Barring any last minute hitches, the Sandbanks Ferry is ready to start operating from tomorrow, Wednesday 17th June 2020 but there are new rules in place.
Despite previously planning not to carry foot passengers and bikes due to social distancing restrictions, the company has now announced that new measures are now in place to accommodate them alongside vehicles and motorcycles.
The ferry service is planned to start at 7 am from Sandbanks, with three crossings per hour in each direction as usual until 11.10 pm from Studland.
Sandbanks Ferry toll charges
New rules to allow it to operate safely
While the ferry plans to operate a full service in anticipation of an increase in passenger demand due to the easing of lockdown restrictions, there will be some new rules for it to be allowed to operate safely.
Following the government’s announcement that face coverings must be worn on public transport in England, it will be mandatory for foot passengers and cyclists to wear face coverings while on board the ferry. These passengers will need to supply their own face covering and anyone not wearing a proper one will not be able to travel.
Motorcyclists will be required to keep their helmet on while on board and vehicle passengers will not be allowed to leave their vehicles or open windows while on the ferry. In addition all convertible cars must travel with their roof up.
Sandbanks Ferry was towed back to Shell Bay last Thursday 11th June 2020 and is seen here being prepared for a return to service
A safe queuing system to support social distancing
A safe queuing system for foot passengers and cyclists to support social distancing on the Sandbanks side has been devised with the help of Bournemouth, Christchurch and Poole (BCP) Council. The queuing system will be in the North Haven Car Park funded by the Department for Transport via the BCP Council.
There will be a similar queuing system to support social distancing on the Studland side implemented by the ferry company. Extra ferry staff will also be on hand to marshal the queues.
Mike Kean, Managing Director of the Sandbanks Ferry Company, said:
“We would like to thank the BCP Council for their assistance in ensuring we can welcome back foot passengers and cyclists. While I know the service suspension has been difficult for many, we want to reassure passengers and our staff that they can again travel and work on the ferry safely.”
All staff will be issued with personal protective equipment (PPE) and have been trained on how to effectively use it and maintain social distancing while working. Mike Kean added:
“I would also like to pay tribute to the entire team who have worked extremely long hours over recent weeks to get the ferry ready to return in a safe way, and to carry out this year’s refit works ahead of schedule.”
Taken out of service in April 2020
The Sandbanks Ferry was taken out of service on Tuesday 21st April 2020 after the government’s coronavirus travel restrictions meant that passenger numbers declined and the ferry became no longer financially or environmentally viable.
In May 2020, while it was moored in Poole Harbour, the ferry company announced that “a large piece of concrete unexpectedly detached from the fixed jetty and fell into the ferry” causing a small but significant amount of damage.
This has now been repaired and the maintenance work planned for later this year has now been completed, so the ferry should remain in service now, coronavirus and weather permitting.
For more information
Details of the ferry timetable can be found on its website