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BobCrox

Plymouth - Roscoff disadvantaged again

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Looking at the winter time table I notice huge gaps for Plymouth sailings. Is there really no demand between early November and the 8th of February?

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there is no services on the route due to refit cover and not that much demand 

armourique doing cover for st malo , caen and poole routes i think 

Edited by Aiden
spelling mistake

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Well, I'm sure there is some demand.  We always book a Plymouth - Roscoff crossing at the start of January (when available).  The main problem is the risk of cancellation due to weather, this has happened to us several times.  Last year our booking was changed to Portsmouth - St Malo  then before we'd  even arrived at Portsmouth we had a text to advise us that the ferry would now be going to Cherbourg instead.  There were quite a number of disgruntled passengers and it must be quite a hassle for the BF team to manage the changes, lay on busses for foot passengers and liaise with the port authorities etc.  Maybe they think it is just not worth the risk at that time of year.

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I don’t understand why this is a discussion we have to have every year.  The reality is that Plymouth-Roscoff is a seasonal route, partly due to reasons of demand and partly due to the exposed nature of the port of Roscoff in the winter storms. Armorique was built with the versatility to be able to be used as a relief vessel on all sorts of routes out of season when she is not required at Plymouth.  The issues to do with the suspension of Plymouth-Roscoff are the same every year.  And the same as seem to have to be discussed on here every year.

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I seem to remember many more sailings on this route in the past. Storms at Roscoff were not a problem then.

I wonder if the rumours one hears that the route will be closed altogether are true?

Last year I had to drive all the way from Cornwall to Portsmouth to get to my cottage near Roscoff. The Portsmouth sailing was almost empty with many of the passengers who were on board complaining about the lack of a Plymouth sailing.

 

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1 hour ago, BobCrox said:

I seem to remember many more sailings on this route in the past. Storms at Roscoff were not a problem then.

I wonder if the rumours one hears that the route will be closed altogether are true?

Last year I had to drive all the way from Cornwall to Portsmouth to get to my cottage near Roscoff. The Portsmouth sailing was almost empty with many of the passengers who were on board complaining about the lack of a Plymouth sailing.

 

First, if the Portsmouth sailing was virtually empty then that proves the demand out of season is very low across the network and there are sadly not enough passengers to justify the Plymouth-Roscoff route all-year-round. The Portsmouth route is sustained because its more central, can make more money with freight and has better onward connections for those passengers who are travelling. 

Second, what is the source of those rumours and how serious do you judge them to be? 

Ed. 

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6 minutes ago, Solo said:

Are the 2019 sailings starting earlier than normal in February?

If they are it makes a mess of Gareth's excuse of winter storms preventing sailings. In the western approaches the storms are at their strongest in February and early March.

I think that the lack of traffic in winter becomes a self-fulfilling idea. November can be beautiful in France but who will go for a short break if they cannot get back?

Cut down on sailings and then I suppose BF cut down on advertising directed to Wales, the North, Devon and Cornwall and then even less people wilkl want to go.

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4 minutes ago, Cabin-boy said:

First, if the Portsmouth sailing was virtually empty then that proves the demand out of season is very low across the network and there are sadly not enough passengers to justify the Plymouth-Roscoff route all-year-round. The Portsmouth route is sustained because its more central, can make more money with freight and has better onward connections for those passengers who are travelling. 

Second, what is the source of those rumours and how serious do you judge them to be? 

Ed. 

The reason the Portsmouth - Caen ship was almost empty was because a much more convenient, but full, sailing had just left for St Malo.

The rumour was in a Bretagne paper. Apparently Brexit has hit some routes very hard and it could get worse if the pound continues to fall. The newspaper speculated that, if BF no longer sailed from any Breton port, they should change their name.

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8 minutes ago, BobCrox said:

The newspaper speculated that, if BF no longer sailed from any Breton port, they should change their name.

That would mean BF shutdown their services to both Roscoff and St Malo which I really can't see happening (but never say never). Can you recall the name of the paper and approximate date when the rumour was published? 

Was the St Malo crossing so full that you were unable to get a place, and therefore took the less convenient and 'further to drive' crossing to Ouistreham? 

Ed. 

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38 minutes ago, BobCrox said:

If they are it makes a mess of Gareth's excuse of winter storms preventing sailings. In the western approaches the storms are at their strongest in February and early March.

I think that the lack of traffic in winter becomes a self-fulfilling idea. November can be beautiful in France but who will go for a short break if they cannot get back?

Cut down on sailings and then I suppose BF cut down on advertising directed to Wales, the North, Devon and Cornwall and then even less people wilkl want to go.

It’s not “my excuse”.  It is a summary of the conclusions that this forum has collectively come to on the numerous previous times this issue has been discussed.

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Why would BF shut the Plymouth/Roscoff year round? It’s extremely popular in Summer I’ve been on Armorique when the car deck is jam packed and she’s nearly full with passengers, and the advantage of Armorique as has been discussed here in spades is her versatility to cover other routes out of season.

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Complaining bitterly to B/F is the only thing we can do I use the Roscoff service several time during the year ferry is always busy.I will be asking for an extension to my club membership again the year. They at one stage ran a service from plymouth to st Malo once a week but that has stopped now. Look what happened when the closed the Poole service they had so many complaints it was restarted. 

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Brittany Ferries is a business, they offer services like crossings and Club Voyage, we choose  whether to buy or not.

The winter is the time to get the boats ready for the summer so they are bound to suspend services and concentrate on where the real demand is.

 

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Plymouth - Roscoff is, essentially, a seasonal route suiting holidaymakers travelling to Brittany, Vendee further into the west coast of France. It is the route I have taken oftn travelling from the north west of England during summer holidays. In addition to this, the port of Plymouth is obviously a good location for people i the south west of England ie/ Devon and Cornwall however, in the context of the UK that is not a lot of people.

Portsmouth is perfect as it is an ideal location for people/companies from the major conurbation of the south and south east of England, as well as serving ports in Spain and central  northern France which have ideal links to the rest of the country.

I can't see BF closing Plymouth-Roscoff as in the summer season it is extremely busy but keeping it seasonal makes perfect business sense when demand dwindles in the summer.

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14 hours ago, Solo said:

Are the 2019 sailings starting earlier than normal in February?

Just to answer the original question after a little checking on this side of the Channel, it is probably a little earlier than in the last two years, yes, because the half-term holidays in Brittany and all the North West of France (Zone B) begin on the 9th February 2019. It rotates around a system of 3 zones, A, B and C, and every third year we get our winter and Easter holidays first. Hope that explains the timetables. Ed. 

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2 hours ago, Cabin-boy said:

Just to answer the original question after a little checking on this side of the Channel, it is probably a little earlier than in the last two years, yes, because the half-term holidays in Brittany and all the North West of France (Zone B) begin on the 9th February 2019. It rotates around a system of 3 zones, A, B and C, and every third year we get our winter and Easter holidays first. Hope that explains the timetables. Ed. 

I think this year we had half term and then another break before the full time service started, next year there is a service right through.

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21 minutes ago, Penlan said:

Ply Roscoff tonight is rammed full, must be popular then!!

 

Rhys

Just like the campsites a lot of the passengers are going to , I can’t imagine those campsites are popular in February though.

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I think of all the different variations of winter service the once a week Friday over Saturday back sailings seemed the most suited to the route (although even then passenger numbers could be low). The trouble with that is the Plymouth to St Malo (and one year Plymouth Cherbourg) positioning crossings had very poor numbers. I remember one sailing single when i was one of only 6 cars. I'd love there to be an all year round service from Plymouth but I'm not sure it's sustainable with the substantially bigger ships. 

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18 hours ago, BobCrox said:

The rumour was in a Bretagne paper.

It's tittle tattle.

Neither Roscoff nor St Malo will be closed. Roscoff is owned by BAI so to is Millbay and its fuel terminal although the latter is managed by ABP and Whitakers. Portsmouth-St Malo is the 3rd busiest route on the English Channel. Combined the Breton ports carry almost 900,000 passengers a year.

There are currently six ports and three routes which must be served to a certain level to satisfy all of those abbreviations discussed on another thread. Roscoff, Plymouth, St Malo, Portsmouth, Cherbourg and Poole. 

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10 minutes ago, jonno said:

It's tittle tattle.

Neither Roscoff nor St Malo will be closed. Roscoff is owned by BAI so to is Millbay and its fuel terminal although the latter is managed by ABP and Whitakers. Portsmouth-St Malo is the 3rd busiest route on the English Channel. Combined the Breton ports carry almost 900,000 passengers a year.

There are currently six ports and three routes which must be served to a certain level to satisfy all of those abbreviations discussed on another thread. Roscoff, Plymouth, St Malo, Portsmouth, Cherbourg and Poole. 

BF do not own Millbay - they rent the use of it, and the terminal, and servicing via ABP dockers from ABP!

http://www.abports.co.uk/Our_Locations/Short_Sea_Ports/Plymouth 

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St Malo the third busiest route on the Channel? Dover-Calais, Dover-Dunkerque and Portsmouth-Ouistreham will all be ahead at least, possibly/probably Newhaven nowadays. And Plymouth is pretty competitive in terms of passenger numbers. The St Malo route is quite busy but relatively infrequent and in freight numbers it is nowhere.

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55 minutes ago, hhvferry said:

St Malo the third busiest route on the Channel? Dover-Calais, Dover-Dunkerque and Portsmouth-Ouistreham will all be ahead at least, possibly/probably Newhaven nowadays. And Plymouth is pretty competitive in terms of passenger numbers. The St Malo route is quite busy but relatively infrequent and in freight numbers it is nowhere.

Oh yeah I forgot about Dunkerque, sorry. Their down to around 2.4m. Newhaven is around 100k less than St Malo. I know the freight numbers numbers are poor although they're larger than Roscoff.

Edited by jonno

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