Jersey and Guernsey watchdogs want ferry regulation

Condor Ferries
Image caption Condor Ferries has a service agreement with both governments to provide ferry services

Regulating Channel Island ferry services would help protect passengers, according to competition watchdogs.

The regulatory authorities in Jersey and Guernsey have issued a joint response to a States consultation on ferry travel.

They want new licensing agreements to be non-exclusive to allow other operators to set up services.

Both watchdogs also argue for new laws to cover prices and efficiency.

'Robust powers'

Ferry services from Jersey are currently controlled through service agreements with the States of Jersey and the States of Guernsey and permission to use harbour ramps.

The governments have agreements with Condor Ferries, who provide services from the islands to the UK and France, which are due to expire in 2013.

Jersey Competition Regulatory Authority (JCRA) and Guernsey's Office of Utility Regulation (OUR) can investigate prices but they cannot regulate fares and services before they are set.

At the moment, Condor Ferries reports its maximum fares to the States.

But the JCRA and OUR say any licence granted to Condor should have robust powers to monitor price, profitability and the quality of its services.

They argue the scheme should have teeth to impose fines for any breaches of licence conditions as an alternative to the current remedy of taking away a licence to operate.

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