Sailbus will run at £1 a journey

By Martin Neville

Friday, June 12, 2009

 

A £1-per-journey fare will be introduced on the Cowes Week Sailbus, a previously free courtesy service run by the Isle of Wight Council.

Southern Vectis has stepped in to run the popular service after the council withdrew funding, blaming the current economic conditions.

Rod Ainge, chairman of Cowes Business Association, said a £1 service was better than no service at all.

John Metcalfe, the council’s assistant director of economic development, tourism and partnerships, said the council continued to invest in supporting Cowes Week, funding areas including the Parade Village, street and bandstand entertainment, street cleaning, rubbish collection and marshalling during fireworks night.

But in the current economic climate, he said the authority had to prioritise its funding to statutory services such as education and social care.

"Furthermore, it has previously been able to use income from the car park at Northwood House to support regatta facilities. Because this car park is no longer operated by the council and, due to the wider budgetary position, the council has decided to withdraw funding for the Sailbus.

"For these reasons, the council has carried out a review of the Sailbus service and, although it cannot fund it directly, has been in discussions with Southern Vectis, which will maintain the service throughout the week."

He added the council was providing disabled parking spaces on Cowes Parade during the regatta, as well as a designated drop-off point for people with mobility difficulties.

The park-and-ride service into Cowes from Somerton will operate as usual.

Hail and ride route

THE Sailbus service will operate the same route as previous years, between 9.30am and 6pm — Crossfield Avenue, Ward Avenue, Baring Road, Castle Hill, Queens Road, Egypt Esplanade, Princes Esplanade, Woodvale Road, Baring Road and back to Crossfield Avenue.

The service will be a "hail and ride", with people being able to get on and off.

In addition, Sailbus stops will be located in Crossfield Avenue (outside Cowes High School), at the junction of Ward Avenue and Crossfield Avenue, in Queens Road, near to the junction with Castle Hill (for access to and from The Parade), at Queens Road (near the junction with Mornington Road) and at Princes Esplanade (near the junction with Woodvale Road).

Reporter: martinn@iwcpmail.co.uk

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