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Everything posted by Millsy

  1. BF do seem to be finding as many ways as possible to keep digging.
  2. After the ferry being out of service again since July the council has now started legal action against the builders https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-england-hampshire-54010784
  3. Expecting any clarity on anything from the Buffoon in titular charge and his pals is pointless I fear.
  4. Well fine it may be an anglo-centric view but by the same token if one of the French taxpayers drove past the CFT in say February and saw the tiny knot of cars waiting to cross they might ask whether the public were being super-served.
  5. BF is a French Company serving a mainly UK clientelle. If I was a French taxpayer I might look rather askance at bailing out what I might easily view merely as basically a job creation scheme for mariners especially if I then found out just how the majority of the twelve ships are financed. The plain fact is that BF have been running too many ferries on too many routes making too little money for years. I suspect that's simply because there is very little money to be made. The CEO may have reason to ask for help but when a business has so many of its eggs in one basket there are questions to be asked about resilience and investment decisions when the customer base is so limited.
  6. Not after September 10th by the looks of it. Cap will be doing that route.
  7. I think the 'if' is the issue. We have seen my father for half an hour since March, the home he is in has been extremely careful, and we thought things might be returning to normal slowly when were allowed a 'garden visit'. Then bang they have one case and it's keep away for another 28 days. That'll be September 15th six months effectively a prisoner for him - for his own good The Leader of the Conservative Party and his pals might say. (But as a very wise 86 year old said to me once 'Don't talk about being 86 until you've been 86!' Many of his frail fellow customers could easily be seen off by a bad cold.) Following this and, even though no longer working in the sector, following the travails of the events industry and live entertainment I don't sense any return to 'normal' on the horizon at all and I don't think the CEO of BF does either.
  8. Well yes - but it took some rural holiday destinations in this country years to recover from Foot and Mouth in 2001. The problem for any discretionary market is the breaking of the habit of a lifetime especially if people realise what they have been spending. And unless the Leader of the Conservative Party and his pals cut some sort of sensible deal going to France or indeed any EU country will not be like it has been since 1992. And I simply don't trust that motley crew to get anything right.. Mind you the BF which emerges going forward might stop spending money on stupid rebranding and websites that don't work and get back to basics.
  9. I agree but I don't think they'd be high up the list of most PE outfit targets.
  10. What external investor would be remotely interested? In reality the major creditors would be the French taxpayer in one way or another and they never press for payment. The CEO seems to be blaming government policies for his problems and he has a point obniously, but the terrible standards of customer service between March and July - reported frequently here- plus a stream of critical comments on onboard standards for two years plus a booking site that doesn't work must also be playing a part. As I said the other day he has to start reshaping the business to a size that might have some chance of surviving and make sure that that is profitable. He won't be Mr Popular.
  11. Everybody who decided either to travel or not to travel is turning suppositions into facts, for the simple reason that there are no facts to go on, not really. Now I think there are a number of reasons why travelling through a travel terminal could well be more of a risk than going to the pub, but I don't know. I have just chosen this year not to do it, as I have chosen not to go to a pub as it happens. If I was pressed I would say that the chances of being in dangerous contact with someone who has suppressed their temperature with copious draughts of calpol is probably a tad higher in a plane than elsewhere but nowhere near as high as the journey from where I am sitting now to the waiting room at St Pancras International. In the end we can only decide for ourselves as the government, to use the term in its technical sense you understand, is only working from the same set of suppositions based on data which probably can't be relied on and reacting to the lobbying pressures from an industry which is probably only mm from imploding completely.
  12. I suspect you're right - but It would be a much smaller business if it was reduced to the traffics for which it was essential and still wanted to, at least, break even. Drive past the CFT any time from say mid September to Easter and you wonder at just how trivial the passenger traffic is most days. It has never made enough money and its main asset has been the goodwill of mainly UK customers. It remains to be seen just how much of that is left.
  13. Good question - well see how it goes. It's going to be a long winter for BF I fear.
  14. In May last year I was in the Lot from 18th May until 26th. Fit as a fiddle climbing up to the Dolmans the works. Within a fortnight I was unable walk down the road without stopping for a rest and within a few days I was in dock with all sorts of talk about prognosis followed by an operation. Could have happened while I was in France? I asked. It could have happened at any time in the last two months was the reply. I wouldn't have fancied paying any of the costs that weren't covered by the EHIC - Mrs M worked in private health and knows what they would have been. (The cost of repatriation can be huge.) And underlying all other considerations is the old truth that if an insurer can find any way to repudiate a claim - they will.
  15. I think the problem would be rating the risk. No company could write business on the basis of the destination of the insured. In my view the fact that there is still a travel insurance market at all indicates that the underwriters view the risk as acceptable within the current advice framework, I fully admit I expected it to be impossible to get cover at all except under existing policies a few months ago. No doubt BF could approach a panel of underwriters with that proposal but I don't think they'd get very far. As far as recovering any vehicle from overseas is concerned it is very wise to look carefully at the small print if all policies you hold. It was revealed on this forum a few years ago that no recovery policy at that time would bring a vehicle back if the cost of recovery exceeded the value of the vehicle in Glass' Guide.
  16. The latest BF info is here It seems that the only alternatives they are publicising are to amend the booking or to cancel and claim on your insurance. If a sailing is going ahead their usual cancellation terms will apply. Your best plan is to contact them direct - good luck with that.
  17. If the CEO couldn't see this was pretty well certainly going to happen around a fortnight before the schools go back in the UK he has no business running any company. The travel business has had concessions that bore no relation to risk that they should not have been given anyway and it is about time BF management got real about their long-term future. Such as it is. Christophe Mathieu is about to find out why they pay him the big bucks - and it ain't to be popular.
  18. Try being in the theatre - even whistling is bad luck!
  19. Yes I agree - but putting the political toothpaste back in the tube is never easy. Especially when it involves giving access charge subsidies estimated to be worth Euros 90m over two years while backing that with absolutely no details of infrastructure costs. It will perhaps be a hard sell to the environmental lobby who clearly don't believe a word of it. Don't get me wrong I like the idea - though I'd be happier if the unit was an ISO box and not a piggy back trailer, and if I was a French taxpayer that the haulier was paying the rate from day one (concessions often end in tears) and there weren't so many question marks. It's just that I've spent fifty years seeing politician after politician give into the road haulage lobby and old habits seem to die hard.
  20. The French campaigning group Carfree is not impressed! Source http://carfree.fr/index.php/2020/08/04/paroles-paroles/ Auto translation pat Google With Jean Castex, the new Prime Minister, and Barbara Pompili, new Minister of the Environment, we will see what we will see in terms of rail freight. Rail freight has been abandoned for years and in particular since Macron who even stopped the Perpignan-Rungis scoop train? All that is over, now we will save the climate by massively developing rail freight based on ... promises. At the moment, in the absence of billions, it is in fact raining promises on rail freight: "we are going to create new rail motorways between Sète and Calais or Cherbourg and Bayonne," "we are going to abolish rail tolls," "we will reopen the Perpignan-Rungis primeurs train… ” Lyrics ... Lyrics ... is no longer a song by Dalida and Alain Delon, but by Barbara Pompili and Jean Castex! The problem is that in the area of rail freight, political promises have been piling up since at least the Grenelle de l'Environnement in 2007 and that rail traffic is falling as fast as the promises are increasing. The breakage of rail freight to the benefit of all trucks since the 2000s is a structural factor that is now well known and documented. So of course, some will say that we must "give the Jean Castex a chance", but a political expert like Jacques Chirac said in his time that promises only bind those who believe them ... It is all the more so It is true that in this frenzy of new railway promises, the new Prime Minister is even talking about seeing the (future!) Bayonne-Cherbourg, Sète-Calais and Perpignan-Rungis lines extended… from Antwerp to Barcelona! How about a rail freight line from Brest to Vladivostok? He is too strong, not only does he promise things that he will have little chance of keeping on French territory, but he will even begin to lecture the Belgians and the Spaniards ... And we have to take his word for it because you can imagine that Jean Castex was particularly "hurt by the Perpignan-Rungis affair, the primeurs train ..." It's weird, but we don't remember having him heard particularly at the time to denounce this Macronian political choice… just like Barbara Pompili, the new Minister of the Environment, who never had anything to say about the abolition of the Perpignan-Rungis primeurs train. But it is promised, now we will do rail freight like never before, except that we will have no precise information in terms of investment plan or deadlines. It's weird, when it comes to giving billions, not promises, to Renault or Air France, we know the amounts and the deadlines, and when it comes to saving the railway soldier, that's all. More fuzzy. By deliberately promoting road transport with diesel subsidies, political power as a whole has made the historic choice of all-road. All Jean Castex he is, the new prime minister is accountable for the recent abolition of the Perpignan-Rungis primeurs train or the abandonment of night trains.And let's not forget that he is the prime minister of a certain Macron who gave his name, not to a railway line, but to a particularly disastrous social and environmental coach system ...
  21. I think it's just that it is terribly easy to spend other peoples money. A council down here has just put up a street sign out in the middle nowhere because someone on a Parish Council found out that it had a charming name from some old source. Nobody else knew this of course, it appears on no maps used by the emergency services etc. They give the name we all know it by. (That sign was removed incidentally) But it is an identical name to a lane well known across the district and on all maps in a village 8 miles away. You can guess what will happen the first time someone looks at the sign and rings 999! Probably cost around one poor blighters council tax.
  22. Would there be room for both if us!
  23. BFEers who doubt my comments about Network Rail spending may be interested to know that the work above planned to cost Euros 6m (£5.4m) would just about build 45% of a footbridge in Lincoln OK this is a bit fancy but their going rate for a typical ramped footbridge is £3.5m. Either they are right about the real costs of major work or the French PM is.
  24. I'll still believe any investment over here when I see it. The blue box on the plan has question marks in it and tunnel conversion work is so expensive. Mind you no one could be as profligate as Network Rail so maybe I've got jaundiced over the past few years.
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