[an error occurred while processing this directive]
BBC News
watch One-Minute World News
Last Updated: Monday, 23 July 2007, 17:16 GMT 18:16 UK
Thousands use hovercraft service
Forth hovercraft
The trip across the Forth takes under 20 minutes
More than 16,000 people used a new hovercraft service in the Forth estuary in its first week, operators have revealed.

Commuter numbers also doubled after the introduction of a priority booking line on the route between Kirkcaldy in Fife and Portobello in Edinburgh.

Transport firm Stagecoach is expecting more passengers this week after the closure of the Forth Rail Bridge.

The 92ft-long BHT130 hovercraft can carry up to 130 passengers.

It is being used during a 300,000 two-week trial which ends on Saturday.

The company had originally planned to run 22 services a day, with prices starting at 4.50 for an off-peak return ticket.

'Extremely positive'

Stagecoach announced that 16,116 passengers travelled on 148 trips, averaging less than 18 minutes each, on the route between Monday and Saturday last week.

Robert Andrew, regional managing director of Stagecoach Scotland, said: "We have been absolutely delighted with the popularity of Forthfast in the first week of the trial and we are expecting another busy week with the closure of the Forth Bridge to rail services.

"Our new priority booking hotline for commuters has been working well and the number of people using the hovercraft to get to work, which is a key market for the service, has more than doubled from the first week of operation.

"We have also been very impressed with the performance of the craft and the early signs about the future potential of a cross-Forth public transport link have been extremely positive."


SEE ALSO
Not a bother commuting by hover
16 Jul 07 |  Scotland
Hovercraft lift-off for the Forth
13 Jul 07 |  Edinburgh and East
Forth hovercraft trial to begin
19 Jun 07 |  Edinburgh and East
Forth hovercraft trials to start
01 Mar 07 |  Edinburgh and East
Hovercraft to transport commuters
12 Sep 06 |  Edinburgh and East

RELATED INTERNET LINKS
The BBC is not responsible for the content of external internet sites



FEATURES, VIEWS, ANALYSIS
Has China's housing bubble burst?
How the world's oldest clove tree defied an empire
Why Royal Ballet principal Sergei Polunin quit

PRODUCTS & SERVICES

Americas Africa Europe Middle East South Asia Asia Pacific