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So, do you welcome the idea of competition for the SPC?

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Ellan Vannin Line recently unveiled its plans for a new daily cargo service to Heysham.

And it has said that a passenger service could follow by TT next year.

Leah Boardman hit Strand Street, in Douglas, to ask shoppers whether they welcomed the introduction of new competition for the Steam Packet.

She asked them whether the island has a large enough population to sustain both companies?

And whether it was sometimes just cheaper to fly.

Stanley Travis of The Park, in Onchan, hoped that the launch of Ellan Vannin Line would bring down the cost of ferry travel.

He said: ‘I use the boats a couple of times a year, generally the service is good but it could be improved.

‘Hopefully a bit of competition will bring the prices down as well!’

Tracy Nicol is a regular Steam Packet customer.

She said: I have found the service to be quite average.

‘If a new company came over I would be inclined to see how they compared.’

Kenneth Renhen has just moved over to the island from Dublin.

‘The main thing I would like to see is more boats going to Dublin as the main route appears to be Belfast,’ he said.

When asked whether they thought increased competition was a good thing, Ron Fargher, of Ballakelly Farm, in Andreas, said: ‘On the face of it, it sounds like a good idea, but I think we need to be careful for what we wish for.

‘The main part of the Steam Packet’s revenue comes in from freight and if we are going to lose the freight, we as the passengers may well suffer more.’

Mr Fargher, who was in town with wife Janet, added: ‘Competition does sound good and competition is healthy but whether they are sufficient to justify two ferry services I’m not sure.’

Carol Walmsley, of Maine Road, in Port Erin, said her family would use the Steam Packet more if the cost of travel was ‘more reasonably priced’.

She said: ‘Honestly, if this idea was to go ahead we would probably look at the difference in price and if it was cheaper we would use the new service.’

Wendy Lang, of Cronkbourne Avenue, Douglas, said Ellan Vannin Line could be a good thing for the Isle of Man – if there are enough visitors.

At the moment I am very happy with the Steam Packet,’ she said.

‘We have a dog and a caravan so we use the boat around three times a year to travel to the UK.

‘I would like to see the prices that the new competition has to offer.

‘But I would hate to think that the Steam Packet would be put out of business because of the new shipping line.’

Steam Packet Company chairman Robert Quayle has insisted that they will fight off any new threat of competition.

But he admitted that if any competitor established any kind of ‘traction’ it would hit freight services which cross-support less economic services.

In turn, this could impact on passenger fares in the short term and investment plans for the future.

Ellan Vannin Line is due to launch a daily freight service from October using a roll on, roll off container vessel that could carry up to 40 trailers.

It could also carry containers, vans, cars, livestock, oversized goods, dangerous cargo and scrap.

The boat would sail at 10am from Douglas, arriving at Heysham at 2pm.

It would depart again at 7pm and arrive in Douglas at 11pm.

• What do you think? Email us your views at opinions@newsiom.co.im or send a letter to Isle of Man Newspapers, Publishing House, Peel Road, Douglas, IM1 5PZ.

 

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