Guernsey Press

Condor pulls Cherbourg from summer timetable

Guernsey’s ferry route to Cherbourg is being scrapped as part of a rethink of this summer’s ferry timetable.

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Condor Voyager leaving St Peter Port Harbour. (Picture by Sophie Rabey, 33160088)

Customers are being contacted about the changes, with many finding their ports changed or departures moved by hours.

But it will not be until the end of the month that all changes will be confirmed.

Condor has stated the changes aim to improve timings, increase inter-island connectivity and benefit inbound tourism.

Christophe Mathieu from shareholder Brittany Ferries took over as Condor’s interim CEO last month and announced the upcoming schedule would be changed to offer a ‘consistent high speed and conventional ship schedule’.

Mr Mathieu said that the changes bring consistency and familiarity, which he believed would be welcomed.

‘Over the last couple of months I have taken a fresh look at Condor’s operations and it has been evident from passengers and freight clients that they prefer better-timed services, so this is being reflected in the updated schedule being introduced,’ he said.

Condor said that more than three-quarters of passengers were unaffected or are being notified of a minor one or two-hour time change. It said its new timetable will feature more convenient timings for both freight customers and passengers.

‘We are aiming to have all timetable changes implemented and all passengers contacted by the end of this month,’ a Condor spokesman said.

‘This would be for travel up to the end of October.’

It is understood that schedule changes have been completed to the end of June.

There has been a backlash against the plans from travellers. Many had booked their plans far in advance and then scheduled holidays and accommodation around their ferry plans.

Some have complained about afternoon sailings moving to the early morning, meaning what had been a morning drive to the port had now resulted in people having to drive to the port the night before and pay for accommodation.

In other cases, people travelling to Cherbourg were now going to St Malo, resulting in onward railway journey now longer being possible.

Condor said that its customer service staff had been working hard to respond to queries from customers, and Mr Mathieu said that they had expected some customers to be unhappy.

‘Given that schedule change causes disruption, regrettably some complaints are inevitable,’ he said.

‘We are sorry for those who have been affected and in particular for any miscommunication that may have occurred and are working with passengers individually.

‘We believe the majority of islanders, passengers and freight users will, though, benefit in the medium to long term, notwithstanding understandable concerns from some raised in the immediate aftermath.’

The Tourism Management Board said it had not had time to examine the changes.