Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Ferry connection to be reestablished this year ?

The so-called 'interior ferry line', connecting the ports of La Gomera's capital San Sebastian, Playa de Santiago and Valle Gran Rey was the subject of a question by La Gomera's president Casimiro Curbelo in the Canarian parliament this morning and in his response the Canarian president Fernando Clavijo confirmed that just yesterday the ferry company Fred. Olsen Express had formally applied to run this service once again.
This time it appears to be a solid proposal and the president went on to state that the Olsen company had previously placed an order for a new fast vessel suitable to run the ferry connection and that it was already under construction in a shipyard, due to be completed this year. He further said that the reestablishment of the ferry line could be operational before the end of this year, 'hopefully sooner if possible'.
The 'interior ferry line' ceased operations early 2012 despite having been declared an 'obligatory public service' by the Canarian government some years previously, and the decision to subsidise resident's tickets even further in recent times.
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. The last company to run it was also Fred. Olsen Express with a leased vessel called 'Benchi'.
It is worth remembering that by taking the now sorely missed ferry  it 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 currently has to squeeze through the centre of the national park, and that Valle Gran Rey only has one access road which is very narrow in places and prone to rockfalls.
We're keeping our fingers crossed, but with more optimism now...
...and I'll post any further developments on this blog.

+UPDATE early Nov. '16:
Very sorry to state that there's no good news to report yet and locals in La Gomera are pessimistic now about above promises and announcements
Who knows what'll happen, there's a lot of of different views - and vested interests.
KEEP THE FINGERS CROSSED and  please do always mention the lack of this ferry when being asked 'how do you like La Gomera' by anyone

++ UPDATE Feb. 8th 2017:
According to La Gomera's president Casimiro Curbelo the new vessel to operate the interior ferry line connecting the ports of La Gomera's capital San Sebastian, Playa de Santiago and Valle Gran Rey ''will arrive in La Gomera this June or July''. Curbelo made the announcement when addressing the Canarian parliament yesterday about the necessity to upgrade and improve the port of Vueltas in Valle Gran Rey.

+++UPDATE Sept. 2017: 

1 comment :

Nigel Stuart North said...

This service is very very important and good news. We are all hoping and it must be permanent, not an on-off-on-off contract. What took the authorities so long to realise this? Are the Canarian government short of cash for this..? Well, hike up tobacco and cigarette prices with tax to the NORMAL expected cost in the 21st about 7-10e per packet of 20. This is what people EXPECT to pay It is outrageously cheap to kill yourself slowly and drain the medical services with tobacco smoke on these islands. Parking charges at the port and in the towns to encourage use of public transport could all be implemented. C'mon government bold,creative and modern. And bring on the boat service.