[T]he following statement was given at Cumbria County Councils Cabinet today by Cllr Janet Willis, Cabinet member with responsibility for Customer Services;
“Following the last update in July, today I would like to provide Cabinet with the final update on the Cabinet led review on Windermere Ferry and announce the publication of the report.
It was June when Council requested that Cabinet undertake this review. This followed a number of changes to operations, which with hindsight, although well intentioned did not follow the high standards of consultation and implementation we like to hold ourselves to. For that, let me stand here today and sincerely apologise. This ferry service is not just for tourists, but an integral part of the daily commute for many locals, and we did not give them the consideration they were due.
The report which will be published later today on the Windermere Ferry page, is thorough and details step by step the decisions taken and where our processes went wrong. Plus actions we took quickly to improve the situation and the next steps ahead. I wont pre-empt everyone’s enjoyment of the report by revealing too many of its findings – but suffice to say that Storm Abigail and Desmond have a lot to answer for, in this regard diverting out hard working team of officers from implementation of the new Windermere Ferry payment system, to flood recovery work. This is where it started to go wrong.
I hope people will agree with me that we have done a lot since then to make things ‘right’. We’ve listened, improved signage, simplified the ticketing system and provided extra capacity via additional ticket machines and staff to assist. Id like to take this opportunity to thank our officers who have worked hard to get us to this position today, from the ferry operatives on the ground to the ‘secret ferry shoppers’ and especially Mike Smith who has done a huge amount of work, not least in writing the report.
The request to Full Council in June was “to identify a payment solution which is swift, secure and available on board whilst also safeguarding the income which the ferry generates”. I hope people will agree we’ve achieved this. But let’s keep on talking and ensure that this community asset keeps its community at the heart of all it does.”
The report is now available at Cumbria.gov.uk.