A new ferry service from Jersey to St Malo has had its first day of operation Thursday 15 March.

The car-carrying catamaran operated by HD Ferries has started in competition with Condor Ferries.

There has been no competition on this route since the collapse of Emeraude Lines in December 2005, and this new service is expected to provide a cheaper service.

HD Ferries managing director Chris Howe-Davies said competition should be healthy for passengers and he promised `value for money'.

In trials, the new ferry made the St-Malo-Jersey run in 40 minutes, and former Emeraude captains are reported as saying that this was the fastest they had ever crossed from St Malo to the Channel Islands. It also used 30 per cent less fuel than expected.

Mr Howe-Davies said that when Emeraude stopped, at least 100,000 people stopped travelling, and his ambition was now to win them back.

However, the vessel has been restricted to sailing in lighter seas than its rivals, Condor.

The new line already has 5,000 bookings up to September. Fares are from