Save Independent Punting

The state of play

A brief synopsis of the current situation.

  • Maintenance work on the La Mimosa punt landing stage has been completed and it has been open since 12th May 2008
  • At present 8 of the punt operators offered spaces have taken up their allotted slots
  • 4 other operators offered slots did not complete the application process
  • The deadline to accept the spaces offered to independent punt operators was Friday 30th May 2008
  • The second and final installment of fees is due on 1st August 2008
  • In total, at present there are 9 ferry punts and 2 single punts licenced to operate from the landing stage
  • If the City council have offered the remaining spaces to other operators then none of these have been taken up and none of the tenants have taken up extra slots
  • The licences will cost £1000 per single and £2000 per ferry punt (+VAT)
  • There were additional costs inlcuding a £250 application processing fee
  • One additional person per punt is allowed ie, where one operator has 2 punts, they can have 2 extra people working with them - this is not currently being enforced
  • There will be a limit on the number of touts allowed. This will be 4 during the week and 6 at weekends - this is not currently being enforced
  • There will be restrictions on the areas where the independent touts are allowed. This will be an imaginary line across Quayside allowing independent operators no closer to Bridge Street than the toilets on Quayside - this is not currently being enforced
  • The planned pontoons, to increase the area available to operators working from the landing stage, have been put on hold indefinitely
  • Scudamores have been continuing to tout wherever they see fit and to use as many touts as they see fit
  • Indepenent punt operators who either did not apply for, or were not offered spaces on the pontoon continue to operate from the middle steps on Quayside

Given the above the worst case scenario could be potentially a situation could arise where 10+ individual independent punt operators are attempting to earn a living, only being able to tout 4 at a time (6 at the weekends) in direct competition with each other.

Not being able to venture past the middle of Quayside, they will miss out on the business in both the mornings and evenings and only get any business during the middle of the day. They will not be able to earn any money on their days off and will not be able to operate at full efficiency throughout the business day (in the height of summer this can extend from 9am until 10pm).

However, this is the worst case scenario and obviously contains much scope for improvement. Whether that scope will be provided is yet to be seen and is entirely in the hands of City council officers... The major change that is required in order to make the business model successful is to lift the zoning restriction on the touts, allowing both independent and Scudamore's touts anywhere on Quayside. So far this has been the case but Scudamore's have been lobbying the council hard and it would appear that the Council will soon start to enforce the restrictions on La Mimosa tenants.

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