Will we spot the hovercraft among the sailboats?

This hovercraft travels from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight. Phot courtesy of portsmouth-guide.co.uk.

This hovercraft travels from Portsmouth to the Isle of Wight. Phot courtesy of portsmouth-guide.co.uk.

On Wednesday, the possibility of a hovercraft as a means of getting people from Bedford to Halifax was proposed.

Mayor Peter Kelly discussed the idea with Jay Hasson, a local businessman.

Although at its initial stages of discussion, the hovercraft would involve a private firm investing capital and gaining revenue.

In an online interview with the Bedford Beacon, Bedford Councillor Tim Outhit thinks “that it is an exciting opportunity, worth objective investigation.”

The hovercraft would travel faster than a regular ferry. It is estimated that it would take a hovercraft approximately eight minutes to get from Bedford to Halifax. A regular fast ferry would take a minimum of 15 minutes.

According to Outhit, a hovercraft would “require less infrastructure such as terminals, be up and running sooner, require little to no capital investment by HRM, and the service could be up and running in time to ease the anticipated traffic congestion from the Fairview overpass construction.”

But Outhit also pointed out that hovercrafts are “noisy, fares are yet to be determined, there are parking concerns as there is presently no second access road to our waterfront, and the park & ride and shuttles from the new 4-pad arena are not yet finalized or available.”

Hovercrafts are permitted to travel faster due to the fact that they cause less wake. Speculating, Outhit adds that it “would be interesting to see if additional stops could be added while keeping the trip quick. Adding Burnside and Rockingham (for example) to the service might make it more viable and promote more two-way traffic.”

Wikipedia (The Free Encycolpedia) describes the hovercraft (a.k.a. air-cushion vehicle, ACV) as “a craft capable of traveling over relatively smooth surfaces supported by a cushion of slow moving, high-pressure air, ejected against the surface below, and contained within a “skirt.” Hovercraft are used throughout the world as specialized transports. Because they are supported by a cushion of air, hovercraft are unique among forms of ground transportation in their ability to travel equally well over land, ice, and water. Small hovercraft are used for sport, or passenger service, while giant hovercraft have civilian and military applications, and are used to transport cars, tanks, and large equipment in hostile environments and terrain.”

For now, the idea of a hovercraft bringing people back and forth between Bedford and downtown Halifax is just an exciting possibility.

Or perhaps in the not so distant future Bedfordites will be able to head downtown in eight minutes and not have to deal with traffic-related delays.


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