Back in 2015/16, when the ‘new, more efficient’ £3.2m floating bridge was just an apple in the council’s eye, its predecessor, Floating Bridge 5, was busy helping residents and businesses cross the Medina River and making a profit whilst doing so.
Profit that went back into the council’s coffers to help pay for others services on the Isle of Wight.
Fast forward a couple of years and the ‘new, more efficient’ bridge was no longer making a profit, but also racking up massive losses, and two years on, still is.
A Freedom of Information request has revealed the ongoing costs for Floating Bridge 6, as well as the staggering losses.
When you compare the profits from previous years to the losses of the last four, it makes for sorry reading.
|2015/16||2016/17||2017/18||2018/19||2019/20 (5 months)|
|£120,452 Profit||£36,388 Loss||£547,991 Loss||£301,293 Loss||£64,112 Loss|
Costs due to failures
Since November 2018, when there are certain tides that the ‘new, more efficient’ bridge can’t cope with due to its design and issues with the chain depth, it requires the help of a pushboat, MV Seaclear.
The ongoing cost of using this vessel is now almost £150,000, whilst the cost of using the passenger launch when the ‘new, more efficient’ bridge is out of service has so far cost over £180,000.
|Total cost of using Seaclear pushboat|
(up to 25th Sep 2019)
|Total cost of using the launch (13th May 2017 - 31st Aug 2019)||£181,189|
|Total cost of chain depth surveys (up to 20th Sep 2019)||£110,760|
Council says no
When asked for the approximate loss of revenue when the bridge is out of service, the council replied that they are not obliged to create new information for the purposes of an FOI request and refused to provide the figure.
The figures above do not include the cost of replacing both prows, which took the bridge out of service for three weeks last month.
Our thanks to D Taylor and Leif Marriner for the heads-up