Councillor Keith Mans, Leader of Hampshire County Council, said: “I’d like to thank our partners at Southampton City and New Forest District Councils for joining us in making funding available to support the ferry in these exceptional circumstances. It means the Hythe Ferry can continue to provide an important public transport option for those living and working in the area.”
The authorities have jointly provided £45,000 to help the Hythe Ferry remain financially viable during the COVID-19 outbreak. The amount is split equally between each partner authority; it will be administered by Hampshire County Council with a mechanism in place for the contribution to be directly spent on delivering the ferry service.
Councillor Steve Leggett, Cabinet Member for Green City and Place at Southampton City Council says “The Hythe Ferry provides important transport connections across the Southampton Water and forms a key part of the wider public transport services in Southampton and Hampshire. We’re delighted to be joining forces with our partners at Hampshire County Council and New Forest District Council to make funding available that will support these vital services and ensure that key workers in the region can continue to travel with maximum ease throughout the ongoing challenges of Covid-19.”
Councillor Edward Heron portfolio holder for planning and infrastructure at New Forest District, said, “The ferry provides a valuable service to residents of our district, particularly those who work in Southampton as it provides a quick service whilst also reducing the number of vehicle movements on nearby roads. We are pleased to be able to provide this funding to support the continuation of this service which has been badly affected by the pandemic.”
Lee Rayment, Director of Blue Funnel Ferries, trading as the Hythe Ferry, said: “We are extremely thankful to the three local authorities for their support given to the Hythe Ferry. The outbreak of Covid has really taken its toll with minimal tourist trade, and government advice to not use public transport. Our decline in numbers mean the ferry is struggling to stay afloat and this finance will assist the ferry in its short-term future survival, especially with the second lockdown in place.”