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
"Upon arrival the Spanish authorities seem to be a law unto themselves, not interested in any kind of customer service."
Or more likely, disgruntled Brits who now find they are subject to immigration and customs procedures on arrival in Spain from the UK that they weren't previously, because of Brexit, but thanks to Schengen/EU membership, can then drive effortlessly from Spain into Portugal.
If there was a direct ferry from the UK to Portugal, I hate to be the one to tell you, but Portugal would have to impose exactly the same process on arrivals as Spain does. Don't complain about "customer service", you're not customers, you're outsiders entering their country. As a British person with a non-UK wife I can attest that the UK authorities are far, far worse in the shabby way they treat people.
Britain voted for Brexit and the government there decided it was going to be a hard Brexit. No EU country has any obligation to drop whatever inconveniences that poses for British people, because I guarantee Britain and the people who voted for it are doing their best to make life as difficult and unpleasant as possible for EU citizens.
By Paul from Lisbon on 03 Sep 2021, 10:07
With covid a ferry journey would be much more preferable than a flight. Lets have a ferry.
By M. Ramsden from UK on 03 Sep 2021, 10:25
Well said Paul.
By Trevor from UK on 03 Sep 2021, 16:01
About time there was an alternative to flying, not everybody likes it.
Southampton airport is a joke, and bournemouth ,mmm you know ,must try harder !!! All my portugese friends head straight to london airports .
By mr philip j williams from UK on 03 Sep 2021, 18:30
It seems a particularly odd time to push for a ferry service from the UK to Portugal. As the UK is struggling mightily with Covid and Portugal is trying to overcome the economic hardships this pandemic has created, we certainly have no need for an influx of infection during this critical time.
It seems like the priorities for the advocates are backwards.
By Philip Weingrow from Lisbon on 03 Sep 2021, 18:44
The fools who voted for Brexit are now only beginning to pay the price & put children & grand children will continue to do so.
It makes me sick.
NOT IN MY NAME!
By DERRICK LOUDEN from Algarve on 03 Sep 2021, 18:49
If Brittany ferries doesn't come up with a link between UK and Portugal. Then it's time for the Portuguese ferries to come up with their own link between UK and Portugal to help the British expats, and Portuguese travellers, alike. This should teach the British ferries a lesson by taking away most of their travellers and business, May the Portuguese ferries consider this.
By Tony from Other on 03 Sep 2021, 22:22
100% agree with Paul. I witnessed lots of whinging Brits in Madeira last Monday when they had to move to the longer non EU queue at passport control. As I said to them" you voted to leave the EU so you could " take back control " , so get over with it and enjoy your control". Will get my Portuguese passport next year hopefully and will really enjoy Karma!!!
By Robin Watson from Madeira on 04 Sep 2021, 00:27
Try to convince them to continue to Madeira PLEASE.
By Susan MARLOYEJAMES from Madeira on 04 Sep 2021, 10:35
Stop. !!!!!! Us Brits should stop all this moaning & grumbling. When will we learn it was us who wanted to come out, not the other way round. So don't expect any change learn from our mistakes. We have become a small fish in a large pound. !!!!!!
By James from UK on 04 Sep 2021, 14:46
When I first came to Portugal in 1969! I came by ferry. There used to be a ferry between Southampton and Lisbon. Them it took 2 days but was a spectacular way to see Lisbon.
By Gay Adamson from Beiras on 05 Sep 2021, 09:43
We were disappointed when we learned the ferry service wasn't coming, but it would be too soon for Brittany Ferries to risk the expense. It remains to be seen the numbers who will come from Britain, post Brexit, even after the pandemic controls are eased. The UK economy hasn't even begun to feel the brunt of Brexit damage yet and the number of people who can afford any holiday next year, let alone a foreign one, is likely to be well down. As for those of us travelling in the other direction, I think there will be limited appeal there too
By Helen Higgs from Other on 07 Sep 2021, 15:04
Please no! Where is the ‘anti-ferry’ petition?
By Green M from UK on 08 Sep 2021, 10:51