Isle of Wight floating bridge leaves taxpayers £2million, 2021 figures reveal
The struggling pontoon bridge left Isle of Wight taxpayers around £2million last year, it can be exclusively revealed.
EXCLUSIVE: Figures obtained by Isle of Wight Radio show the Isle of Wight Council spent nearly £900,000 (£883,789) in repair costs for the much-maligned ship.
While foot passenger replacement services, put in place to ensure the Cowes-East Cowes route remains available, cost £220,899.
The estimated loss of revenue, due to vehicles not being able to use the service, is around £170,000 (£172,178).
Although the council said the chain ferry brought in around half a million pounds (£497,887) in the last calendar year, expenses far outweigh income.
In total, more than £1.3m (£1,342,674) has been paid out to private contractors by the council.
For repairs and maintenance, engineering firm Adams Precision received £776,515. While for replacement services, Solent and Wightline Cruises received £122,851 and Cowes Water Taxis received £71,325.
The pusher boat, which the council uses to help pontoon bridge 6 during certain tides, cost £106,038, which went to the Cowes Harbor Commission.
The total revenue expenditure for the chain’s ferry was £2,242,893.
This applied, among other things, to personnel costs – for example salaries and training – as well as insurance and general costs such as electricity costs.
After income and taking into account overall expenses, the council lost a total of £1,917,184 on the ship in 2021.
What’s next for ‘the lemon?’
As Isle of Wight Radio reported on Monday (17), talks to reach a financial settlement over the vessel have failed.
Two days were given for the council to reach a settlement with the ship’s builders and designers – but it came away empty-handed.
Isle of Wight Council said legal mediation failed because the parties were miles apart to agree on costs.
He is now deciding what his next steps will be, but has previously said he would not hesitate to take further legal action.
Floating Bridge 6 is currently out of service for its five-year MCA inspection.