Plan To Charge Stranded Passengers For Laundry Rejected

Councillors have rejected plans to charge stranded passengers for laundry.

The Council’s Corporate Governance and Resilience Lead, Rhona Holland, said that they had purchased several duvet sets and sleeping bags to be better prepared, following two occasions this year when passengers had been stranded.

However the cost of laundering those items had to be met by the Authority.

Stranded passengers were accommodated in Council-owned accommodation, such as on the floor of the school sports hall or Mundesley House and Rhona’s report suggested charging passengers from £8 for a single sleeping bag to £13 for a king-size duvet set.

However, Councillor Richard McCarthy said the scheme was “like something Michael O’Leary would dream up for Ryan Air.”

Councillor Marian Bennett said that if passengers’ last experience of Scilly was “like being in a wartime underground shelter” then they shouldn’t be presented with a bill at the end.

She said visitors’ lasting impression of Scilly should be that we are welcoming and helpful.

Euan Rodger, Vice Chair of Islands Tourism, pointed the finger at accommodation providers, saying they were reluctant to come forward with “true availability” and he was sure bed space was available when passengers were stranded. He felt they should be “named and shamed.”

Stranded passengers are accommodated in Mundesley House

However, Committee Chair, Chris Savill said accommodation providers told her after the last occasion that they hadn’t been approached by the TIC for bed spaces.

Tourism Lead, Julian Pearce said the local authority had no statutory duty to help stranded passengers and it should be the responsibility of all agencies and businesses to work together to maintain the reputation of the islands.

When questioned, Rhona said the transport providers had not been approached to help with costs because of EU regulations around offering incentives to accommodation providers.

Euan suggested the minimal cost for what was a very rare event should be absorbed by the Council and passengers should be the last ones to foot the bill.

 

Marian agreed, saying that “other ways need to be explored” to meet the costs.

Passengers were stranded due to bad weather on two occasions this year.

On 5th August, 42 passengers needed accommodation and, while 30 were found beds for the night, the remaining 12 had to be accommodated in Mundesley.

The following week, 65 passengers were again stranded, although all were found regular accommodation.