Ferry forced to axe free travel deal
A FOOT ferry between Essex and Suffolk which offered free travel to over-60s has been force to temporarily scrap the deal after it became too popular. Alan Sage, owner of the Harwich Harbour Foot and Cycle Ferry, decided to offer holders of the Suffolk Saver and Essex Travel pass concessionary crossings of the Stour estuary on his vessel.
A FOOT ferry between Essex and Suffolk which offered free travel to over-60s has been force to temporarily scrap the deal after it became too popular.
Alan Sage, owner of the Harwich Harbour Foot and Cycle Ferry, decided to offer holders of the Suffolk Saver and Essex Travel pass concessionary crossings of the Stour estuary on his vessel.
The passes allow people free travel on buses but Mr Sage decided to extend the offer to his ferry, which has a license to carry just 12 passengers.
But he did not anticipate the popularity of the deal and was inundated with over-60s cashing in on the travel between Harwich, Shotley and Felixstowe.
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As a result the Harwich seaman decided to suspend the free travel this month because the service was no longer generating enough revenue to keep the business afloat.
Mr Sage said he put the popularity down to the warm weather, but said he would be accepting concessions again from the beginning of September through to September 11.
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And from that date onwards the ferry will operate on weekdays only until October 1.
He said: “While we expected some increase in passengers with the over-60s now travelling free, we did not anticipate the large numbers we have experienced due to the wonderful summer weather.
“This has caused problems for the service as the ferry has a license to carry only 12 passengers and we are experiencing a large increase in demand.
“While we are pleased to see more people coming down to Shotley, Felixstowe and the Harwich areas, the service does need to generate enough revenue from fare-paying passengers to stay in service.”
He said he hoped the decision would enable more families and people on their school holidays to enjoy the crossings.
The ferry service runs in the summer months and is very popular with tourists, business people and local residents.
Services are frequent and journey times between Harwich and Felixstowe are just 15 minutes - significantly less time than the same journey by road.
n For more details and fares go to www.harwichharbourferry.com.