HEAVY-HANDED criticism of Wightlink could damage the Isle of Wight’s reputation and put off tourists, it has been warned.
As previously reported, the ferry company’s cuts to late-night and early morning services have sparked a public outcry.
"There is no doubt we want to see lower prices and a more regular service but we have to be reasonably realistic," said Isle of Wight council leader Cllr David Pugh at last Wednesday’s full council meeting.
"But we need to be cautious about expressing our concern. We don’t want to send out the message the Island is expensive and difficult to get to. We need to keep talking up the Island as an affordable place to visit wherever we go, no matter how challenging the situation."
Transport cabinet member Cllr Edward Giles said Wightlink was a private company over which the council had no authority.
"We would all like cheaper ferry fares and it’s easy for politicians to jump on the bandwagon to generate a headline but you will not find the council doing that. We will do all we can but we will not give the impression the Island is a difficult and expensive place to visit.
"We will continue to talk regularly with the ferry operators and put forward residents views but ultimately they are a commercial organisation that needs to balance costs against revenue."