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HomeTravelGravesend To Tilbury Ferry To Stop At End Of Month

Gravesend To Tilbury Ferry To Stop At End Of Month

Jetstream Tours took over the contract to run the service in 2017 and are currently into a second extension on the initial deal but have announced that they will no longer continue the service after March 2024.

The company said “Jetstream Tours has operated the Gravesend-Tilbury Ferry on behalf of Kent County Council since 2017 and are proud to have been able to provide these services to Kent and Thurrock for the past seven years.

Jetstream Tours has not been able to reach a ‘tenable’ agreement with the councils

“Following a second extension to our existing contract, in November 2023, we became aware of funding issues which started through the withdrawal of funding from Thurrock Council. We have maintained positive talks solely with Kent County Council throughout this period whilst a consultation period was entered”.

“Regrettably due to ongoing concerns and uncertainties presented around future funding and an abandoned procurement process by Kent County council for longer-term prospects, Jetstream Tours has been unable to enter into negotiations with the council”.

“Further short-term extensions to our existing contract sadly are not tenable for our business and staff. We feel it ultimately would lead to further protracted job insecurities and have an adverse effect on our ability to adequately employ and ensure continuity of a regular and reliable ferry service”.

“We regret that Jetstream Tours will not be continuing our services beyond our contracted period of 31 March 2024. We understand that the council have been seeking an alternative operator to continue the service”.

The potential closure of a Kent ferry service has been labelled a “total disaster” by those who use it to travel across the Thames.

Only days earlier Councillor Jefferies assured residents of the service’s continuance and that the council had made a U-turn on its decision in November last year to pull out of the joint-funding arrangement with Kent County Council.

That left Kent struggling to justify running the service on its own, and its administration announced they were considering the future of the crossing.

However, pressure on Thurrock – including questions in Westminster involving borough MP Dame Jackie Doyle-Price and Prime Minister Rishi Sunak – appeared to have prompted dialogue between Kent and Thurrock, with Thurrock agreeing to make up missed payments and pledging to fund the crossing in future through use of funds raised from planning section 106 funds.

However, it appears talks have come too late for Jetstream, who have also suffered a lot of operating issues in recent weeks with many missed service and days when it didn’t run at all. It would seem that hopes of finding a new operator will not happen in time to keep a continious service.

Now, a new report into its viability has garnered more than 1,700 responses – many pleading for the Gravesend to Tilbury crossing to be saved. Kent County Council (KCC), which commissioned the public consultation study, has co-funded the route with Thurrock Council for more than 20 years.

One person said “It would be a total disaster for me. I travelled by ferry for more than 10 years for work, I have no other ways of getting to the other side of the river.”

Another added “If the county council is required to provide this public service requirement, the alternative to the ferry might require a service using four buses. At a rate of £500 to £1,000 per bus per day, an alternative bus service might cost £1,000,000 per year. The total ferry subsidy has been quoted as being about £200,000. Consequently, the ferry service appears to provide excellent value for money.”

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