11th April 2012
WEST DORSET: Water taxi plan for the Jurassic coast
PLANS for a pilot water taxi along the Jurassic Coast will be aired at a meeting of town council officials from across East Devon.
The meeting is being held to discuss proposals for a water taxi linking Seaton and Sidmouth with other towns along the coast.
Proposals will be discussed at the meeting of the East Devon and West Dorset Waterborne Transport Working Group scheduled for April 19th.
The vessel initially earmarked for this service in a Jurassic Coast Partnership (JCP) report would be able to carry up to 70 passengers.
It also highlighted a catamaran design, which was significantly cheaper and with capacity of 90 passengers.
The scheme has the potential to cater for up to 75,000 passengers making 122,000 trips, including commuters between the towns, according to the JCP report.
Fares could be £6.90 return, and £4.50 single for Sidmouth to Seaton, the report stated.
Dorset County Council is leading a bid from the Coastal Community Fund for cash to move the plans forward. The report by the Jurassic Coast Partnership stated that boats or sea-borne transport should be considered separately from public transport.
It said: “When considering some of the holiday parks along the coastline, not necessarily served by public transport or cycle/bridleway facilities, all would be within reasonable distance of the sea and potential landing areas.
Additionally, the best way of seeing the Site is from the sea.
“There is an overall benefit to visitors and the Jurassic Coast if the form of transport that can be provided is sustainable and is an attraction in its own right. Sea borne transport for most would fall into this category.
“As far as the Jurassic Coast is concerned, we conclude that depending on the actual stretch of coast, water based services timed for commuters would have a potential market on the scale of hundreds of passengers per day.”
The meeting in Seaton on April 19th will involve representatives from the coastal communities along the Jurassic coast and water and land based transport companies.
The initial pilot scheme will run from Exmouth to West Bay and stop at designated resorts along the coast including Lyme Regis.
Sally King, Jurassic visitor manager, said they were positive and hopeful of moving the scheme forward.
She said: “A one-off pilot project is being proposed for East Devon and West Dorset so this meeting is to get the relevant people together to see if we can progress that and move it forward. It’s early stages so this is the initial meeting to try and progress the plans.
“Really if it’s going to take off an awful lot of people need to work together all along the coastline including existing boat operators and bus operators because we are looking to link it in with that.”
She added: “We are hoping to apply for Coastal Community Funding by the end of April although we are not sure how much yet, that is still to be looked into.
“Obviously it will depend on what kind of vessel we will use so a taxi will give the impression of a smaller vessel but we are definitely looking at something which can be used by local people.”
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