Mallon announces 12 month extension to expired Strangford Ferry Service SmartCard journeys.
The Strangford Ferry Service has continued to operate throughout the pandemic.
But because of the difficulties some drivers may have experienced with the service, Strangford Ferry Service SmartCard journeys which expired during Covid-19 lockdown restrictions March – July 2020 and 8 January – 6 February 2021 have been extended, on request, by one year.
Kellie Armstrong, Strangford Alliance MLA, said: “Following constituent representation to the Minister for Infrastructure, I have succeeded in securing a 12 month extension for ferry SmartCards. This means people will not lose money because they haven’t been able to use their prepaid card within the deadline.”
Kellie, who lives on the Ards Peninsula and uses the ferry regularly, said: “Common sense has prevailed. I am delighted the Minister took such swift action to rectify an issue causing frustration and costing some SmartCard holders money”.
This one year extension will also now apply to all SmartCard journeys that have expired during the intervening period between the two lockdowns (July 2020 – January 2021).
Minister Mallon said: “I acknowledge that many people have been avoiding non-essential travel during the lockdown periods so I have decided to extend by one year, the expiry date for all unused journeys that have expired since the start of the first Covid-19 lockdown period.”
In normal operation the expiry date of journeys on SmartCards can be extended by a year by purchasing a 20 journey top-up. SmartCard top ups expire in a year and are non-refundable, however, in practice when journeys on registered SmartCards expire the Ferry Service will, on request, refund the holder the difference between the full cost of journeys taken and the cost of the SmartCard top up so that people are not left out of pocket.
The normal rules will continue to apply for refunding unused journeys.
(Regular customers can avail of discounted fares through the advance purchase of “top ups” held on multi-journey SmartCards.
The minimum “top up” is currently 20 journeys.
The discount for a car and driver is approximately 57%. Customers are encouraged to register their card with the Ferry Service.