Key Ferry Cruises, which operates the popular river trips in
Peterborough, has announced ambitious plans to build a new 60-seater
passenger boat. It would incorporate ramped access for wheelchair
users and people with mobility difficulties, together with a
disabled toilet and lowered panoramic viewing windows. Other
facilities will include flexible seating arrangements, an
all-weather saloon, open-air deck, licensed bar and galley.
The news is released following
a recent article in the Evening Telegraph
about improvements to the Embankment area. Owner Bob Currell
(Captain Bob to his guests!) told the ET, “There is a real momentum
gathering pace around improving the Embankment area. It’s still
early days on this project but it seemed appropriate to let people
know where we’re at with it.”
According to a recent survey, around
half the population enjoyed recreation on or near water during the
previous 12 months (1). The mental and physical benefits of water
based activities are well documented, and with an ageing population
it’s widely agreed how important it is to enable access to
facilities for as many people as possible who want to enjoy those
For many years now, thousands of
passengers have been enjoying trips on board ‘Mandolin’, the firm’s
existing boat, based at moorings next to the Key Theatre. Social
clubs, organised groups, private parties and business users all find
it an ideal venue for a whole host of diverse events.
However, anyone who cannot manage
stairs is unable to benefit, since 2 steps up and 5 steps down have
to be negotiated to enter the passenger saloon. The boat does not
have disabled access and is physically incapable of accommodating
the lift and toilet that would be required.
‘Mandolin’ was built over 20 years
ago and she remains in all other respects a lovely boat. She could
carry on for perhaps another 30 years or so as she is – but, of
course, without disabled access.
Funding for a new boat is a major
issue, with around £100,000 having to be raised. “We have produced a
detailed briefing paper,” explains Capt. Bob, “ and are now looking
into grants and sponsorship deals that may enable the vision to
become a reality. We would, of course, welcome any approaches that
It seems that the possibility of
river trips for mobility impaired people is at an interesting point.
It could happen very soon - or not at all for 20 or 30 years.
March 2007 -
Peterborough UK Community Website