Off-Island Boat Operator Increases 2014 Fares As Passenger Numbers Fall

st martins hotel quayOff island boat passengers will face increased fares this season.

St Martin’s Boatman Terry Perkins has written to residents to explain that the closure of the Island Hotel has meant fewer passengers, while his fuel and maintenance costs have increased.

Terry told Radio Scilly that the last six years have been the most difficult in his 42 years on the water.

Terry says he understands that a £41 special boat can appear costly, but it costs around £20 to operate to and from another island before accounting for wear and tear and repairs.

Users sometimes want to take a return leg of someone else’s special for the normal ticket price, but Terry says they should think of a special as a taxi and not a bus service.

He’ll continue to operate the service but is looking at ways to increase efficiency.

Terry has written to islanders to advise that he’s talking with Bryher Boats about setting the level for 2014 fares.

4 Responses to Off-Island Boat Operator Increases 2014 Fares As Passenger Numbers Fall

  1. Peter M January 15, 2014 at 9:17 am

    My wife and I have spent 3 weeks on Bryher at the end of June for the past 12 years. We have always accepted that it is expensive to travel to the Scillies. The outward and return journey to Bryher costs a total of £464. We travel by boat which costs £158, spent £130 on petrol and £126 on car parking.
    Once on Bryher the holiday is no more expensive than staying in say the Cotswolds. That is if you never leave the island by boat. Last year we spent well over £150 on boat fares. This did not include special trips i.e. to see the seals, Bishop Rock and to follow the gig race as we had done those in the past. It included 3 evening trips toTresco and 1to St Agnes. The St Agnes trip cost £24 for two which was on top of the meal at the High Tide. The total cost of the evening was £126.
    I am therefore worried that the St Martin’s boatman is talking to Bryher boats with a view to increase fares this year. He blames the closure of the hotel and I assume the pub for a lack of passengers. However if the hotel and pub are back to normal this year it has just been a blip. He should leave any review of fares until the end of the season. Bryher has a hotel and pub so why should they put up their fares just because St Martin’s has had a bad season.
    Perhaps a reduction in some of the fares might increase inter island travel. The cost of the evening trips I believe is too expensive; you might as well stay on Bryher. There are four excellent places to eat, a well stocked shop, fresh vegetables and a local fisherman. Going direct to Tresco costs five times as much as travelling a similar distance by bus on the mainland. If the boat is going to St Marys during the day it also takes people to Tresco and via versa en route. Either these short distance travellers could be free or at least reduce the fares. Of course via Old Grimsby is a different matter. They could also sell a day and night rover ticket at a discount price on a weekly basis. They should be taking action to attract passengers and not just put up prices because of low numbers.
    Perhaps Lord Berkeley could lobby the government to allow people to use their bus passes on island boats as they are really only a water bus. If the five islands were villages on the mainland the same distance apart, people like us would save over £150 in three weeks.
    Notwithstanding the above visitors do have sympathy with island businesses as they are seasonal and have to make their money over the holiday period. However there should be a balance when setting fare levels in order not to turn away those who provide their livelihood.

  2. Jann January 13, 2014 at 10:23 am

    Fuel prices have gone up and down in the last 12months,and surely if your not running you are not burning fuel or having wear and tear?
    It was the choice to have such fuel inefficient RiB’s, emission, noise polluting, anti-social boats. Why do we the captive residents have to pay for that mistake.
    If your looking for efficiency then sharing a trip is….is it not? It is a boat service not a bus or taxi service. (Like the efficient St Agnes community boat service).
    Three round trips in the RiB or one trip in a larger more fuel efficient boat on a shopping day? emm…

  3. Neil January 9, 2014 at 7:40 pm

    Has to happen. Simple economics. I have seen this exact same things on islands around the world. It’s a painful reminder that tourism is your lifeblood and you need to work on it continuously.

  4. Jeff January 9, 2014 at 4:40 pm

    I don’t like the way things are going, I consider it to be a boat service, the only one,I remember signing a petition to help the boat service to secure a grant for the boat service to build a new boat for us all, we all support the boat service with our holiday letting guests, we all help each other…..remember?