Complaint Over Lack Of Penzance Quay Waiting Facilities

Penzance Quay

Penzance Quay

A St Mary’s guesthouse owner says he’s disgusted that elderly people and children had to wait for over one hour in driving rain on Penzance Quay to board the Scillonian III.

Santa Maria owner Andy Chesterman has complained to the Steamship Company and the Islands’ Partnership after his experience on the afternoon of Friday 21st August. That’s the day when flights were grounded by fog and a double boat sailing was arranged.

But the Steamship Company say they are not in charge of quay infrastructure and all they can do is push for future upgrades.

Andy was stuck at Newquay Airport when he was transferred by the company to Penzance to catch the second boat sailing, along with air passengers from Exeter and Land’s End.

Andy says people were checked through to the end of the quay, but had to wait an hour in the pouring rain for the boat to berth and the arriving passengers to disembark.

He says they were soaked to the skin and should not have been left on the dockside without shelter.

Andy felt that the air passengers at least could have been transferred an hour later to avoid the problems and he’s concerned that this experience might dissuade people from returning to the islands.

In a statement to Radio Scilly, the Steamship Company say that they do take complaints very seriously and will take on-board “any relevant learning points” for future operations.

But they point out that they also received compliments about how the double sailing was handled. And they say they went to great lengths to accommodate passengers who were unable to fly because of the weather.

Arranging a double sailing was part of dealing with that problem.

Steamship Company staff worked until midnight repatriating 377 passengers travelling on the second sailing from St Mary’s to Penzance.

A modern quayside waiting area was proposed as part of the failed Route Partnership scheme. That £64m project, which would have also funded a bespoke boat, was rejected following squabbling within the community in Penzance.

The company say they will continue to press the case for suitable improvements and hope that this may be addressed by any future regeneration scheme for the harbour area.



9 Responses to Complaint Over Lack Of Penzance Quay Waiting Facilities

  1. terry September 5, 2015 at 9:51 am

    Its not only the people who get wet its the luggage when it is unloaded at Penzance . Surely it is not beyond the ISSCo to ereect some form of protection where the luggage is unloaded which would also protect thiose waiting

  2. Adam Morton, St.Martins September 5, 2015 at 9:48 am

    Re passenger shelter and freight storage, “The company say they will continue to press the case for suitable improvements”, When and what form did this “pressing take? Perhaps a director could comment? I am struggling to find evidence of any pressure on CCC or the government or even any local transport forums! It is a shame that local businesses feel there is no option but to take this public as its negative publicity but given there has been no indication that any of this is being taken seriously in the past five years ,what other option is there?We recently had an IP transport consultation but no doubt that too will disappear into the ether!

  3. Sam L September 4, 2015 at 8:42 pm

    The problem is re the Scilly end of the crossing, the ISSCO and the duchy are forever passing the buck onto each other over who does what with regards to they quay facilities or lack of should I say. For instance, the tarpaulin cover idea is great, but the ISSCO will say , ‘Oh well, that’s the Duchy’s problem for not providing cover on land that we rent.’ And the Duchy will say, ‘They are not our passengers to worry about, we have dry facilities available, if the Steamship cannot be bothered to do their bit that’s their problem.’

    And around and around me go, WEEEEEEEEEE!

    • Mark Prebble September 5, 2015 at 10:46 am

      A bit of patience and that’ll all be sorted out when the Duchy pass over management of the harbour to the new port trust. Just have to sort out PZ then.

  4. Chris & June Jones Bell Rock Hotel September 4, 2015 at 6:44 pm

    Our son and his wife with a 1 year old and a 3 year old also waited in the pouring rain on the Quay on Scilly from 11-30,when they were told Check-in commenced,until 1pm when they boarded the ship. The quay waiting room is too small for a full ship,and he said you lose your place in the Queue if you use it .He was anxious to get on the ship, as travelling with a baby and toddler is stressfull at the best of times,and they were all wet and uncomfortable,despite wet weather clothes. Surely in well forecast severe weather conditions a temporary tarpaulin cover could be put in position in half an hour to protect most of the waiting passengers? A blue woven polythene tarpaulin 12 metres by 20 metres only costs £130. That is 39feet by 65feet in old money — 2 or 3 of those would stop waiting customers getting soaked at both Scilly and Penzance . For Penzance to have the same under cover waiting area on the quay as 100 years ago–none–is a disgrace in 2015,and shows how much they value tourists.It is positively 3rd world by comparison to Portsmouth or Plymouth ferry terminals .

  5. kay banfield September 4, 2015 at 4:42 pm

    Come on management. It now takes ages to check through before boarding, if it’s raining or blowing a gale it can be miserable, nobody enjoys a 2-3 hour trip in soaking wet clothes, the least you can do is make the wait for passengers more comfortable. I understand the problem had occurred since registration became law but it’s time to find a solution.

  6. Athalie Haylor September 4, 2015 at 1:12 pm

    Whilst I much appreciated the 2nd sailing on the 21st being put on, our kind coach driver from Lands End airport actually went to ask on our arrival in Penzance if we should stay on the coach as he said ‘there was no point in standing on the dock in the pouring rain unnecessarily’. The steamship company told him ‘no’ that we must check our bags in….there followed the one hour plus wait on the dock you describe. The Scillonian was still miles away from docking! And in answer to the thought that it will put people off travelling to Scilly, from the many comments I heard over the day’s wait including ” Never again”, the answer is definitely YES !

  7. Alex September 4, 2015 at 11:01 am

    Would also be nice to end the scrummage for luggage and general chaos when arriving back in Penzance!

    • Ian T. September 5, 2015 at 10:16 am

      Hear! Hear!
      The scrummage in darkness meant us missing the last train beyond Plymouth on a Saturday night. Fortunately (?), it wasn’t raining and we were only travelling to Totnes so it was just (?) a £40 taxi fare for the journey beyond Plymouth.