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Island21 Concerned By Horse Tram Changes


Charles Flynn

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Island 21 concerned by horse tram changes

 

At its Annual General Meeting, the island’s sustainability forum Island 21 expressed dismay at changes to the horse tram service proposed by some Douglas councillors. Citing the horse tram not only as a vital part of the island’s heritage but also an excellent example of green transportation, the committee felt that the Corporation should be looking towards additional marketing rather than service reductions to address the £270,000 deficit accumulated by the service over the last year.

 

In particular, the committee explored a range of ideas including corporate sponsorship of individual horses, a range of horse tram souvenirs that could be sold onboard and via a souvenir shop at Derby Castle, and extensive promotion of stable visits.

 

“The suggestion that losses could be stemmed by introducing a non-stop end-to-end service is frankly absurd,” said committee member Richard Falk. “As a season ticket holder and regular tram user, it is clear to me that many journeys are made by tourists from the Sea Terminal or Derby Castle to their hotels. A non-stop service would lose all these revenues and prevent residents who live on the promenade from making full use of the service. As a marketing specialist, I would be happy to work with the Corporation to take the service to the next level, and failing that call on the Minister for Tourism and Leisure to take over this unique service before the Corporation’s mismanagement loses it forever.”

 

Island 21 chairman Charles Flynn, a former horse tram conductor himself, agreed. “With only two working horse tram services left in the world, we cannot afford to be complacent. Throughout my life, the horse tram has been an intrinsic part of the island’s unique Victorian transport system and one of its major attractions for visitors from around the world, and its loss or degradation if simply unthinkable. The horse tram may never generate a profit, but with effective operation and marketing I believe losses can be significantly reduced – and you can’t put a price on heritage.”

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