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Last Updated: Monday, 18 February 2008, 16:47 GMT
Red tape delays hovercraft plan
Forth hovercraft
A service will not run on the Forth until at least 2009
Plans to introduce a hovercraft service across the Forth estuary have been delayed by red tape.

Stagecoach has been looking for public funding to help it launch the route between Kirkcaldy and Leith.

The firm had hoped to have everything in place to run the hovercraft before the end of 2008, but the company said that will now not happen.

It is still in discussions with various transport bodies over funding and a deal is not likely to be agreed soon.

If it secures financial support, the company hopes to begin operating the crossing in 2009.

A Stagecoach spokesman said: "We have been looking for information about the process going forward and, as a result, it would be into 2009 before a service can go on the water.

"Everything needs to work in partnership to make this kind of project a reality and there are areas which we are waiting to hear back on."

A two-week long trial of the service, in July 2007, was used by about 32,000 people.

Stagecoach has predicted that it can attract 870,000 passengers onto the hovercraft within its first four years.

The company has said it believes the service can be made viable but appealed for help with set-up costs.

SEE ALSO
'Clear case' for Forth hovercraft
25 Oct 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Hovercraft trial 'success' claim
29 Jul 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife
Operators hail hovercraft service
26 Jul 07 |  Edinburgh, East and Fife

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