Gravesend ferry benefiting from crossing woes
PUBLISHED: 15:25 15 December 2010 | UPDATED: 16:16 15 December 2010
The owner of a historic ferry service under threat of closure has seen an upturn in business. He claims plans for a third Thames crossing holds no danger.
Captain John Potter is undaunted by Kent County Council proposals to create a new crossing in the east of Gravesend and says the impending rise in tolls at the existing Dartford River Crossing, which rise to £2 in April and £2.50 in 2012 will improve his business.
The Gravesend to Essex Duchess M ferry service came under threat earlier this year when Thurrock Council bosses suggested cutting its £40,000 from its annual subsidy, and Kent County Council bosses announced it would not cover the shortfall.
Mr Potter said: “We have already seen an upsurge in business in recent weeks due to issues at the crossing, where there seem to be constant disruptions. While they may be looking at a new crossing they have talked about it for years and it will be many more years before they lift a finger to do anything about it. ”
In the past fortnight the river crossing has been closed several times due to high winds and most recently icy conditions due to the heavy snowfall.
A campaign to preserve the service, which dates back more than 200 years, attracted more than 600 followers and included a march on the Thurrock council offices in April.
Councillors agreed to maintain the subsidy of £88,995, but will review it again next year. Kent County Council will also continue to provide £88,995 in annual subsidy for the service.
Captain Potter is aware the battle is not over but hopes the rise in tolls will help provide more customers.
He said: “If they really want to make that crossing better they should get rid of the tolls. Then I’d really be in trouble.”
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