FRIST Compare Scilly’s Transport Issues To Sussex Village

The Scillonian III

The Scillonian III

The Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport campaign group has issued their first annual newsletter.

They continue to push for their goal of year-round reliable transport and want a government route subsidy. The support offered to Scottish islanders was first outlined in the ‘Scottish Report’, a Council report comparing Scilly with Islay, but FRIST has now chosen the Sussex village of Ringmer, in Transport Minister Norman Baker’s constituency, for their own comparison.

They’ve highlighted how Scilly’s access and transport issues would be unacceptable if experienced by a mainland community with a similar size of population.

Over the last year, FRIST has lost a number of members following disagreements over the direction of the group. Some have objected to the group’s criticism of the Council and the Steamship Company.

FRIST now say they want to cement working relationships with the Town Hall and transport providers to ensure that government hears a strong and unified voice

They recognise the work done by the Council in trying to progress improvements to Penzance and St Mary’s quays but have called for an analysis of transport and freight costs charged to families, businesses and all public bodies serving Scilly. They also want the Council to analyse state aid options.

FRIST have commended the Steamship Company for their improved customer facilities, investments at Land’s End Airport and on the boat. And they approve of the deployment of company staff to Newquay Airport, which they say has improved the customer experience.

They applaud the company’s cheaper £10.50 singe boat fare for locals but FRIST is determined to push for a subsidised winter boat trial next year.

They say they are concerned that the Council is claiming that winter sailings would reduce demand for flights, which would affect the viability of St Mary’s airport. FRIST say that the wellbeing of the islands should come before airport finances.

They’ve also asked for the Steamship Company to reveal the costs of a winter trial to help FRIST campaigning with the government.

But yesterday, Steamship Company Chief Executive Jeff Marston told Radio Scilly that the company can’t do that. If a subsidy were offered, it would have to go out to tender and if the company revealed their price for providing a winter service now, they would be barred from the process, he said.

Some prospective councillors in the forthcoming election have expressed their concern that FRIST’s Marian Bennett has e-mailed them asking them to state whether they support FRIST’s principles.

The email states that replies will be shared with FRIST members and Marian has claimed a membership of over 2,000.

But yesterday Marian rejected claims that this is political pressure. She says she’s interested to hear whether candidates support FRIST’s goal of affordable year-round transport and she’s not concerned whether would-be councillors support the group itself.



One Response to FRIST Compare Scilly’s Transport Issues To Sussex Village

  1. Jeff May 3, 2013 at 4:02 pm

    So pleased to see islanders are rallying to do something about travel issues. I’ve been coming to Scilly for over 30 years and my last visit was the most difficult trip I’ve had due to delays & the additional costs due to delays (through no fault of anybody’s). Can visitors sign up to be members? I’m sure many would like to including myself!