Ferry wars are threatening to isolate the island of Vlieland
A price war between two competing ferry companies servicing the Dutch Wadden island of Terschelling is threatening to isolate the island of Vlieland as well.
Rederij Doeksen is the official ferry company that connects both islands with the mainland. In 2008 islanders of Terschelling, dissatisfied with Doeksen’s service, decided to start their own ferry company, Eigen Veerdienst Terschelling (EVT), which literally means Own Ferry Service Terschelling.
The Dutch government granted Doeksen a monopoly in 2011 (which was to enter into force in 2012) provided that Doeksen would guarantee a service throughout the year and not just in the summer, when tourists flock to the islands. EVT brought a case before the Dutch Trade and Industry Appeals Tribunal fighting the concession and in the meantime it charged 5 euro for a ticket to Terschelling whereas Doeksen originally charged 25 euro. Doeksen has lowered its rates to 4 euro, but now threatens to cut trips to Vlieland from three times a day to twice a day.
Vlieland’s inhabitants are not happy. Mayor Else Schadd (Labour) told Volkskrant on 15 July: “This is unacceptable. In the future if you want to go to the dentist, you will need to take the entire day off. Islanders who work on the mainland won’t get to their office before ten in the morning. And day trippers who want to visit us in the off-season will have to return home at five o’ clock.”
EVT’s case hinges around whether the Wadden Sea is a real sea or merely a whole lot of water, Veerbootinfo writes. In case of the former European law apparently gives EVT some breathing space.