Scott dismisses objections to ferry service cuts
Angry complaints by users of the Pink Route ferry service that cuts have left them feeling abandoned and stranded have been dismissed by the Transport Minister.
Lawrence Scott said he did not accept the views of a petition signed by more than 800 people expressing concern about the situation, as warnings grew that the downgrading would force more cars onto the roads, and leave other people with no transport options.
The Minister told The Royal Gazette: “I disagree with that outlook.
“I don’t believe that they would actually be forced to use cars.
“The ferry is only one of many options to get where we need to go around the island.
“We are perfectly adequate... regarding the services we have allocated.”
Mr Scott said the Pink Route had a low volume of use.
He said: “The Orange Route which focuses on connecting Dockyard with the St George’s community will transport 75,000 people in seven months.
“Which is roughly 350 people a day - versus the Pink Route which will only transport just over 100 a day for the whole year.”
The Minister claimed that cuts to the Pink ferry would benefit people who needed medical treatment in Boston.
He said: “I think that we have to look at it holistically.
“Because the operational and financial savings that are achieved will then be reallocated to air service development which will then ensure that we have a constant and reliable service to Boston for those persons that need overseas medical service or care between November and March.”
Asked if the Government would rethink the cuts in light of the protests, Mr Scott insisted the Government had already moved on the issue.
He said: “We have already revisited the policy. The original policy was to suspend the service altogether.
“After a directive from the Cabinet Office to revisit the policy we then came up with the solution that we have now, which is to reduce the frequency and focus on the core demographic in that area which is getting to and from school, and persons to get to and from work.
“And that’s why we reduced it from seven days a week to five days a week from Monday to Friday.
“And the core of the operation is built around the rush hour schedule.”
A statement by organisers of a petition that has attracted more than 800 signatures insisted that the latest cuts were part of a long term reduction of the service.
It said: “The Paget/Warwick ‘Pink’ ferry service has been reduced dramatically over the last ten years.
“There are, and have always been, many ferry users who are unable to operate their own transport due to age, physical ability or financial resources.
“Additionally, many workers in Hamilton rely on the ferry service outside of commuter hours.
“It is anticipated that the weekend service will be removed entirely and the weekday service reduced to commuter runs without any service in the middle of the day or into the evening.
“The anticipated further reductions to the Paget/Warwick ‘Pink’ ferry service to be announced by the Minister of Transport will make the ‘public’ ferry service untenable for many Bermuda residents.”