Sunday, July 13, 2008

Dover For The Continent, Ramsgate For...

...well, certainly not for cyclists, if this email from Belgian reader Frank is anything to go by:

I like reading your blogspot and there is a lot of truth in it. Especially about TDC, who seem to be run by a bunch of idiots. They can't even reply to emails.

I am trying to get TransEuropa Ferries (TEF) to take bicycles on board. The answer of TEF is that the port of Ramsgate isn't safe to take bicycles. I find this hard to believe because it was safe enough when Sally ferries used to run it. I have sent several emails to TDC and new port Ramsgate asking for an answer. This was over a month ago. So far I got a reply from the harbour master Mr D. Evans who said I should ask TEF...???

Mr Michael Roberts can't read nor Mr Ezekiel as they have not replied. I thought that TDC is the owner of the port of Ramsgate so surely they could give an answer. I just want them to say that the port is safe for bicycles so I can show the answer to TEF.

Could you help me with this as I trust some members of TDC are readers? I think Thanet can use every bit of tourist money and bringing in cyclists could benefit the area as they will need a place to sleep/drink/eat, unlike the tourists who arrive and drive further on to London, etc.

Good point, Frank. I can see that it would be unsafe for cyclists to access the port through the tunnel, but there's no reason why they shouldn't use Military Road, which could easily be connected up with our marvellous, islewide network of cycle paths. What's so bloomin' annoying about TEF and TDC is they seem to be geared entirely to bloody great lorries or wind farms at the expense of foot passengers, cyclists and cars, who would surely bring much-needed dosh to the island's economy. Down the road in Dover they've announced a new ferry service, and launched a 113,000 tonne supercruiser all in the past week. There's no reason to suppose that, with more dynamic management, Port Ramsgate couldn't be just as prosperous.


Anonymous said...

For any one who has not done the trip , I really recommend it. Although the ferry is a bit basic it is great just to read and drink coffee, and there is a soft play area for kids which mine loved.
Although Osstende is not particularly exciting there are some good things to see or just get on the road and Bruge is really close.
We went on a camping trip last year for two nights and drove through Belguim to Zealand which is in Holland , and it still took less time than driving to the West country and the campsites are much better, all for £32.00 for the car and four people.
Use it before we lose it.

Peter Checksfield said...

"Use it before we lose it"...I would, but as I'm a cyclist / pedestrian they won't let me! : (

Anonymous said...

They probably can't get the insurance for foot passengers after the linkspan disaster in the 90s?

Anonymous said...

Peter, you have to put on clothes on the ferry!!

No problem wityh your modles though, I'm sure they will be able to travel for free!

Michael Child said...

As a shopkeeper it was the foot passengers coming from the continent that helped the towns economy, so I am all for pushing for a return of foot passengers, perhaps it would be possible to get the council to persuade the ferry operator to start them.

Anonymous said...

Shame about lack of facilities for cyclists. In Dover, the cyclists have their own route through the docks to the ship itself and then roll up on to the car deck to park up in a dedicated corner. Exiting, cyclists usually get off before anybody else and away down the ramp. It's easy enough and should be easily done at Ramsgate. Try Googling for Spokes East Kent cycle campaign website - they may be keen to help here.

Nick, Whits

Frank said...

Hi all,

Someone replied about insurance for footpassengers,well the tragedy happened in 1994. Until Feb 1997 RMT/Sally still took footpassengers across via the vehicle linkspan.
So did Holyman Sally via another linkspan, so this can't be the problem.

Michael Child is right it brought money into the local economy, the evidence are the stickers you can still find on some shops in Dutch,French and German welcoming people to Ramgate.

Nick is right, surely Ramsgate port can copy the port of Dover cycle plan. A bit of paint here, some plastic shutters there and its all done. Nobody asks for expensive fences and overpaid contractors.

As for cyclists and footpassengers, Speedferries(Dover-Boulogne) used to carry cars only.
They also had loads of reasons not carrying them.
Since March they started carrying cyclists and since last Friday they are also carrying footies.

There might be some hope then...