Sandbanks Ferry planned fare increases 'totally unreasonable'

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image source, Ian Capper
image captionSandbanks Ferry operates between Poole and Studland and saves users a 25-mile car journey between Bournemouth and Swanage

Proposed fare increases on a chain ferry on the Dorset coast are "totally unreasonable", users and a council have said.

Pedestrian fares on Sandbanks Ferry, between Poole and Studland, are set to double to £2 by 2021, while the car toll will increase from £4.30 to £6.

Purbeck District Council has written to the Secretary of State opposing the plans.

Fairacres Group, which runs the ferry, is holding a consultation.

The firm has not yet responded to a BBC request for comment.

'Expensive enough'

Purbeck District Council said the proposed increases, which also include a £3.40 hike for coaches and goods vehicles, were above the level of inflation.

Leader Gary Suttle said initial fare increase plans for April this year were "above 3% with some as high as 33%".

The alternative route from Bournemouth to Swanage, by road, is 25 miles.

image captionPurbeck District Council said the proposed hike in fares were above the level of inflation

"I know it saves quite a journey time coming round, but I thought it was expensive enough," ferry user Michael Best, from Bournemouth, said of the service.

His wife Jean said the proposed increases were "totally unreasonable...going too far " and "taking advantage of the fact that we are supposedly coming out of austerity".

Pete Smith, who has also used the ferry in the past, said he already opts for the road route over the ferry to commute to work as it saves him about £19 for five return journeys a week.

The proposed increases would cost him an extra £2,000 a year.

The Secretary of State will make the final decision on the ferry company's application to raise the tolls.

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