Discussions on Forth ferry set to begin

TRANSPORT chiefs are set to enter discussions with interested ferry or hovercraft operators following a study into options for a cross-Forth service.

A report set to go before the city council's transport committee next month recommends testing the market following a three-year study by private consultants costing 500,000.

The consultants looked at various options and concluded that a half hourly service between Burntisland and Granton would be commercially viable. Another option likely to be explored is the potential for a Kirkcaldy-Seafield hovercraft service, following a two-week trial in summer 2007.

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Cllr Gordon Mackenzie, the city's transport leader, said: "The consultants' study has presented us with a number of interesting, and quite different, options and it is only right that we should go out to the market to assess the viability of each.

"Last year, Stagecoach tycoon Brian Souter said a cross-Forth hovercraft service would have already been up and running if Edinburgh council bosses had shown the same support as Fife.

A spokesman for Stagecoach said: "We will continue to watch the developments at local authority level with interest."