By Will Lethbridge
Will was joined on The Morning Show recently by the Chief Executive Officer of the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company (ISSC), Rob Goldsmith to talk about wide range of topics topics.
Over the course of the interview Will and Rob discussed matters including the ISSC’s position with regards to another operator to Scilly, in the way of a helicopter service to the new initiatives they’ve recently implemented after conducting a major local customer service survey. Other subjects on the agenda were the progress of the Mali Rose and ISSC's Community Fund.
Will started off by asking Rob to clarify the company’s position when it comes to proposal to reinstate a regular scheduled helicopter service.
Rob said: “Technically it’s not actually an objection, its been noted as an objection but at no stage have we objected formally.
What we have said is we don’t believe the application should be determined in its current form because there is no detail about the claimed social economic benefits. There is no traffic forecast, no assessment of the impact, and the net impact benefits minus the losses of what is being proposed.”
Rob later added “We think it’s overly simplistic because it’s trying to portray the opportunity as all upside.”
Following on from this Rob spoke to Will about the feedback from the ISSC’s recent survey. Almost 1,500 questionnaires were sent out to adults living on the islands as part of the company’s biggest ever customer research survey. A total of 451 surveys were completed, a response rate of around 30%.
As a direct result of the feedback, the Steamship Group will be doubling the winter flight discount for all island-based Travel Club members. They will accelerate the roll-out of online Travel Club bookings, and will be setting up a consultative panel with residents.
Rob said: “We are still studying all the feedback and will use this to plan for future improvements to our services, but there are things we can do immediately. Two thirds of respondents said they would like to see more discounts on winter journeys so we are doubling the Skybus discount for Travel Club members to 30% until the end of the season.
We intend to re-introduce this enhanced level of air discount for next winter when the Scillonian III ferry completes her sailing schedule in early November.
Three quarters of Travel Club members also said they would like to be able to book their travel online, so they’re accelerating the roll-out of this facility on their website and hope to have it available before the summer."
Rob added: “We have been hugely encouraged by the positive feedback and while there are areas for improvement that we will be addressing, we are pleased with the general level of satisfaction with our services.
Certain activities, such as our freight service, are already in the process of review. There was also a very positive response to the idea of setting up a consultative panel to provide regular feedback about our services and 90 people have already put themselves forward.”
Rob also had a bit of an update for us on the Mali Rose, The Isles of Scilly Steamship Company’s new freight vessel which will be taking over from the Gry Maritha in the near future.
Rob Said: “The Mali Rose is obviously an integral part to improving our freight services. She came out of the dry dock at the weekend after a series of quite substantial works. We brought forward the 5 year survey works and plans from later this year into our work program to avoid disruption later on."
Later on Rob added: “That work has been undertaken and she’s now in the wet dock waiting for a new crane which will have a 12 and half ton capability.”
The crane is due to arrive in the next few weeks and once it arrives and any other final installations have been completed sea trials will take place.
Will and Rob also spoke about the ISSC’s Community Fund. Recently the ISSC donated £1000 to Five Islands School’s Football Club for new kits. We’ll be finding out more about the recent donation and the next round of funding through the ISSC’s Community Fund in the near future.
To find out more about the ISSC’s Community Fund please follow the link to the Isles of Scilly Steamship Company's Community Fund here. You can find the latest travel updates from Isles of Scilly Travel on Twitter @IOSTravelupdate and more information on Facebook at Isles of Scilly Travel. You can hear the full interview with Rob bellow.