The petition states: “It's clear from conversations with fellow expats, chat on various expat forums and Facebook groups that many currently travel by car/ferry on the Portsmouth/Plymouth to Santander/Bilbao route. Upon arrival the Spanish authorities seem to be a law unto themselves, not interested in any kind of customer service. Given the choice people would prefer the ferry just to continue on to Portugal itself and cut out having to drive through Spain.
“Please Brittany Ferries, listen to the needs of your customers, provide a direct service. No preference as to where, anywhere on the south coast of the UK to anywhere in Portugal. Remove the requirement to transit Spain. Conduct a survey of your current passengers, find out their final destination”.
Algarve resident Scott Reid, who set up the petition, told The Portugal News: “We first started talking about a direct route between the UK and Portugal by ferry when Brittany Ferries announced that they were considering it when Portugal was on the green list while Spain was not. Speaking with friends who also used to use a ferry service to come to Portugal via Spain frequently, we thought that a lot of people use this to come to Portugal and started to wonder how many people on the ferry were actually not going to Spain at all but instead had Portugal as their final destination.”
With the changes in the travel restrictions Scott explained that the subject then died down but as a moderator on the British expats forum he noticed that subject was being talked about regularly. “I thought perhaps Brittany Ferries are not aware that there is a demand for the service and set up the petition with the intention of ultimately starting a route between Portugal and the UK but at the very least to ask the company to consider asking their customers where their final destination is, so they can see the demand for Portugal”.
“I got together with some friends and decided to launch the petition a couple of weeks ago and so far have shared the petition on the forum and amongst Facebook and Whatsapp groups while afpop have also shared the petition.
“I was hoping for maybe 100 people to sign it but it seems to be snowballing and now we are almost at 2,500 signatures”, said Scott.
Scott now plans to contact Brittany Ferries directly to present the petition to them and to ask them to consider the direct ferry link between Portugal and the UK.
“Lots of people are only travelling to Spain on the ferry because they have no other option. We are asking for Brittany Ferries to consider this route in the next year or so and at the very least ask their customers going to Spain what their final destination is”.
The Portugal News contacted Brittany Ferries to comment on the petition, Nigel Wonnacott, the group head of external communications said: “We’ve never run a route to Portugal. It was something we considered as government (briefly) moved Portugal to the green list.
“We continue to look at all options. But the company is in a highly precarious position at the moment, carrying around 25 percent of traffic this year. This dreadful figure confounding the 40 percent we carried last year. So your readers will understand why we have to be ultra-cautious about every decision we make.
“Completely understand why some passengers would like us to do it. And never say never. But it’s not in the planning at the moment,” he concluded.
The petition can be found here: https://www.change.org/p/brittany-ferries-restore-a-ferry-link-between-uk-and-portugal?redirect=false