Wednesday, 14 April 2010
Greyhound from the Isle of Wight
About 12 years ago I did a wonderful assignment with First working with Hovertravel on the Isle of Wight planning a hovercraft service from a park and ride site on the River Thames to the Millenium Dome. We overcame most of the practical issues (there is even a slope up alongside the Dome) but were worried about the risk of too few passengers. How right we were!
The partnership with Hovertravel however did lead to other exciting projects including studies for passenger and freight Hovercraft services in the USA (quite a few US airports are former military seaplane establishments so come with the necessary smooth interface between concrete and water). Nothing in my job description ever mentioned very fast runs along narrow stretches of water in a San Diego Police Launch!
However, closer to home we now have another partnership: Isle of Wight residents have been campaigning for better and more competitive links to London for some time.
So from May 1 Greyhound UK, Southern Vectis and Hovertravel will provide an ‘all in one’ ticket from anywhere on the island to London from just £8, plus 50p booking fee.
In order to quicken journey times Greyhound has designed its timetable alongside Hovertravel, already the fastest link between the Isle of Wight and the mainland, and where possible will provide seamless connections in both directions. In addition, Greyhound is to start and end its Portsmouth – London services directly outside Hovertravel’s Southsea terminal at Clarence Pier.
There are always new examples of integrated transport but hardly ever one involving Hovercraft so definately a First !!
Today, Barbara Ann, one of the Greyhound fleet, made a special appearance on the island to help promote the new service. Barbara Ann and one of Southern Vectis’ buses flanked a hovercraft on Hovertravel’s pad at Ryde.