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Cruise to work on the waves: plan to set up water transport service
DORSET commuters could be able to cruise to work in the future, under ambitious plans for a ground-breaking waterborne transport service.
The county council is set to bid for £2.856 million to set up a commuter and tourist service along the Jurassic Coast , focusing on ferrying passengers between Bournemouth, Poole, Studland and Swanage .
If successful with its second stage bid to the Coastal Communities Fund, it would also look to set up a hopper service between Exmouth and West Bay.
A report to cabinet states that the idea of trying to get more people to travel by boat has long been an ambition for Dorset County Council, in the hope it would ease pressure on congested coastal roads.
Current figures indicate that up to 8,100 vehicles travel daily on coastal roads in August and traffic has grown on some sections of road by between 23 and 34 per cent in just 11 years.
A survey of more than 2,000 residents and visitors, carried out in 2010, indicated that over 90 per cent of people would be interested in using waterborne transport along the Jurassic Coast.
More than 500 stage one applications were made to the Coastal Community Fund, which has £18m to give to local authorities. Dorset County Council is one of 53 authorities invited to submit a stage two application.
Their bid asks for grant funding to develop a ferry route and build landing stages, connect the route to bus services, fund integrated smart ticketing, provide passenger information and market the new service.
The report states: “If the bid is successful, there will be an opportunity to pilot a passenger ferry service operation in both Bournemouth/Poole and Purbeck as well as East Devon/West Dorset.
“This will integrate with the existing public transport network, as well as walking and cycling routes, resulting in a truly integrated transport offer.
“Integrated ticketing and ‘smart’ card technology will be an integral part of the project, as will intelligent marketing of services to visitors and residents.” Cabinet members will consider the report next Wednesday.
Bournemouth Council cabinet member and transport portfolio holder Michael Filer said: “Our road links in Dorset are very poor and I would back any improvement in transport links wholeheartedly; whether for commercial purposes or for tourism. It is important that local councils work together; we need to make it easier for the people who come here to move around the county.”