First on/Last off
We do not actually operate a true "first on - last off" system but we appreciate that it seems that way sometimes! There are a number of factors and reasons and they are detailed below. We believe we load in the most efficient way possible to get the maximum number of crossings per hour, although we are always ready to listen to suggestions. Sometimes you appear to 'gain' and sometimes you appear to 'lose' but overall we get people across in the quickest average time.
From Torpoint, traffic arrives on the up-river side of the Ferry so we empty that side first ready to start loading as soon as possible and while the traffic still getting off (heading downriver) the down rivering the down-river side is then loaded last. Once we get to the Devonport side traffic ready to board is now waiting on the down-river side so we need to unload the down-river side first which are the people who were last to board and the first to board unfortunately tend to be last off.
The only ways to avoid this happening are:
a) At some point in the road system (on one or other side of the river) we would need to cross traffic over with a very complex lights system, fly-over or tunnel none of which we have.
b) If we emptied the ferry before loading the next set of cars we could get closer to a "first on/first off" system but if we did that it would take longer and we would have to reduce to three trips an hour instead of the current four. This would mean waiting longer in the lanes and resulting in bigger queues and big delays especially at peak times (a total of 9 trips an hour instead of 12).