You Got The Love The Source/Candi Staton
It could soon cost more to go punting on the River Cam, as a congestion tax is imposed on wide punts.
The Conservators of the River Cam, who manage the river in Cambridge, are putting the price of registration for larger boats up from £806 to £1,040.
The bigger punts, which are more than six feet wide, can carry up to 12 passengers per trip, compared to five people in normal three foot wide punts.
It means operators can earn around £150 an hour running trips on the bigger craft.
However, it's now claimed that the wider punts are too difficult to manoeuvre, which is adding to congestion and tensions between punters on the River Cam.
To try and deter operators from running too many of the six feet wide punts, registration fees for them have been increased.
Punt operators are claiming this cost may now have to be passed on to customers.
Deputy river manager Jonathan Wakefield said: "It seems there has been a proliferation of these punts over the last few years.
They have caused increased congestion and made it more difficult for people to enjoy the river on weekends and in the summer."
However, James Mcnaughton, director of the Scudamore's, disagrees, and said: "The rise amounts to a 45 percent increase in one year.
I believe it is unfair and the logic behind it is flawed.
Where's the consultation? There hasn't been one. One specific river craft is being singled out for punitive measures."
Punting is a major tourist attraction in Cambridge, and around 300 punts are licensed by the Cam Conservators for use on the river.