Sandbanks Ferry to stop operating until further notice

The Sandbanks Ferry Company, which runs the chain ferry service between Studland and Poole, has just announced that it’s to withdraw the service because it is no longer economically or environmentally viable to continue under the current coronavirus lock down travel restrictions.

The service will be withdrawn from Tuesday 21st April 2020 until further notice. This means that the final crossing will be the 7.10 pm from Studland on Monday 20th April 2020.

Will affect some key workers

While this news will not affect the majority of local residents who are unable to travel due to the restrictions, it will affect some key workers living in Swanage and working in schools and hospitals in Poole, who will now have to drive round via Wareham, adding time to their journey.

The company says that the coronavirus crisis has led to a significant reduction in ferry passenger numbers and the government’s announcement that the lock down will continue for at least another three further weeks has forced it to make this difficult decision.

Mike Kean, Managing Director of the Sandbanks Ferry Company, said:

“It is with great sadness that we have had to make the decision to withdraw the ferry service. We have been tirelessly exploring all avenues over recent weeks to try to secure financial support from central government through this unprecedented time, but this has not been forthcoming, and we have had to make the very difficult decision today to withdraw the service. We were prepared to continue to operate at a financial loss to support key workers, but without greater support, this is no longer possible.

“While I know this will be difficult for the small number of key workers that are still using the service to get to work, I hope they will understand why this decision has been taken. We would like to thank them, and Dorset Council, for their support and understanding through this difficult time.

“I would also like to take this opportunity to pay tribute to our staff who have worked fearlessly over the last month in jobs that by their nature involve close contact with colleagues and customers alike.”

Ferry refit in November 2020

The company says that while the ferry is out of service, maintenance work will be carried out where possible, with the intention that this should reduce the amount of time needed for the ferry refit later this year in November 2020.

Mike Kean added:

“We will continue to closely monitor the current situation and look at ways to return the ferry to service as soon as possible, when we look forward to welcoming our passengers back once it is safe for them and our staff to do so.”

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