FALMOUTH'S innovative Park and Float scheme has a record year but is under threat due to "unworkable" new maritime legislations.
The new rules mean that skippers of the boat service, which runs from Penryn to the centre of Falmouth, will have to train longer to make the 2 mile river trip, never more than 400 yards from the shore, than an astronaut does to go into space.
Tim Light, managing director of Cornwall Ferries which operates the Park and Float, said if the regulations remain as they are, it could mean an end to the service.
"The legislation stipulates that skippers of all services throughout the UK must complete a 360-day training period before they can run such services as we do. Bearing in mind we only operate for four to five months every year, I've worked out that they will have a four year training period before we can run the service. This is more training than is needed for an astronaut to go into space!
"We are desperately rallying around - with the help of our local members of parliament - to encourage the Maritime and Coastguard Agency (which has imposed these national guidelines) to come up with some sort of transitional arrangement which can be put in place to avoid a four year training period," Mr Light explained.
This year has been the best ever for the Park and Float/Ride since it opened in May 2003. Just over 17,000 cars and 72,000 passengers used the Falmouth Park and Float/Ride -a 56% increase on the last year.
Operations manager, Garrick Royle, believes better signs sending visitors to the car park rather than the congested town centre; and poor weather in the summer which encouraged visitors to the shops rather than the beaches; have been contributing factors in the increase.
He went on to explain that the reduction in cost for using the park and ride aspect of the scheme, plus the completion of Events Square also gave passengers a much more positive experience.
"During the busiest periods the dedicated single deck bus had to be replaced with a double decker and instead of using the Green Bank and High St route the bus had to go to and from the Moor. Next year, to try and improve the opportunity for the High Street traders and to encourage visitors to do a bit more walking, we are considering putting a bus stop at the top of High St as suggested by Councillor Michael Varney, the town's mayor."
Mr Royle also said the company is considering offering a service for commuters with transport services starting at 0730 and finishing at 1830 to help reduce town residential parking issues. If you are a commuter and would like to park all day for just £2 including free transport or have any other suggestions, please get in touch with company on 01872 861910.