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Save the Ferry

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As a P & O shareholder I find some of the comments on the save the ferries site rather offensive. Somebody should study the share price trends a bit more.

The only way to save the service is to encourage more people to use it. Will going on strike next week help to that end. I think not.

I am booked to travel Cherboug/ Le Havre on Tuesday April 19th. "workers of the world" permitting.

Many years ago I worked for a guy who frequently used the expression "The world owes nobody a living". This might not please some people but the fact is it is true.

As I write this I am about 5 mile away from the MG Rover plant at Longbridge. Need I say more?

Finally between now and the end of August I have 7 return crossings booked, 5 are on this route with P & O and the other 2 are with BF.

If any of the "Loony Left" object I can always fly Birmingham/Jersey then to Granville and hire a car. How will that help the P & O cause ?

Finally, yes I do want to see the Cherbourg/Le Havre service survive.



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It's interesting, isn't it. On the one hand we have the openly anti-P&O 'Channel Pirates' campaign, and desire to see P&O fail on its major Dover-Calais route, linked to the support for Speedferries, and on the other hand there is a campaign to retain another P&O route.

I think it worth remembering that last year when P&O first gave notice that it was likely to close the Le Havre route it blamed the high costs of using Le Havre, and said it was likely to switch the service to Caen Ouistreham instead, following its comparative success with a fast ferry to Caen.

I wonder if there is any mileage for other ferry companies in doing a Speedferries and following budget airline pricing but taking it a stage further? Quoting a low basic price but adding on a proportion of what is paid out in port dues plus a possible fuel surcharge if the price of oil has risen? I admit that when thinking of that I was looking at the Irish Sea services rather than cross-channel. Stena runs the service from Dublin to Holyhead with ferries carrying over 1000 passengers and using four aircraft-type engines. Ryanair uses twin-engine planes carrying about 150-180 people between Dublin and various places in UK. I don't need to spell out the differences in ferry fares and air fares. Something doesn't add up.

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Will: I was intrigued at your comment about P&O "failing" on the Dover-Calais route. I supported the Channel Pirates campaign, NOT to see them fail, but to try and stop them exploiting passengers. They DID increase their fares by 100% three years running and only the first year had they any excuse, the rather spurious one of loss of duty free revenue.

As regards the irish Ferries/Ryanair question: have you figured in the TIME for which the engines are running?

A Ryanair flight is about an hour? How long is the ferry journey?

Strangely enough I was in contact with a guy yesterday having a very similar conversation with others about whether the proposed Mag-Lev trains would be energy saving.

In fact, they will be 6 TIMES dearer to run, as regards energy costs, than a standard Eurostar...........which is NOT the cheapest to run by any means.


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I've just been speaking to the guests who are currently staying in our gite near Rouen. They told me that they had bought their P&O Portsmouth-LeHavre tickets back in January on the "early booking" scheme, but that when they checked the prices again last week on the website they were shocked to see that the price was now £150 cheaper than they had originally paid (and when they phoned P&O they would not give them a refund). I asked them how much they had paid and I nearly fell off my chair when they told me that it was £350 for a car and 4 people. We were out at the house last week and paid £30 return for a car and 4 people on Speedferries (OK, I know that this was a special deal of only 50,000 tickets at that price and that the normal price works out at about £50-£60, but still!!!).

Given that we are 1 hour from Le Havre and only 1.5 hours from Boulogne, from now on I will always be advising my guests to consider travelling via Speedferries. Sorry to those of you who are trying to support the Portsmouth-Le Havre route, but for anyone travelling to the East/South-East of Le Havre it really is a no-brainer...

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Phoned P&O yesterday to book some sailings. They confirmed that they will pull out of Portsmouth Le Havre @ end of September. I had to book Dover Calais for my October break, a route it seems I shall have to use more often, given the high prices Brittany Ferries quote.

Robin Wolf


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