A few weeks back a small group of expats in the Algarve sat chatting. The subject of driving to the UK came up. Someone mentioned that a few months back, whilst Spain was on the UK's red list and Portugal was green, Brittany Ferries had considered sailing directly to Porto, rather than the current routes to Bilbao/Santander.
All of us around the table travel the route a few times per year, all of us would prefer a direct sailing to Portugal and we all recounted that anyone we'd met onboard their final destination was Portugal not Spain. Local expat, Scott Reid, took it upon himself to sound out others and so started a petition on change.org to gather people's thoughts. And so the campaign was born.
Initially it grew by the 10's as we shared with friends and family who also travel that route. Then it got picked up by AFPOP and a few others who shared with members/readers. The support passed 1000 signatures at the end of August, at which point Scott engaged with a few relevant contacts At Brittany Ferries. They're now aware of it and hopefully watching with keen interest, to gauge potential demand for such a service.
It's clear from conversations with fellow expats, and online chats on various expat forums and Facebook groups, that many currently travel by car/ferry on the Portsmouth/Plymouth to Santander/Bilbao route. Upon arrival the Spanish authorities seem to be a law unto themselves, not interested in any kind of customer service. Given the choice people would prefer the ferry just to continue on to Portugal itself and cut out having to drive through Spain.
Please Brittany Ferries, listen to the needs of your customers, provide a direct service. No preference as to where, anywhere on the south coast of the UK to anywhere in Portugal. Remove the requirement to transit Spain. Conduct a survey of your current passengers, find out their final destination.
As of September 3rd, the petion has grown to 2400 signatures. You can see the current results, or SIGN THE PETITION here: https://www.change.org/p/brittany-ferries-restore-a-ferry-link-between-uk-and-portugal