Uncertain Future for Gravesend to Tilbury Ferry Service as Consultation Nears End: Local Councilor Takes Action to Save Vital Transportation Link

Gravesend to Tilbury Ferry Service Faces Uncertain Future as Consultation Nears End

The future of the ferry service between Gravesend and Tilbury is hanging in the balance as a consultation on its future is set to end this week.

For over two decades, Kent County Council and Thurrock Council have jointly funded the service, which operates six days a week from 5:40am to 7pm and serves over 100,000 passengers each year. However, due to financial pressures on both authorities, they have been forced to review their spending and consider the viability of the ferry.

The consultation, which was launched at the beginning of the year, will be closing on February 4th and can be accessed online. It has sparked concern among regular users, such as Oluwabori Olusola who relies on the ferry to get to work.

Olusola shared, “The transportation is very convenient and quick, it gets me to work on time. If it stops running, I’ll be late for work.”

Another regular passenger, Abigael Olukoya, who commutes from Essex to university, expressed her worries about the potential closure of the service. The 19-year-old stated, “My journey currently takes about an hour and a half, but without the ferry, it would take much longer.”

Local councilor Danny Nicklen has also taken action to save the ferry by starting a petition. He explained, “Many of my constituents have expressed their concerns about the potential closure of the ferry service, which is why I started this petition. It is a vital service for the local community and its closure would have a significant impact on the lives of many.”

Nicklen further added that the service is not financially sustainable without external funding, as the current subsidy of £55,000 per year is not enough to cover the costs of the boat crossings. In fact, with the expiration of the current contract, the subsidy is estimated to increase to over £200,000 per year.

While Thurrock Council, which is facing financial difficulties, has expressed concerns about its ability to continue funding the service, Nicklen believes that the responsibility should be shared among all stakeholders, including neighboring councils and private companies.

He stated, “The ferry service has been an integral part of our community since 1855. It’s not just about the financial aspect, it’s about preserving our heritage and ensuring that this vital service continues to serve the people of Gravesend and Tilbury.”

As the consultation draws to a close, the fate of the Gravesend to Tilbury ferry remains uncertain. However, the hope is that a collaborative effort will be made to secure its future and continue providing a vital transportation link for the local community.

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