HD Ferries - is patience wearing thin?

Following weeks of delays, collisions and technical problems, last weekend Jersey Harbours, finally lost their patience with HD Ferries and withdrew their licence to operate the route between Jersey and St Malo.

The vessel has been running on only 3 of its 4 engines for some time and as a result, had been experiencing difficulties in berthing in Jersey. This culminated in a fairly serious collision with a rival Condor Ferries craft in July which caused damage to the HD ferry and caused it to be withdrawn from service for some days whilst repairs were made.

Then last weekend, it happened again and this time, the harbour authorities had no choice but to suspend their licence on Friday, resulting in hundreds of passengers having to find room on Condor at the last minute. Needless to say, Condor were only too delighted to take all this business - and to charge HD clients through the nose to transfer.
Surprisingly, despite all this, the goodwill that HD Ferries has built up in a relatively short time seems to be carrying the operator through this very tricky period. Take a look at their website and see how many messages of support have been posted. It seems that Condor's monopolistic position on the UK ferry route and subsequent high fares, rankles with many. I suspect that memories also linger of the demise of the much-loved Emeraude Ferries - caused in part by Condor's marketing muscle. Recent comments by Rob Provan, Condor's MD who suggested HD Ferries vessel was not designed to operate on the St Malo route, did not help.
The good news for HD fans is that, this afternoon, they announced that the resumption of services from this Saturday morning. Let's hope they can maintain the service without further problems. It is important to have competition on this route to keep prices low - but patience will run our eventually if the service suffers further delays or cancellations.

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