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Scoot Ferries - The End?

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So it looks as if Scoot may have run out of money. They have cancelled their free bus link to Portsmouth Hard, they have been nursing boats along without servicing them (and have had to cut sailings as a result) and today have posted on Facebook that they have had some very unfestive news and have cancelled all sailing as a result. Their website has become a holding page.

 

They were offering £2 fares this weekend- was this just a ploy to get as much money in the coffers before closing the doors?

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If they have closed it's interesting that it's just after the launch of the ScootClub where you could pay in advance for discounted travel. That's worthless if the company doesn't exist isn't it!

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[h=5]Scoot Ferries[/h] 31 mins ·

 

 

 

 

Press release

Following the unexpected suspension of all sailings on all routes this morning, Scoot Ferries wishes to confirm that they have today appointed David Meany of Ashtons Recovery LLP as official receiver and will be applying for a Company Voluntary Arrangement with immediate effect.

 

 

-------------------------

 

Some are asking if this outcome was thought likely after their funding was withdrawn in November, and they launched what with hindsight looks like a money grabbing firesale special offer (non refundable)

 

 

 

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They've launched the scoot club annual membership and the fire sale this weekend with the intention of getting as much cash as possible in advance. So people are now stuck with worthless season tickets, worthless bookings and worthless scoot club memberships. They'd even started asking people to crowdfund them.

 

It all seems very unsavoury to me.

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Let's give them credit - they did have vessels and ran a service. That's more than many of the start-ups featuring on this forum over the years. If any good comes out of this it may be to show some of the more vocal island figures that running transport links ain't as easy as they think it is. I wish the administrator luck...

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Let's give them credit - they did have vessels and ran a service. That's more than many of the start-ups featuring on this forum over the years. If any good comes out of this it may be to show some of the more vocal island figures that running transport links ain't as easy as they think it is. I wish the administrator luck...

 

Oh I agree that there is credit to be given. But to encourage customers to buy season tickets etc when things are on the rocks is pretty deplorable.

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Oh I agree that there is credit to be given. But to encourage customers to buy season tickets etc when things are on the rocks is pretty deplorable.

Agreed but running a start up you believe in unfortunately encourages such tactics right or wrong. Read Ruined City!

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Sadly it seems the management have a history of similar. Google Local Letterbox and Gulf of Aden Group Transits (GoAGT).

 

Zoe Ombler and Nick Davis keep cropping up and both had involvement with Scoot.

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Whether or not there was mismanagement the simple fact is the numbers didn't stack up. Personally the only way I can see a credible rival launching in Portsmouth is if they can get a berth close to the railway/bus station. Gunwharf would do but the camber is just too far away, and I see no reason why they couldn't use Blue Funnel's berth (except of course for blue funnel objecting!). That, and getting through ticketing sorted. That way someone from London could buy a ticket direct to Cowes via Portsmouth Harbour which would be faster than going via Southampton (requiring the citylink bus between station and RJ terminal).

 

Hope the idea can be rescued, but probably under different management judging by the poor history of the current crop. Staff buyout anyone?

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It was never going to work, the boats weren't new, ex Guardline boats used on wind farm, already had a hard life, that's why Guardline got rid of them, not very comfortable and noisy, didn't carry enough paxs and fares were expensive.

Edited by captjack

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It was never going to work, the boats weren't new, ex Guardline boats used on wind farm, already had a hard life, that's why Guardline got rid of them, not very comfortable and noisy, didn't carry enough paxs and fares were expensive.

 

I always thought they were second hand, but their website said they were purpose built, just not purpose built for Isle of Wight it would seem,

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The SCOOT 2 and 3 were the GARDIAN (sic) 14 and 10 of Gardline (sic). The SCOOT 2 was built in 2012 according to her passenger certificate. There are several similar in Gardline's fleet. These two must have become available at short notice because Scoot started the Cowes route with little advance notice at the wrong time of year.

 

I made only one trip, from Portsmouth to Cowes, when there were three other passengers and three crew. The seats seemed uncomfortable to me. It was never going to be viable for the reasons stated above by "Captjack".

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Not the first time Nicholas Davies has had a company fail and leave people in the mess...see

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...t-9636217.html

 

 

Companies house shows several companies he has a hand in including local letterbox that also seems to have gone under or is about to

 

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/o...Q/appointments

 

Infact a quick shifty through companies house reveals nearly all his companies have overdue returns and accounts...

 

Edited by robbie

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saw one arrive Camber last week..no one on it or on return by the looks. Cannt believe they used there. Should have stuck with Lym to Yar at first. Tried too much fromthe start. Cowes to Camber surely market research would say non starter. Dont like what i have read re advanced tickets just going on sale. Iow get new services but will people back up theirmoans about WL and RF or is it just lip service.

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It's always just lip service in these cases, which is why Market Research would have been a waste of time here. A few weeks ago in the Spectator Rory Sutherland (who is fast becoming the only reason for reading any of their non-arts coverage) introduced me to some work by Stewart Butterfield one of the founders of Flickr and Slack, who emailed: ‘The best — maybe the only? — real, direct measure of “innovation” is change in human behaviour. In fact, it is useful to take this way of thinking as definitional: innovation is the sum of change across the whole system, not a thing which causes a change in how people behave. No small innovation ever caused a large shift in how people spend their time and no large one has ever failed to do so."’ I'm sure in the case of regular travel he is absolutely right. (Sutherland used this to argue against HS2 with some justification I think.) Some analysis of the millions of data points collected by Oyster during the 2014 Tube Strikes found yes some people found new ways to do regular journeys - but it was only 5%. The rest went back to usual once normality returned. Fact is that if you're based in Cowes you have spent so many years feeling linked to So'ton that it would require a cataclysm to attract you to a new route ending in Portsmouth - as that Hovercraft operation found out back in was it 1976. As an innovation it is simply too trivial.

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Not the first time Nicholas Davies has had a company fail and leave people in the mess...see

http://www.independent.co.uk/news/wo...t-9636217.html

 

 

Companies house shows several companies he has a hand in including local letterbox that also seems to have gone under or is about to

 

https://beta.companieshouse.gov.uk/o...Q/appointments

 

Infact a quick shifty through companies house reveals nearly all his companies have overdue returns and accounts...

 

Trouble is Robbie, it is nothing to do with Nick and he was no part of it other than a skipper NOT a director and no ability to make any decisions.... so you have second hand information I'm afraid...

The incident with Wightlink, the run of bad luck with maintenance issues that were / are totally just bad luck and this coupled with the primary investors who had majority control of the business who are not based on the island deciding they no longer wanted a fear service and withdrew all the funding with no notice started the domino effect. There was very much light at the end of the tunnel until Saturday morning when events unfolded that were completely out of Zoe's control or wishes or expectations - you can gossip all you like but there is people interested in taking over for sure..

 

 

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Trouble is Robbie, it is nothing to do with Nick and he was no part of it other than a skipper NOT a director and no ability to make any decisions.... so you have second hand information I'm afraid...

The incident with Wightlink, the run of bad luck with maintenance issues that were / are totally just bad luck and this coupled with the primary investors who had majority control of the business who are not based on the island deciding they no longer wanted a fear service and withdrew all the funding with no notice started the domino effect. There was very much light at the end of the tunnel until Saturday morning when events unfolded that were completely out of Zoe's control or wishes or expectations - you can gossip all you like but there is people interested in taking over for sure..

 

Thanks for clarifying this fair play. happy to stand corrected. I would however urge you to maybe communicate a bit more with the poor people who have lost money rather than come on here to score points with me. Encouraging people to part with their money knowing full well the business was about to go under is immoral and maybe you could consider putting your efforts in their direction.

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Good point Robbie - though I wonder if anybody would have been daft enough to make such an investment. If they have they can join the rest of the creditors and hope for the best...

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Trouble is Robbie, it is nothing to do with Nick and he was no part of it other than a skipper NOT a director and no ability to make any decisions.... so you have second hand information I'm afraid...

The incident with Wightlink, the run of bad luck with maintenance issues that were / are totally just bad luck and this coupled with the primary investors who had majority control of the business who are not based on the island deciding they no longer wanted a fear service and withdrew all the funding with no notice started the domino effect. There was very much light at the end of the tunnel until Saturday morning when events unfolded that were completely out of Zoe's control or wishes or expectations - you can gossip all you like but there is people interested in taking over for sure..

 

 

Was the bad luck with maintenance issues due to using second hand craft that were well used in the wind farm industry ?, and reference the Wighlink incident, why are the MAIB not doing an investigation ?.

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Encouraging people to part with their money knowing full well the business was about to go under is immoral and maybe you could consider putting your efforts in their direction.

 

At no point during Friday was there any indication of what would unfold at 07:15 on Saturday morning and the CEO had taken professional advice prior to all of this anyway. I can assure you there was no intention of her doing anything immoral, if you knew her like we do, you will know she is on the button regarding legal requirements for the business in this situation, and on Friday there was no reason to be concerned. It will all come out in the wash in the end, but can assure you that whilst things were slightly uncomfortable there was no cause for concern. She was faced with a situation on Saturday morning and decided to make the decision based on her duties as the CEO and the balance options she was now left with. There is no point scoring here, and we all just hope that Scoot comes out of this with real investors who really understand that it takes time and money to build a ferry service... it is not a get rich scheme in short time frame!!

 

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A sad state of affairs, but all credit to Scoot for coming on here and explaining their side of the situation. I hope a buyer can be found, at least a CVA gives some hope, rather than an immediate sale of all the assets, which would make it much harder to resume. It was on the radio today too that a buyer was being sought. Maybe the publicity will help find some investers or buyers?

 

I would certainly like to see the service continue. Perhaps it was a mistake to start the two routes initially? I had high hopes when I heard Scoot would be running Lymington to Yarmouth route because this is a route I feel has been poorly served by Wightlink in the last few years (it now runs half as often as it used to, takes longer too and often does not connect well with the trains) and it's also the only route that has no dedicated foot passenger services. That said the fact quite a bit of the distance is along the Lymington River, with the very slow speed limits, does limit the scope for a higher speed operation to save much time. The last time I went over to the island this way Scoot were up and running, but the times of the return crossing I wanted to use were blocked out by Scoot as for season ticket holders only, so in the end I ended up using Wightlink. Perhaps a larger boat and no "seaon ticket only" crossings would have helped on this route.

 

As to the Portsmouth to Cowes route I think this has a lot of potential. There is no existing competion on the route, the journey times were very competitive compared with the alternatives and linking Cowes to Portsmouth, with the shopping centre a short walk away seems like a good idea to me. It helps that Newport is also easily reached from Cowes. The boats looked good, had good facilities. Scoot also seemed to have earned themselves a good reputation for customer service, which is an area the existing operators are poor in my view. It takes time to build up patronage and unfortunately the 6 weeks or so it was operating is not likely to be long enough to do that, particularly as the service started during the winter months. I was hoping to try this service out and was just waiting for a nice day at the weekend to take the trip - but this never happened sadly.

 

I don't agree with other comments that it was never going to work - I can't believe that the owners would start a service which even if full could never make money. Even if they did, you would be highly unlikely to attract any investment! Perhaps it would have been wiser to concentrate on one route to begin with. The only criticsm really is the £2 fares offered on the last day. Even if the boats were all full I can't believe they could make any money with such prices. If the business was doing well and running at a profit , it might be seen as a gesture of goodwill and seasonal cheer to their customers to offer crossing below cost price for a short time. But when the business was clearly in the state that it was, it does seem a very odd decision.

 

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