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Ferry service under threat

PUBLISHED: 17:06 10 March 2010 | UPDATED: 11:34 23 August 2010

THE historic ferry service across the Thames could end if plans to cut its funding are confirmed. Captain John Potter of Lower Thames & Medway Passenger Boat Company service between Gravesend and Tilbury is furious that his subsidy could be cut by Thurro

THE historic ferry service across the Thames could end if plans to cut its funding are confirmed.

Captain John Potter of Lower Thames & Medway Passenger Boat Company service between Gravesend and Tilbury is furious that his subsidy could be cut by Thurrock Council.

Mr Potter, who has owned ferry The Duchess M, since 2002, said: "They have said that it is not being used and also suggested that it is only people coming from Gravesend.

"I have the statistics to show that that is certainly not the case."

Mr Potter said on Tuesday that Princess Pocahontas, which crosses the river every half hour, picked up 38 people going to Gravesend and 47 passengers travelling to Tilbury.

There are records of a ferry running between the towns since the 17th century.

Lower Thames & Medway Passenger Boat Company receives a subsidy of £40,000 from Thurrock Council and an equal amount from Kent County Council.

Captain Potter pointed out that he still has a contract with Thurrock for another 18 months so any changes could not take place until then.

"I am certainly not going to just disappear. For the moment I have my contract and we will cross that bridge when it comes to it," he said.

Andy Lever, a spokesman for Thurrock Council explained that the council was assessing the situation and would make a final decision at full council on March 24.

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