Friday, 5 April 2013
At a meeting in March, the Advisory Group of FRIST (Friends of Isles of Scilly Transport) confirmed that its principal long term objective would remain unchanged: that is to campaign for an affordable, reliable, all year lifeline service to the Isles of Scilly comparable to that provided in the Scottish Isles. In addition, the group considered some short-term goals including investigating the possibility of a government subsidy for a trial sea passenger service to operate next winter November to March, with a break in service during January or early February for refit if necessary. At a meeting with Andrew George MP he agreed that the possibility of a winter Public Service Obligation was worth exploring further. Prior to any statement on the way forward there was a considerable amount of groundwork to be covered including consultation with the Steamship Company and the Department for Transport. We are continuing to explore precedents within the UK and EU regarding Public Service Obligation routes, and whether any other islands attract revenue support on a partial or seasonal basis. It is important not to raise expectations at this early stage of exploring options to improve winter transport to and from the islands but FRIST is determined to do everything possible in its power to help prevent a future repetition of this winter’s dire travel situation.