Corfe Castle Parish Council Object to the Proposed Revision of Ferry Tolls
The Parish Council have submitted the response below in objection to the revision of ferry tolls proposed by the Bournemouth and Swanage Motor Road and Ferry Company.
Re. REVISION OF TOLLS – BOURNEMOUTH AND SWANAGE MOTOR ROAD AND FERRY COMPANY
Corfe Castle Parish Council is responding to the public notice by the Bournemouth and Swanage Motor Road and Ferry Company which proposes doubling fares for pedestrians and cycles, increasing the single fare from £4.30 to £6 and a 63% increase in the discounted fares available by purchasing books of tickets.
Corfe Castle Parish Council objects to the proposals for the following reasons:
1. The proposed increase in fares would have a significant impact on local residents who need to travel to either to and from the Bournemouth region of Dorset. For a person who works in Bournemouth or Swanage who buys discounted tickets this will mean an extra £21 a week by 2022.
2. This will have a serious effect on the local economy as Purbeck needs to bring in staff often to lower paid work in the tourist industry and many Purbeck people travel for work using the ferry.
3. The increase will have a significant deterrent effect on potential day visitors to Purbeck from the Bournemouth area and affect the tourism industry the principal economic activity in the peninsula.
4. Some visitors will then take the longer route through the busy road of Sandford and the A351 and causing more congestion in the narrow main road of Corfe Castle, a village of outstanding beauty already attracting 300,000 visitors a year. There are only two main roads leading into the Isle of Purbeck and both need to be used to even out demand and reduce congestion.
5. Discouraging people from using the ferry by high tolls will mean more people will take the longer route adding to CO2 and air pollution and wasting fossils fuels.
6. There have been substantial increases in ferry tolls for cars in recent years, far above CPI inflation, whereas petrol prices –a key indicator for motorists-have fallen from a peak of £1.41 to about £1.21 a litre today. The figures supplied by the ferry company of a levelling of income suggest that the tolls are already deterring off peak traffic. Except on sunny days, weekends and school holidays the ferry is normally not at capacity.
7. The increase will therefore be self-defeating as the toll is already at a level where motorists are deciding to take the longer route to Purbeck. Any increase above average earnings increases will reduce the traffic on the ferry and their income projections will not be met
8. The ferry is already highly profitable. In 2017 the company made £1,244,007 profit before tax on a turnover on £3,056,480, a rate of 31%. The Company’s own submission states (p8 Para 3.3.12) “the data table at appendix 5.1 show s that the company’s Profit before Tax as a percentage of sales is much more favourable than other companies in similar industries.” If the Directors wish to build up reserves for replacing the ferry they should invest more of this profit in their reserves.
9. All the calculations in the submission are designed to maximise the projected costs for the company in order to justify the large increases. The submission bases cost increases on forecast Retail Price Index Increases of 3.6% every year. The Retail Price Index is a discredited index, which is rarely used. The Bank of England is forecasting a return to long-term inflation of about 2%. It is open to the company to make a revised submission in future years if inflation is higher than expected.
The Company should withdraw this application and make a revised application, which introduces off peak fares, good discounts to encourage regular use and places any increases on periods of peak demand. There should be no increases for pedestrians, public buses and cycles, as we should encourage more use of these.
The Company has scope for efficiency. The ticket processes and cash collection should come into the 21st century and allow for cashless payment, and prepaid cards, which allow automatic entry thus speeding up the process. There also needs to be real-time information about queues available on phones to avoid wasted journeys and maximise capacity.