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Displaying items by tag: transport

Plans for a new light rail bridge across the River Lee in Cork city centre have sparked concerns that the project would prevent any passage of vessels and “sterilise the city forever for future generations”.

The Echo reported last week on the multi-billion-euro transport plan for Cork that includes a light rail system similar to the Luas in Dublin, with a 25-stop route that could cross the city via a new bridge at Kent Station to the South Docklands.

This is the proposal that has raised the ire of Michael McCarthy, chairman of cruising industry network Cruise Europe, who fears the bridge would cut off the city from its maritime heritage.

McCarthy cites the pontoon by the coffee pods on Lapps Quay — “nothing but a few small rowing boats” — as an example of what could happen to the city without free access for vessels of all sizes.

And he argues that some councillors and officials who will be responsible for considering these plans have “no feel or empathy for the maritime or the marine”.

“The river made Cork City what it is today and now they are intent on sterilising it for ever when there is a very viable alternative,” he adds — suggesting that the light rail system could instead follow the old Cork-Blackrock-Passage-Crosshaven line using the existing bridges from Kent Station to City Hall.

Cork City councillors were briefed last week by the National Transport Authority on the plans, which form part of the Cork Metropolitan Area Transport Strategy (CMATS).

Next month a specialist team will be commissioned to analyse all route options for the scheme, which is expected to cost €1 billion in total. The Echo has more on the story HERE.

Published in Cork Harbour
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The Department of Transport, Tourism and Sport (DTTAS) recently published new accessibility guidelines designed as a support to all those involved in providing maritime passenger transport services.

This includes passenger vessel owners and operators, port operators and local authorities, as well as Government departments with a statutory remit in relation to maritime passenger transport services.

The advice given covers all aspects of a journey, including:

  • Advice on providing accessible information for planning the journey
  • Improving access on board vessels
  • Making shore-side facilities accessible
  • Disability awareness training for staff
  • Improving communications with passengers

The full guidelines are available from the Government website as a PDF to read or download HERE.

Published in Ferry

#IslandNews - Air service between the Aran Islands and the mainland has been saved for two more weeks after a short-term tender was agreed, as The Irish Times reports.

Aer Arann Islands gave notice in June that it would terminate its PSO arrangement for the service this month two years ahead of schedule, citing contractual terms that affect its profitability.

The company’s owner even offered earlier this week to sell the airline to the islands’ communities for a nominal €1 sum.

Flights were expected to halt after next Thursday 6 December but a last-minute deal with the Department of Culture, Heritage and the Gaeltacht will see the service continue till at least Thursday 20 December.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News
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#AranIslands - Aer Arann Islands has given notice for termination of its PSO contract for the Aran Islands two years ahead of schedule, as RTÉ News reports.

The airline will end its flights between the islands and the Galway mainland at the end of December this year — once again throwing into doubt the future of the islands’ decades-long air service.

The current PSO contract was only signed in January last year after months of uncertainty, and should have secured flights between Inis Mór, Inis Meann and Inis Óirr until the end of 2020.

However, it is understood that the imposition of additional passenger fees for unscheduled journeys became a sticking point just weeks into the new arrangement.

Without mediation to resolve the issue, the airline says it can no longer continue the contract as it stands.

The news comes six months after the signing of a new ferry contract to guarantee daily ferry service to the islands until November 2022.

Published in Island News
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#IslandNews - Residents of Tory Island have voted in favour of a compromise proposal in their dispute with the State over a new ferry contract.

As previously noted on Afloat.ie, people living on the island off the Donegal coast feared the loss of their community with the planned introduction of a new ferry service that they argued was unsuitable for their needs.

But as The Irish Times reports, islanders have agreed in the majority to back a report presented to them on Friday (23 March) by mediator Pól Ó Gallchóir, and which also recommends a full departmental review of island transport around the Irish coast.

The revised proposal would see Tory Island get a new 12-passenger fast ferry alongside the 40-year-old Queen of Aran, the latter of which begins operation on the 15m route to the mainland next weekend.

Also recommended in the report is increasing the annual window for cargo runs and extending the HSE helicopter service over the winter months.

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News

#AranIslands - Galway Bay FM reports that a new contract for the decades-old aeroplane service to the Aran Islands has been signed.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the long-awaited PSO contract will see flights continue between the Galway Bay islands and the mainland at South Connemara till at least the end of 2020.

The agreement follows months of uncertainly over the future of the air link due to costs on the route.

Only two weeks ago, local Senator Trevor O’Clochartaigh queried the contract’s imposition of additional fees for passengers on unscheduled flights.

Published in Island News
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#AranIslands - Issues remain with the new contract for Aran Islands air services, according to one local senator.

As Galway Bay FM reports, Senator Trevor O’Clochartaigh says the new PSO agreement imposes additional fees on flights not specified on the schedule.

The situation means that passengers on an extra flight for a funeral or in other exceptional circumstances might have to pay more than €30 extra for their seat.

Only three weeks ago, residents in the Galway Bay islands – who have also recently faced the prospect of losing their winter ferry service – were given certainly that their air link to the mainland would continue till at least the end of 2020.

But O’Clochartaigh says Gaeltacht Minister Seán Kyne can still act to make arrangements so that islanders are not left out of pocket. Galway Bay FM has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News
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#AranIslands - While Inis Mór’s winter ferry link with the mainland remains in question, Aran Islands residents at least have an answer to their air service woes.

According to Galway Bay FM, Aer Arann Islands has been selected as the State’s preferred tender for the long-running route to the islands in Galway Bay.

The new PSO contract for the islands to Na Minna airport near Rossaveal runs from 1 January 2017 to the end of 2020, confirming continued flights for another four years.

The move follows several extensions to the existing contract that saw the State and Aer Arann at deadlock over costs on the route, as well as a controversial tender in 2015 to replace the decades-old airplane route with a helicopter service.

Meanwhile, an Oireachtas committee was addressed last week by a group representing Inis Mór residents as the dispute over the island’s winter ferry service continues.

Published in Island News
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#AranIslands - The Aran Islands air service is still without a mainland airport as the deadline for talks on the €3.6 million contract fast approaches, according to The Irish Times.

As previously reported on Afloat.ie, the Department of the Gaeltacht has been in a stalemate with the owners of Connemara Airport – who presently hold the tender for the Galway Bay islands' air link – over the cost of the Public Service Obligation contract.

Prices offered by Aer Arann Islands, which factor in refurbishment and staffing costs, have become a sticking point with the department.

However, one last effort will be made to reach a deal before the deadline next week, according to Minister of State for the Gaeltacht Seán Kyne.

“We cannot pursue a contract if we don’t have an airport," said Minister Kyne, "and at the moment, we don’t have agreement on those terms.”

The Irish Times has more on the story HERE.

Published in Island News
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#AranIslands - The Department of the Gaeltacht is in a stand-off with the owners of a Connemara airport that's once again thrown the future of the Aran Islands air service into doubt.

According to Galway Bay FM, the deadline for tenders for the Galway Bay islands' decades-old air link to the mainland had been set to expire at noon yesterday (Friday 3 June).

But it's been extended for another fortnight after the department failed to come to terms with the owners of the airport at Inverin over the cost of the Public Service Obligation contract.

The airport, near the ferry link at Rossaveal, was selected as the mainland terminal for the new air tender two months ago, as previously reported on Afloat.ie.

Subsequent concerns over the potential for increased fares or the replacement of the aeroplane link with a helicopter service – as per the controversial tender late last year – were not entertained by the department citing the ongoing tender process.

Published in Island News
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Ferry & Car Ferry News The ferry industry on the Irish Sea, is just like any other sector of the shipping industry, in that it is made up of a myriad of ship operators, owners, managers, charterers all contributing to providing a network of routes carried out by a variety of ships designed for different albeit similar purposes.

All this ferry activity involves conventional ferry tonnage, 'ro-pax', where the vessel's primary design is to carry more freight capacity rather than passengers. This is in some cases though, is in complete variance to the fast ferry craft where they carry many more passengers and charging a premium.

In reporting the ferry scene, we examine the constantly changing trends of this sector, as rival ferry operators are competing in an intensive environment, battling out for market share following the fallout of the economic crisis. All this has consequences some immediately felt, while at times, the effects can be drawn out over time, leading to the expense of others, through reduced competition or takeover or even face complete removal from the marketplace, as witnessed in recent years.

Arising from these challenging times, there are of course winners and losers, as exemplified in the trend to run high-speed ferry craft only during the peak-season summer months and on shorter distance routes. In addition, where fastcraft had once dominated the ferry scene, during the heady days from the mid-90's onwards, they have been replaced by recent newcomers in the form of the 'fast ferry' and with increased levels of luxury, yet seeming to form as a cost-effective alternative.

Irish Sea Ferry Routes

Irrespective of the type of vessel deployed on Irish Sea routes (between 2-9 hours), it is the ferry companies that keep the wheels of industry moving as freight vehicles literally (roll-on and roll-off) ships coupled with motoring tourists and the humble 'foot' passenger transported 363 days a year.

As such the exclusive freight-only operators provide important trading routes between Ireland and the UK, where the freight haulage customer is 'king' to generating year-round revenue to the ferry operator. However, custom built tonnage entering service in recent years has exceeded the level of capacity of the Irish Sea in certain quarters of the freight market.

A prime example of the necessity for trade in which we consumers often expect daily, though arguably question how it reached our shores, is the delivery of just in time perishable products to fill our supermarket shelves.

A visual manifestation of this is the arrival every morning and evening into our main ports, where a combination of ferries, ro-pax vessels and fast-craft all descend at the same time. In essence this a marine version to our road-based rush hour traffic going in and out along the commuter belts.

Across the Celtic Sea, the ferry scene coverage is also about those overnight direct ferry routes from Ireland connecting the north-western French ports in Brittany and Normandy.

Due to the seasonality of these routes to Europe, the ferry scene may be in the majority running between February to November, however by no means does this lessen operator competition.

Noting there have been plans over the years to run a direct Irish –Iberian ferry service, which would open up existing and develop new freight markets. Should a direct service open, it would bring new opportunities also for holidaymakers, where Spain is the most visited country in the EU visited by Irish holidaymakers ... heading for the sun!

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