Waterway commuter services in Bristol look set to receive a cash injection just months after the previous owners brought in liquidators.
The Community Benefit Society is floating shares with support from the Co-operative Enterprise Hub to raise 250,000 needed to bring Bristol’s yellow and blue ferries into community ownership.
Bristol Community Ferry Boats Limited is the new company managing the five ferries which run regular time-tabled services throughout the city 364 days a year.
In November last year, the business’ previous owners called in insolvency practitioners, blaming the economic downturn and inclement weather as the reasons that the business would cease trading. At one point, the business had employed 30 staff at its head office near the city centre.
Mark Tucker, a founder member of the new co-operative, said there is now an opportunity for people to co-own and preserve the iconic yellow and blue ferries for future generations.
He explained: “The waterways are one of the City’s greatest blessings. The new community benefit society will have no bank debt, it is run by experienced ferry operators and the share price is set to encourage the widest possible ownership – we believe that this is the best possible foundation for sustainable success.”
Shares start at £100 to co-own the enterprise and returns of up to 5% per annum have been projected.