| 15,000 Still on the Way for
Up to 15,000 passengers could still come to the Island
during the TT festival fortnight, according to Steam Packet figures. While
customers continue to contact the firm, preliminary statistics show that
between 12,000-15,000 passengers, 4,000 motorbikes and 2,500 vehicles could
still make the trip despite the races being off.
However, the company
has confirmed that the Lady of Mann will not be sailing during the fortnight.
The Steam Packet would normally expect to carry 35,000 passengers, 15,000 bikes
and 3,500 vehicles for the event, but the reduced numbers of travellers means
everyone can be accommodated by the scheduled sailings of the Ben-My-Chree and
the SeaCat fastcraft.
A series of special excursions from Fleetwood,
Llandudno, Whitehaven and Troon on the Lady of Mann prior to TT fortnight have
also been cancelled. Steam Packet managing director Hamish Ross, said: 'It has
been a difficult decision to withdraw Lady of Mann from its scheduled services
for the TT period.
'The shortfall in the normally exceptional traffic
generated by the TT races has driven us to make the only decision available to
us. 'We will still schedule in excess of 200 sailings by our other vessels.
This will provide spare capacity for the many travellers who will visit the
Island for an exciting TT festival planned by the Island's tourist industry in
place of the cancelled races.
'The Island remains open for business. We
remain upbeat for our season and committed to serving the Island and its
needs.' The criticism of the decision to go ahead with the festival without the
races is continuing.
Motor Cycle News columnist Kevin Ash said in this
week's edition: 'This is fingers crossed politics, and if it wasn't for the
misery, pain and suffering this disease causes you'd have to hope
foot-and-mouth got to the Isle of Man anyway.'
Some top competitors are
also believed to be angry about the situation and it is claimed some have not
received letters from the Steam Packet about the options open to them following
the cancellation of the races.
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