PASSENGER FERRY SAVED! JULY 2010.
The passenger ferry has received the necessary funding support in order to complete this season and the full three year trial operating until Tuesday 28th September 2010, thanks to Argyll & Bute Council and Highlands and Islands Enterprise. Cllr Duncan MacIntyre says “The passenger service has been very popular with both islanders and visitors however the service can only carry on if it is financially viable. While no-one wants to see the service disappear we have to ensure that any support to private enterprises is made on the basis that the service is financially successful. I urge everyone travelling to Jura to consider using this ferry – it will only survive if more people pay to use it.” Kerrien Grant from Highlands and Islands Enterprise, said: “HIE is keen that the pilot period is fully completed as the resulting data will be an opportunity for Jura Development Trust to evidence the usage and value of the service.”
The ferry is a local project owned by the Development Trust. A Rural Community Transport Initiative grant administered by Argyll & Bute Council, fare income and local donations, funds its operation.
The ferry’s operations have seen a significant boost to Jura’s economy, estimated by an independent consultant at £3 for every £1 invested. The social impact has been just as positive, making it so easy to get to and from the mainland for residents, homeowners, relatives, friends and visitors.
Earlier this year a Cost Benefit Analysis, funded by HIE, was conducted by an independent business consultant. In his initial draft report he summarises the situation as follows:
“The pilot ferry service has achieved significant social impacts on the community in better access to services, reduced sense of isolation and increased use of holiday homes. It has also levered a significant economic return, which is providing direct income and business and employment opportunities.
At this stage in the pilot, with awareness still growing and the impact of marketing still to be realised, the ferry is already delivering important returns for the community in social and economic terms.”
We are now working with local councillors and Argyll & Bute Council along with European funders to ensure that the success of the 3 year pilot leads to it becoming a permanent feature of life here on Jura.
Finally a big THANK YOU to you, our passengers for your support over the 3 year pilot project period and to Nicol MacKinnon for running such a great service.