Devon

Brixham Express commuter ferry arrives 19 months late

Brixham Express
Image caption The Brixham Express was waiting for safety certificates in Ireland said its owners

A ferry promised 19 months ago to serve commuters between Brixham and Torquay has finally arrived in port.

The Brixham Express catamaran was due to begin operating in December 2014 but was delayed because of safety certificate issues, its owners said.

Stand-in ferries ran for the first five months and were subsidised with a government grant of £544,000, equivalent to £170 per passenger.

Brixham Express said services will begin after further inspections.

Image caption The commuter catamaran has been delayed by getting safety certificates its owners have said.

The ferry was waiting for a safety certificate in Donegal, Ireland, from the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (MCA), its owners said.

The MCA said it had been "awaiting confirmation" that defects had been rectified.

Since last April, the ferry firm has been running a 35-seater boat between Torquay and Brixham instead of the promised catamaran.

Mary O'Driscoll, of Brixham Express, said: "Before [the catamaran goes] into service she will need further inspections by the authorities and also familiarisation with the crew.

"As soon as she is fit for service we will have very exciting opening offers to allow the public to enjoy the commute."

Image caption The 35-seat Brixham Vitesse has been running between Brixham and Torquay instead of the promised catamaran

Brixham shopkeeper Helen Meacock said: "It's arrived too late and I think it's going to struggle.

"People have been waiting more than a year and a half for this service and it really isn't good enough."

But, cafe owner Clive Higgins said: "It's a positive thing for Brixham - anyone who gets people moving around the bay is a good thing, if it's used properly."

More on this story

Related Internet links

The BBC is not responsible for the content of external Internet sites