Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Three companies 'interested' in providing new ferry

The former Garajonay Expres in the harbour of Valle Gran Rey
Months of rumours and fruitless waiting for the re-opening of  the ferry service between the ports of Valle Gran Rey, Playa de Santiago and San Sebastian on La Gomera and Los Cristianos on Tenerife have passed and then there was silence...
The 'interior ferry line' ceased operations over a year ago despite having been declared an 'obligatory public service' by the Canarian government some years previously.
Yesterday the Canarian government minister responsible for transport Domingo Berriel was quoted as saying that thanks to his government's agreed  increase in the subsidies for resident's tickets to 75% of the price on the connection between the three La Gomera ports, the ball was now in the ferry companies' court to make applications to provide the service. 
Berriel revealed that ''all the ferry companies'' had shown an interest in providing the service. In reality ''all'' can only mean three companies, i.e. Fred. Olsen Express, Naviera Armas and the former Garajonay Expres. 
He also stated that the further connection from any of the three Gomeran ports to Los Cristianos will be subsidised with 50% of the ticket price for passengers resident in the Canary Islands. He added that to renew or maintain the status of the line being an 'obligatory public service' was ''very complicated'' because the Spanish state maintained that there were alternatives to travel on land.
The ferry route had been operated by three different companies over the years and attracted 150.000 passengers per year on average before it ceased operating about 15 months ago. 
It is worth remembering that by the now sorely missed ferry service it just took just about 30 minutes to travel from Valle Gran Rey to the capital San Sebastian, while the public bus needs about 110 minutes to get there. The route by sea would also reduce the amount of traffic that has to pass through the centre of the national park now.
Let's hope that 'mañana' something more tangible will emerge and not just politicians stating the obvious, but 'mañana' could take a long time to arrive here, I fear.
Click for latest UPDATE
Olsen and Armas ferries in the port of San Sebastian de La Gomera. Olsen once ran a small ferry to V.G.R. called 'Benchi'

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