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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 November 2007, 14:53 GMT
Liverpool ferry trips considered
Superseacat Two
More than 1,000 people have signed the petition
Ferry trips between the Isle of Man and Liverpool may be re-instated in the run-up to Christmas after more than 1,000 people signed an online petition.

The Steam Packet Company announced it would not sail ferries to Liverpool Pier Head on Saturdays or Sundays from 9 November until 1 March 2008.

A petition was set up on the website manxforums.com, by customers who said it was a "vital service".

The Steam Packet Company has now said it will look at customer comments.

Mark Woodward, chief executive, said: "We will explore the possibility of providing some day trips to Liverpool in the period leading up to Christmas."

This is an absolutely vital service
Frank Scheungel

The announcement that the weekend ferry services would be cancelled was made last week.

Instead the Steam Packet said it will sail the Ben-My-Chree from Douglas to Birkenhead in Wirral.

Frank Scheungel, who set up the petition, said: "You cannot blame the Steam Packet for wanting to make money, they are a corporation, but it's down to regulations to ensure there is a balance between profit, and this is an absolutely vital service."

Those who have signed the petition are calling for "the Office of Fair Trading and the Government of the Isle of Man to ensure that improved service and reliability, as well as better value for money is achieved in future".

'General concern'

A spokesman for the island's Office of Fair Trading (OFT) said only four people had asked for help over the issue, although others may have approached the ferry company.

"We are aware that over two months in the previous winter slightly over 230 people travelled on day trips in total," said Nick Black, chief officer for the OFT.

"We recognise that those consumers who have signed the petition may be expressing more general concern."

The Steam Packet Company said issues raised in the petition were already being examined by the recently established Tynwald Select Committee.

Mr Woodward said: "We have to act in the interests of the majority and, despite the many comments, day-trippers account for only 2% of our passengers over this period.

"Changes were made to the winter schedule in order to provide a more reliable winter service overall."

He said the company would respond to customer comments.



SEE ALSO
Ferry firm in petition challenge
06 Nov 07 |  Isle of Man
DoT 'satisfied' with ferry times
30 Oct 07 |  Isle of Man
Ferry company welcomes fare probe
21 Jun 07 |  Isle of Man
Company in TT timetable apology
24 May 07 |  Isle of Man

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