The government-directed ‘lockdown’ in response to the coronavirus health crisis led to a significant reduction in ferry passenger numbers resulting in the need for the service to be temporarily withdrawn. However, in line with the government’s announcement that shops and businesses can begin reopening from 15 June, passenger numbers are expected to increase to economically and environmentally viable levels as a result.
Managing director of the Sandbanks Ferry Company, Mike Kean, said, “We are very pleased to announce the scheduled return to service of the Sandbanks chain ferry. The decision to withdraw the service was not taken lightly, but we are glad to have used this time to carry out work which means the scheduled refit in November is no longer needed. We hope that this is welcome news for local commuters and businesses as they recover, as we do, from this nationwide lockdown.”
The Sandbanks chain ferry has also procured sufficient personal protective equipment (PPE) for all staff members to use once the ferry returns. All staff have been trained on how to effectively use it and maintain social distancing whilst working.
Upon return to service, the ferry will only be accepting motorised vehicles until further notice. All drivers and passengers will be asked to remain inside their vehicles and motorcyclists on their bikes. Initially, to support social distancing while queuing for the ferry, foot passengers and cyclists will not be carried. Further information about when foot passengers and cyclists will be able to use the ferry, and the guidelines that will be in place to enable this, will be announced in due course.
“While I know this service suspension has been difficult for many, our priorities now are to reassure passengers that they can use the ferry again safely and protect our staff whilst doing their jobs,” added Mike Kean. “I would also like to pay tribute to the entire team who have continued to work tirelessly over recent weeks to get the ferry ready to return to service in a safe way, and to carry out this years’ refit works ahead of schedule.”
In addition, the company is also able to confirm that all refit and maintenance works previously scheduled for November 2020 are being carried out during this outage in full compliance with health and safety regulations. This means that the scheduled refit for November 2020 will now not be required.
Details of the ferry timetable can be found at: http://www.sandbanksferry.co.uk/timetable.php.
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