Anger over loss of Friday evening ferries

A DECISION to scrap Condor's regular Friday evening sailings to France has caused outrage among its  customers.

A DECISION to scrap Condor's regular Friday evening sailings to France has caused outrage among its customers.

News of the ferry company's decision to move its 6 pm Friday sailing to St Malo to 3 pm angered passengers so much that they  bombarded the offices with letters, emails and phone calls of complaint.

The unexpected opposition to its new winter timetable forced Condor to yesterday move the sailing time to 4.30 pm - but customers have said that this is still not enough.

Condor Ferries managing director Simon Edsall said that a later 4.30 pm departure would force Condor to delay the arrival of its ferry from the UK via Guernsey so that passengers could transfer on to the France-bound ship.

'As in all these things, there is a degree of balance required and we hope that these revised timings offer something for everyone,' he added.

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Comments for: "Anger over loss of Friday evening ferries"

God's Mentor

There is a degree of balance required and as we have a monoploy this is what we are doing so like it or lump it - said a spokesperson from Condor.


What people do not realise is that during the winter months this will prevent visitors from both sides taking advantage of either day trips or long weekends.Condor must realise this will impact on both sides of the channel as vital cash from tourism is lost.They say that they will have to delay the UK boat but how did they manage to do things before?Having travelled in the winter for 4 years now i know that 80% of people prefer the later boat as they can work all day then leave for a relaxing weekend in France.

A 4.30 boat means you still have to check in at 3.30 with a car so what happens do you ask your kids to meet you down there...come on Condor do a realistic time for EVERYONE 5.30PM don't keep messing people around (thats one thing you are good at)


What control do the States of Jersey have over this company? Condor have no competition but abuse their lucky position by doing things like this. They are charging too much and furthermore their boats are always late because they fix them when it suits them. They have no thought of Jersey people at all otherwise they would put an extra boat on a Friday as they always did which would get the English travellers who pay less than us people back to England earlier.

Mrs Moyra Bromfield

What do you expect when there is no competition on the route. Surely they can organise things better than that. Until we retired we were regular travellers to St Malo and summer and winter the boat was very busy. They managed to have a late sailing other years so why not this year. Mind you come to think of it if they are delayed as long as they used to be people will still be able to catch the 4.30pm sailing at 5.30pm!


Missing Emeraude Jersey? They weren't that bad were they?


what service?

Pay top rates for bad service all summer long and you can lump it until next yeat. HD had problems with engines etc. and got told to clean up their act, We are now left to wonder whether McClean will do on anything about it, or drive his Bentley to the chevvy and jump on board one of his cronies gin palaces in the marina; paid for by paupers!.

Oh- Do remember to tighten your belts, it's not too good out there!


What a surprise, condor do what they like and the states of Jersey just sit there and do nothing!!!!! has our transport minister said anything? or is he too scared?

Bring in another company to compete.


Oh yeah, and don't forget the freight service they run! or as late it seems they can't run very well as it is always late!

Warren J

Just a thought, but perhaps Condor's decision is an attempt to work arround the now inadequate harbour facilities at Jersey, only two ramps, one of which is tied up two hours every morning and evening with the freight ferries. Port Congestion in Jersey is a contributory factor to operational delays.

Say what you like about Condor, but they have grown the business to a point where the infrastructure is struggling with the increased business.

The ignorance of some of these Condor bashing postings is unbelievable, with continual reference to the lack of competition. History well documents the fact that these routes do not support cometition, eveidenced by the fact that HD, BCIF and Emmeraude failed, and back in the 1980's SeaLink simply walked away from the route in the middle of high season.

Please do your research before posting comments !


yes I miss emeraulde a far better company.

They could handle the rough weather no problem

When the 2 were operating together to ST.Marlo emeraulde had no problem leaving on time Condor had to wait hours for the gales to abate.

They should never have been given both routes to uk and France as they cannot fit the 2 in together without good sailing times for passengers.

Remember they kicked up a merry storm when public wanted another company to compete with them to UK,and yet they were allowed to compete on the St.Malo route with emeraulde we all know the rest.

small person

It's not just about visitors - I know several people who live in France but work and live in Jersey during the week. Good luck to them telling their employers that they'll need to finish early every Friday.


I sometimes travel with my two daughters to Jersey from France. With this new timetable, I would have to have my daughters loose a whole day of schooling to be in Jersey for the Friday night. The only other alternative I have is to leave home at 5.30 in the morning on the Saturday and catch the early morning boat. I would then have to return to France on the Sunday evening boat which is at the acceptable time of 18.30 or later (Why can this not be done on a Friday if its ok for a Sunday?)

Also it should be noted that in the weekends leading up to Christmas there are no boats from France on a Sunday until 17.30 so no French day trippers for the Sunday markets that Jersey have to offer, this will really effect tourism to the islands as I know alot of people who would do this journey to stock up on English Christmas goodies tht are not readily available in France.

Indi Dignant

I complained to the States Department responsible and the response I received was that the service level agreement with Condor allows them to put on a minimm of 3 sailings a week to France in winter at times and days which is left for Condor to decide based on to quote "on operational capability and more detailed knowledge of customer demand". Condor have benefitted by no competition on the northern route since they saw off BCIF and none on the southern route during 2009 and 2010. Of course they are in business to make money and one has to remember that but the word "service" does come in to it and a proper service to locals is what they should offer and really be made to offer.

Indi Dignant

Warren - Condor went into competition with HD and in the past the ferry sailing north. I have heard that Emeraude's departure was nothing to do with the profitability of the route and if the situation had been handled properly when they had difficulties in Jersey they would not have gone. Who owns two of the freight ferries?

Perhaps Jersey should do its bit and help the company sail through the winter to France most days at convenient times with perhaps reduction of the harbour costs during winter as this is a service to the island however in reutrn the States should striclty monitor fares and make sure there are departure times to suit Jersey people and day trip opportunities for French visitors. There are also few special offers for people coming from France and it is costly for them.


This is all about maximising profit as Condor can take more passengers and cars for the Channel Islands route to France. If you take your car on it takes longer than on Condor 10 to get on and off the ferry. What is disgusting is that the The Rapide is so dilapidated,it should have been refurbished prior to being put into service. It is the most uncomfortable boat - the seats should have been replaced as they have had their day, the trays on the backs of the seats are falling off and if someone in front sits down then it is most likely hots drinks spill on your lap. It hasn't been running on time each time we have travelled to St Malo (which is on a regular basis) and no one has apologised for the delay. The Jersey car checkin generally only has two people issuing tickets which causes delays for cars to get on the ferry but on the other side in St Malo there are always 2 booths operating. It smacks of a low cost airline service but withour the low cost!


This is not Condor bashing but the TRUTH. If they have outgrown the facilities then speak to the States and get them to improve dont take it out on the travelling public!!!!

Reality is that there is a big difference in pricing between Jersey/France and UK /Jersey for eample:

1)Car +1 Weymouth to Jersey = £98

2)Car +1 Jersey to Weymouth = £115

3)Car +1 Jersey to France = £98

4)Car +1 France to jersey = E 108

Journey UK/Jersey = 3.5 Hours

Journey france/Jersey = 1.15 Hours


Car and 4 same day one way Dover/calais = Euro 60

I know we lve in an island and have a smaller travelling public and I dont mind paying a little more but

1)Sort the boats out (Mechanically)

2) Employ more staff at the harbour (We pay for it!!)


Truth is we pay more per mile/minute than anyone else so give us value!!!


yes things do need sorting out,people going to/from guernsey face far bigger problems, and i do accept volume to/from guernsey is smaller. but please dont use h.d. as an example, cheap yes, and nasty for sure. late, not running, stinking toilets. ect. ect.


Warren J : "Say what you like about Condor, but they have grown the business to a point where the infrastructure is struggling with the increased business"

How can they have "grown" the business when passngers have been down each year from UK and continent. Jersey's tourist industry is at its knees. Business travel down due to recession so where is the growth ?

small money

please bring back a french service, emmerude .

this is what happens with no competition on the route.

usual jersey way like it or lump it.

the smaller boats going from albert quay are better, sadly only good for foot passengers .

frequent traveler



I wholeheartedly agree with all the complaints made against Condor but would also like to add another! We bought a holiday home in Brittany last year and, as it required substantial refurbishment, we have been going back and forth to France on pretty much a weekly basis ever since.

In order to save money (ha ha) we have paid for the so-called privileges of being frequent travellers but what does this buy you? I've given up counting the number of times that I have tried to book a Friday evening sailing only to find that there are, supposedly, no seats available due to 'promotions' other words Condor clearly couldn't care less about those of us who spend on average circa £250 per week all year round, they're only bothered about the passengers who use their services during the summer months.

The biggest laugh is that on every journey we are 'thanked' for travelling with Condor.......I only wish we had a choice!


This is disgusting! We have only one major link with France and this is now being cut back to make it virtually impossible for working people to get away to France with their cars for the weekend without taking holidays from work.

I have family that live in France and go over 5 or 6 times a year. I cannot believe that I will now have to take 5 or 6 half days of holdiay just to get over to see my family.

Thanks for nothing Condor!

Even Greece has more efficient, cheaper and better running ferry services than Jersey.


Typical.. Condor overcharge, then put on bigger boats to make even more money but then can't maintain the flexibility to look after their most important asset, their passengers. Mind you they still haven't figured how to turn a boat around in under an hour and they obviously don't have to try as we have to either put up with it or not use them. Why don't they use a smaller boat off season, it would be more economically viable. We came back on the aptly named Rapide! last night and there was hardly anyone on it. Someone in the states must be getting a free ride or else Condor would have been investigated ages ago..


I have memories of Condor in the late 1990s, and in those days they were an absolute shower. Summer of '98 my now wife and her kids were 4 days late back from Jersey because the catamarans couldn't run and there was no Clipper. And my first trip over in November that year on the Havelet (which had just been taken out of mothballs) was a ghastly experience. The service has improved significantly since then.

That said, I'm unimpressed over the catamaran engine failures. That there was a major fault on all three boats is unfortunate, but part of good management is contingency planning - if something bad happens once and it takes weeks to fix, the aim is to make the mitigation easier and quicker the next time. An airline would be a lot faster to act if it thought that its fleet had engine issues.

Like others here, I think that the evening sailing decision is not in any way helpful.

But that is not the only unhelpful timetabling: the one that really hurts me is that the morning St Malo ferries are now running later (0900 departure, not 0845) and with the Rapide on the service, it's adding about 45-50 minutes to clearing the port at St Malo. Last time I did it, it was five to noon French time before I cleared the port gates. I travel regularly (I have elderly parents in France) and I have about a 370 mile drive to get there: an earlier start would really help.

It would be good to know, however, whether this <b>is</b> Condor, or whether there are other constraints being imposed by Jersey Harbours, Immigration, Port security etc. Perhaps the JEP should do some more research?

Indi Dignant

Sandra is not the only one to find sailings blocked. This has been a favourite ploy of Condor's for some while with sailings showing as full when actually they have a lot of seats. I believe this is because they are trying to get as many vehicles on as possible and are playing with weights and seating. However when they finally release the seats passengers have been put off going or have had the inconvenience of not being able to make firm plans. Condor do not appear to keep a wait list so I wonder how they know how many passengers they actually lose?

Peter Henderson

For the past 20 years I have regularly commuted to work from France to Jersey using Condor, Emeraude, HD and the one that almost sank some years back. There has always been plenty to complain about, its probable that ferry companies in general have a special department designed solely for the purpose of giving us stuff to complain about. Condor obviously feel the need to be needed and have created a timetable so we can beg them to sail an hour or two later and its working. Soon we will all pat ourselves on the back and praise Condor for seeing common sense. Then there is 2011 for more of the same and being close to retirement will miss it, what a shame. Remember though, that the less senior staff at Condor, particularly the crew are not responsible and do not need to be the subject of our upset, keep that for those that deserve it.


Im sure if there were operational restrictions for the timetable change (due to lack of ramp availability or similar), then Condor would have already announced this!

This is purely a bad management decision based on a flawed understanding of their customers needs and in an attempt to cut costs.

We already pay far too much for a second rate service. The very least that Condor should be doing is to try and give their customers a decent service with boats at the times that they are needed by the majority of the travelling public.


wake up states of jersey get rid of condor and there overpriced and shoddy service bring in to new ferry companies and let them compete for the service condor has had its day they are just taking the mick and getting away with it


When was the last tine you took a ferry from Jersey at 05:30? Or one back, at 20:00? Can you remember when you had a choice of 5, 6 or 7 sailings during peak periods? No? Think back to the early noughties, the Emeraude days, and thank your states for allowing competition.


You guys in Jersey are lucky with the sailings to France you get; If you think you're hard done by come and live Guernsey, Condors schedule is largely rubbish with a lot of sailings to France being tranship via Jersey, leave Guernsey in the morning, spend a day kicking around in Jersey then get on a boat to France at tea time to arrive in France at something 9:00pm, the best we get is one direct sailing a day, occassionally two. However like you guys we too have to put up with it!


Condor is a commercial enterprise and will always act in the best financial interests of Condor... No Islanders should expect anything else, especially when they have 'Route Monopoly'.

Both Island governments were party to this arrangement and have done little since to encourage others, unlike the financial support provided to certian airlines.

Key States members and their officials have once again shown themselves to be sadly lacking by their distinct lack of commitment to look after the best interests of those they are employed to serve and protect.


This just sounds like the Isle of Man Steam Packet Company, but then they do have the same owners.


A word of warning to the senior management of Condor......Listen to your customers after all we are your only source of income. With my wife being a Teacher, she is unable to take time off work to catch an earlier Ferry, as such say goodbye weekend trips to France for us, with this timetable.

Pip Clement

Laughably some people on here argue for dog eat dog capitalism and monetarist economics a devil take the hindmost attitude.

But when it comes to the ferry company they expect things to be run on almost a charity basis to suit their private convenience.

Welcome to the real world peeps!


I note from the States of Jersey website:

that on the 16th June 1998 the Jersey Transport Authority lodged au Greffe the proposition for the States to approve, in principle, that permission be granted to Condor Ferries Ltd to operate passenger & car ferry shipping services between Jersey and the UK.

The decision to have Condor (as well as Hoverspeed and P&O European Ferries) submit a tender for this permit was in response to the poor performance of Condor Ferries in operating the services in the summer of 1997. That poor performance had arisen because of technical problems, which produced frequent breakdowns & delays. These difficulties were compounded by the failure of the Company to provide the standard of customer care that is expected when dealing with passengers generally, and in particular those affected by the disruption of service caused by technical problems.

The Jersey Transport Authority was also concerned that, until a meeting with the representatives of the companies on 10th October 1997, Condor Ferries had not informed the Authority of the full extent of the technical problems. Throughout the summer the Authority had been assured by the Company that the technical problems had been dealt with, only for breakdowns & disruption of service to occur immediately thereafter. The Jersey Transport Authority was told by the Company in October it had taken various steps [which are listed on the states web page published at top]

Both the Jersey Transport Authority and the Tourism Committee received many letters from passengers, visitors & Island residents, complaining of the lack of customer care, and the inability of the company to handle the situation.

During 1997 the Tourism committee expressed grave concern at the service being provided and was fearful that it would have an effect on tourist traffic in following years. The Jersey Consumer Council also received many complaints about the service, including complaints from guesthouse proprietors in Poole.

In light of this, the Jersey Transport Authority received expressions of interest in the route from other shipping companies and decided to invite tenders for the route. The successful tenderer would be required to provide a service which would meet the needs of holiday makers and Channel Island residents, and to meet certain specifications laid down by the Island Authorities in respect of frequency of sailings, fares, standard of vessels etc.

(Again this full service level specification can found in Appendix A of the states web page published at top.)

In light of the frequent and delays and technical problems that have beset Condor Ferries this summer on both the UK & French routes as well as the large queues at check-in (which incidentally seem to be having a detrimental effect on the security measures for vehicles before embarkation) perhaps it is time that an investigation is taken into the service level agreements that have been assured by Condor for their ramp permit.


Its a fact sad but true ,there is enough car ferry business for one operator between here and France but not enough for two. unfortunately Condor is no longer owned locally so is only answerable to its shareholders, maybe the new director of the toothless JCRA should take a peek at Condor and its service level agreements.


Condor’s decision to remove the Friday evening sailing is going to greatly reduce the number of trips my family can make to France. Many people will not have enough holidays to keep taking Friday afternoons off or will be in jobs such as teaching that do not offer that flexibility. Education have also been campaigning for the last few years to discourage taking children out of school during term time and this is clearly going to encourage people to do just that. As a monopoly supplier of transport with a vehicle to France the JCRA or the States should intervene and force them to provide a suitable service as has been in place for 20 or more years.

Bronia Macon

Thank you Condor for consulting with your customers before changing the times to your ferry sailings! For most people with mobile homes and gites 1800 was a good time for them as they could work all day Friday and then go straight to the ferry after work. The new sailing times will mean that cutomers will have to take Friday afternoons off to be down at the check in by 1530.


I wouldn't worry, the boat won't actually sail at 4pm, it will only be running on one or two engines, we will get our 6pm sailing back.

J Simms

It's hard to sympathise with people who are only interested in leaving the island every weekend to use second homes in France. Public transport is public transport and whether a bus or boat or train, timetables can change. If you can afford a second home, perhaps you should look at investing in your own boat.


Hear hear J Simms!!


J Simms#40

I would suggest that if that’s the best you can contribute to this discussion, don’t bother.

Warren J

I am inclined to agree with #40 - Jersey is the place of my home and work and that is my decision. On average, I take 5 to 6 trips off island for holidays and to attend off island events and I realise that compared to some, I am very fortunate to be able to do so, and am thus happy to fit in with the schedules of the airlines and ferries.

While many complain about the cost of sea transport, there appears to be a significant number of people who travel off island virtually every weekend, and with this frequency of travel, I am not suprised that they encounter a number of delays.

Of my 5 trips by Condor this year, only one was delayed due to port congestion. As I have said previously, Jersey only has two ramps and the harbour facilities are stretched to the limit at peak times.


In Response to Number 40 & 41, You are presuming that it is a second home for these people and not the only home that they could afford without paying Jersey's inflated property market prices. The majority of the frequent travellers on friday live either with family or have something for their basic needs whether it be a flat, bedsit, or even just a room that sees them through the week Mon-Fri knowing that they have provided for their family in the best way possible with the cards they have been delt with.

NOT everyone can afford to have homes in more than one place.


Yet another forced change without consultation. It's so obvious that this is the most popular boat Condor run with passengers being able to work all day and make the most of a weekend away or go home to their families in France for the weekend. This change will eat into peoples leave and restrict these visits for those in jobs which do not offer this flexibility. I urge you Condor think again about your seasoned travellers and don't just rely on Summer tourists to bump up your profits.

PA Cresta

The comment at 40 doesn't really need a response because it is so preposterous. If it is serious, it shows inverted snobbery and ignorance of the worst kind. If that's not true, I'm a monkey's uncle's second cousin's husband's wife's milkman (twice removed) on my grandfather's side!

Sims Diesel

I wonder whether the agreement allowing Condor to come in contained anything about consultation or unreasonable conduct? If so, will it be enforced?


No 46 Like your style! Wish I could comment like that But I just get soo annoyed at some people

Thank You - NOT

OMG does the states not have any concern for all these comments lodged Condor dont so maybe someone else has to. I travel to France every weekend without fail to my partner, I cant leave work every Friday half way through the day and I put up with late sailings every week the transport minister should be addressing that one for starters.

We pay a lot of money for this under par service so sorry you people who say we shouldnt complain or want to get off the island every weekend i wasnt aware we were chained to the port here!! You also should be aware many of these people dont have a second home in France it is there only home as they cant afford to buy here. GET REAL STATES and do something for the little people for once rather than the fat cats.


PJG (42)

I would suggest that if that’s the best you can contribute to this discussion, don’t bother.

Sorry PJG, I am with J Simms#40.


Like it or not Condor is a company owned by shareholders and if they are fulfilling their contract with the States of Jersey they will obviously do what is best for their business.

This shows how vital Tourism is to the island and we have a chicken and egg situation. If we don't get more tourists we will have a drastically reduced service, if the service isn't to the tourists liking they will go elsewhere.


@40 J sims ,

A very off the cuff and uninformed comment if i may say, I know of personally of 5 guys , one is a colleague ,who were not able through no fault of their own to get on the property roundabout here and who made the choice to buy a home in France ( with a garden and enough room to swing a kitten at least )but with tongue now firmly in cheek maybe thats what " they " want , cant have all those french home owners doing their shopping over the water and not paying GST , lets make it difficult for them .

P.S. If i could sell my flat now for a fair price i would join them

PA Cresta

Cathy at 51, yes, Condor might be a company with duties to shareholders but, as a provider of a public service, that duty is to an extent subordinated to the company's duty to the public.

The relevant Minister (Maclean, I believe) is silent thus far. It would be interesting to know what particular agreement is in place regarding this monopoly organisation. There would have been a service agreement concluded with the States of Jersey (or the relevant then committee) when Condor was awarded the route so what does that agreement say? What provision is there with regard to unreasonable conduct and public objection? Will the Senator or indeed any other of our "representatives" tell us? The agreement would have been signed on behalf of the public of this island so why has there been no comment to date?


we have 4 ramps for ferries,have you forgoten the 2 in the main harbour paid by tax payers but not being used .? why can thay not be used any moor


What a shame all the posh dudes cant go home for the weekend!!..its agony aint it?


So? at 55; what has it got to do with the Parish of St Helier, then?

Indi Dignant

I think that if the bus time table changed so that workers had to be down at the bus station for 3.45, taking virtually an afternoon off work each week there would be an outcry and anyone so financially well of to be termed "posh dudes" are able to get off work when they choose or do not work at all. Most Friday travellers are ordinary and very patient people! Condor are very fortunate to have no competition and no control from the States when they exploit the situation. They are a company out to make money but they signed a "service" agreement. Shame on those that did not build approrpriate controls into this.

Mark Dawson

Just tried to book Condor overnight to Portsmouth mid-October. Found that the price of a cabin has gone up from about £80 this time last year to a massive £115! - a rise of nearly 50%. Is this taking the mickey or what? Will the extra funds raised go towards fixing the permanently broken "one engine' on the cat? - which seems to have been broken for about 10 years.

Regarding the France route - when Len Norman and his cronies gave in to greed and allowed Condor to take vehicles to St Malo some years ago, we were assured that "two companies are definitely needed on this route" By my calculation we're one short now, so will the States let us know what is being done to fill the gap? How much longer are we going to be at the mercy of Condor, Flybe, etc, who effectively constantly thumb their corporate noses at us?


wertfderyu #55

Took a little time but I got it in the end.

Thanks for the laugh.

I wonder if so? did ?

C Le Verdic

Port Out Starboard Home, P.J.G.

They like to watch the sunset (if the sailing times permit).

C Le Verdic

Who will be the first to point out my mistake?

Perhaps the poshies don't want the glare in their eyes after all.