Plans for a water taxi in the Forth have been sunk after a feasibility study revealed there is “limited scope” for the service.
Kinross-based consultants Campbell Macrae Associates were commissioned by Fife Council to look into the possibility of a water taxi service along the Forth coast between Kincardine and Crail.
After speaking to existing operators and harbour managers, they found tidal constraints, lack of infrastructure and the challenge of making such a venture financially viable stood in the way.
“Based on the research and consultations, the report concludes that there is only limited scope for a water taxi service as envisaged at the outset,” said Campbell Macrae Associates in the feasibility report.
“This is primarily based on tides and the limited access at most Fife Forth coast harbours but also influenced by the current lack of supporting infrastructure and the restricted roads access to and around many harbours.
“The distances involved, the fuel costs and the weather also contribute to making the water taxi concept an unattractive commercial proposition for owners, managers, operators and passengers.
“The state of repair of some harbours and piers and/or the significant costs to facilitate safe passenger access are considerations at some locations.”
It had been hoped the water taxi could be introduced as a means of boosting tourism in the area, while easing congestion on the region’s roads.
Despite the report, the council has not given up on the idea, with hope remaining a private operator may still take the service forward.
However, the report said of the six operators currently offering ferry services on the Forth, “none of these were enthusiastic about the water taxi concept”.
Councillors on South and West Fife Area Committee will discuss the feasibility report when they meet on Wednesday.
The consultants have made recommendations, including that Fife Council explores other options for encouraging travel by boat along the Forth.
These include making the most of a possible cruise ship hub at Burntisland, with councillors last year approving £25,000 towards a study into the potential for the town to host large liners and the passengers who would disembark.
The council has also been encouraged to discuss developing the Forth Ferry initiative between Anstruther and North Berwick, to provide a more frequent service.
Confirming the local authority had not ruled out a water taxi being introduced in the future, a council report to the area committee concluded: “While the current position is that there is not an opportunity to develop a water taxi service, a collaborative approach to developing the area’s tourism assets and developing a year-round tourism offer may help to develop an opportunity for the private sector to take such a taxi service forward.”