed at car commuters to relieve pressure on the island’s only bridge to the mainland at Havant, was axed on 26 January. The £20,000 trial, funded through Havant Borough Council’s community infrastructure levy, began on 24 September but ferry operator Baker Trayte Marine says it generated no new passengers. Half of the ferry’s passengers use bicycles.

The ferry company says it unsuccessfully requested councillors to authorise a more passenger friendly daytime timetable, but says: ‘The difference that may have made to retaining the 149 remains unknown.’

On the Portsmouth side, First Hampshire & Dorset extended its hourly commercial route 15 to serve the Eastney ferry terminal on weekdays, but its future is in doubt with an average of only eight passengers per week.

The city council has urged First to continue it over Easter to see if patronage improves. First says it is working with the authority but suspects that buses on both sides of the ferry are vital for it to succeed.

The two services avoided 12mile circuitous road journeys, but no through ticketing was offered and, although longer, other indirect public transport routes via Havant were considerably cheaper and often quicker.

Stagecoach South declined to extend its regular daily service 30/31 (Hayling Island- Havant) via Hayling ferry terminal, as it would have required an extra bus and driver costing £100,000.