I understand that Hampshire County Council has effectively given up trying to find a company to take over the ferry.
There were a lot of companies interested in the possibility but, inevitably, they needed a firm commitment of a subsidy to make the route profitable. Portsmouth has maintained its stance that it won’t subsidise the ferry. Even if it were to change its mind I suspect – but do not know – that the authorities would be reluctant to provide adequate guarantees to ensure companies could cover their costs.
The ferries are also an issue. I understand that there is a legal dispute over the cost of the refurbishment and repair work done in the past year which means it’s unlikely they could form part of any service for the time being.
Its depressing but not surprising news. It seems the only way forward is for someone to come up with an innovative approach for a low-cost service that would be both useful to the public and acceptable to the various authorities.