2020/12/10 Sandbanks Ferry submits revised toll application

The Sandbanks Ferry Company has submitted a revised toll increase proposal to the Planning Inspectorate following
last minute feedback from local Councils.
Following the submission of a toll increase application by the Ferry Company in February of this year, a consortium
of local Councils – Dorset, BCP and Swanage Town – submitted a counter-proposal in November, to which the Ferry
Company is now responding.
While welcoming much of the Consortium’s proposal, the Ferry Company believes there are some significant issues
which its own revised proposal seeks to amend.
The amended proposal by the Ferry Company maintains the following aspects of the Consortium’s proposals:
• The acceptance that the Ferry Company will require a certain level of income over the next 12 years as
outlined in the Ferry’s original submission in order to purchase a replacement to the current ferry, The
Bramble Bush Bay.
• The removal of the annual inflation-linked increase originally proposed by the Ferry Company, in favour of a
simpler structure of small fixed annual increases. The Ferry Company agrees that planned annual increases
provide greater clarity and transparency for passengers.
• The promotion of environmentally friendly travel by proposing a freezing of pedestrian and cyclist tolls for
12 years. This in line with the Ferry’s commitment to help passengers travel in more environmentally friendly
The Ferry Company’s revised proposal also looks to address what the Company believes are a number of issues with
the Consortium proposal.
In particular, the Consortium’s three annual increases over 12 years would see single ticket car tolls jump
immediately from the current £4.50 to £5.50 per journey. This could add £10 per week to a daily commuter’s
journey from 2021, disproportionately impacting those on lower wages who may not be able to take advantage of
the bulk ticket discount options already available.
By contrast, the Ferry Company’s revised application proposes an initial increase of just 50p for cars in 2021 followed
by planned, transparent small annual increases at a more gradual level over the proposed 12 year period, taking 6
years to reach the £5.50 proposed by the Consortium for introduction in 2021.
Furthermore the Ferry Company’s revised proposal also reiterates that no class of toll would be increased by 50% or
doubled immediately, as some parties have suggested. The maximum chargeable tolls – the amount the Company
can apply for under legislation – will be phased in over a twelve year period.
The Consortium’s proposal also fails to take into account the revenue reductions seen by the Ferry Company in
alternate years due to the bi-annual Bramble Bush Bay refits. The Ferry Company’s revised proposal rectifies this
The Ferry Company’s revised proposal also seeks to ensure that costs for local residents who regularly travel by car
are offered at an increased discount level, taking discounts up to 32% less than single ticket prices, effectively
freezing the cost of book tickets (SFTC Passes) for yet another year.
Commenting, Mike Kean, Managing Director of the Sandbanks Chain Ferry, said, “I welcome the constructive, albeit
last minute, intervention from these important local Councils into the toll increase application.
“Much of their proposal shows a pragmatic understanding of the way in which the Ferry Company is governed by the
Act of Parliament and how it can go about securing the future of the service by putting funds aside annually to
replace the Bramble Bush Bay when she retires.
“That is why we have sought to retain the best of these proposals and improve where needed to create an
application that we believe can and will work for everyone going forward.”
Periodic toll increases are needed to keep pace with rising costs, maintain safety for passengers and to secure the
long-term future of the service. Combined with the Director’s commitment not to pay any dividends until sufficient
funds have been set aside annually in the Ferry Replacement Reserve, this ensures that the Bramble Bush Bay can be
replaced when deemed necessary by Naval Architects.