Very low numbers on Dublin - Isle of Man sea route

Discussion, observation and sightings of ships, shipping operators and other matters, primarily around Ireland, but also abroad.
Bus tuaithe
Full Member
Joined: 20 Mar 2009, 21:28

29 May 2012, 23:11 #1

The publically available figures show that only 9,067 passengers in total (i.e. foot & vehicle) travelled on the Douglas-Dublin-Douglas sea route last year giving a circa 30% drop on the previous year. The Belfast to Douglas route figures were much better - nearly double those of the Dublin route.
Only a decade or so ago numbers between Dublin and the Island were in the high thirties (thousands) well ahead of Belfast.
What has/is going wrong? Air travel initially comes to mind but Belfast also has air transport to/from the Island and hasn't seen this "off the cliff" drop. Currency rate may be a factor but there's been up and downs in the conversion going back to the days of the punt. Recession also a factor but everywhere is afflicted. The Island sells itself reasonably well and was at the Holiday World exhibition and I've seen ads from time to time in the media.
Interestingly the sailing schedule for much of the Summer (generally Tuesdays) lends itself to going Dublin - Liverpool via Douglas in 7 hours for a foot passenger fare of €39 which isn't bad.
Schedule ex Dublin: 10.45 arriving Douglas 13.40hrs.    Check-in again by 14.35 at very latest to sail at 15.00hrs arriving Liverpool 17.45hrs.
Unfortunately it doesn't really work in the reverse direction.
Maybe these numbers are but a "blip" but it doesn't look that way. If these low numbers continue over the next few years one could reasonably ask the question if the route will end up being discontinued.     It would be a shame for this happen.
On the bus side of things I understand the vessel can take coaches so why is that no operators here seem to be offering coach trips to the Island? (there's plenty of coach trips from here to pretty much most of Wales, England and Scotland).
Last edited by Bus tuaithe on 29 May 2012, 23:34, edited 1 time in total.

Full Member
Joined: 21 Apr 2003, 17:23

31 May 2012, 16:01 #2

Speaking from a personal point of view the main problem is the fact that the boats go so infrequently. Several times I have hoped to go over to the island but there is no boat running or if it does then its impossible for me to get one back! You can't do a day trip or even go for a weekend. In fact only this week several members of my family wanted to go over for a funeral and we can't because there is no viable way of getting there.

Air fares to the Isle of Man are pure extortion, for the distance involved they must be among the most expensive air fares in the world. For this reason alone the boat service could gain many more passengers if a realistic timetable was in place. Its like a catch 22, they don't run the boats because passenger numbers are too low but they are loosing potential passengers hand over fist by not running regular boats!