Ferries under scrutiny at meeting

By Martin Neville

Friday, December 6, 2013

 

SOLENT commuters and interested parties attended the first of two public meetings last night (Thursday), looking at the impact of cuts and high ferry fares.

The Cross Solent Ferries Scrutiny Task and Finish Group was established by the Isle of Wight Council’s overview and scrutiny panel in the wake of recent Wightlink cuts to late night and early morning sailings, as changes to ferry fares generally.

The committee, co-chaired by Cllrs Geoff Lumley and Paul Fuller, heard evidence from Julia Bridgeman, of the Yarmouth Ferry Users Group and Yvonne Williams, of the Hovertravel users group, who highlighted their experiences, concerns and hopes for the future.

Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner answered committee questions and submitted a comprehensive dossier, documenting his own efforts to have cross-Solent travel investigated by the Office of Fair Trading (OFT).

Presentations were also given by Isle of Wight Chamber of Commerce chief executive Kevin Smith, Isle of Wight Federation of Small Businesses chair Cllr Julia Jones-Evans, David Ballard of the Island Business Forum, and Steve Porter of the Island’s largest independent freight carrier Steve Porter Transport.

The two-hour meeting closed with representations from Alec Webb from the Isle of Wight Youth Council and Steve Butler from the Isle of Wight Association of Trades Councils, who repeated calls for a blanket £25 return fare for cars belonging to Island residents.

Bosses from the three cross-Solent companies — Wightlink, Red Funnel and Hovertravel — are set to attend the committee on Thursday, January 23 at 6pm, to be quizzed by councillors.

The public sessions have been arranged following a full council motion by Cllr Jonathan Bacon who expressed concern about the impact of service cuts and high ferry fares.

For more on this story, please see the Isle of Wight County Press on Friday, December 13.

Reporter: martinn@iwcpmail.co.uk

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by neil jacks

9th December 2013, at 16:09:04

Why would anyone want to build a bridge to the Isle of wight, we cant fill the ferries, we aint got any decent roads, no deep water ports.. ah hang on, have we got oil or gas, maybe from fracking?

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by David Blackford

8th December 2013, at 10:59:03

PS Bridge over troubled waters??

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by David Blackford

8th December 2013, at 10:58:24

Good. Hopefully we might got that topic of a beautiful big bridge going again

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by Steve Smith

8th December 2013, at 10:06:00

David, I'll repeat it again if it makes you happy! If the new Forth Bridge is costing over £1.5 billion for a mere 2.5Km surely a 5Km bridge will cost double (or more) i.e £3+ billion. Also at £25 per car it will take 40 million cars to recoup just £1 billion. Just how long is a long term investment? Every investor who put money into building the Chunnel lost every penny and you think they'll repeat that with a Solent link?

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by David Blackford

8th December 2013, at 08:34:32

Apologies for repeating my earlier contribution - but it has got lost at the bottom of the pile of correspondence on this subject - and I still advocate a lovely big bridge.
Bring on that bridge! - I'm sure some Sovereign Wealth Fund would see a return crossing charge of £25.00p. a good long term return on money invested. A bridge doesn't need the cost of ferry upkeep, crew pay, fuel or ferry terminals. - and maintenance of a bridge wouldn't be anywhere near the maintenance cost of boats.
Steve, I am certain that you are well over the top on your estimate of the cost of a Solent bridge. I am not in a position to give an accurate cost - but I suggest that your £3billion figure is "back of a **** packet" guess. Investors do not expect to recoup their money in the short term. - They look for a long term investment with very low risk.
Whoops I should have said cigarette packet - I was educated at a time when the word I used did mean a cigarette

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by James McAdder

7th December 2013, at 20:44:33

Colin Barton.

I did travel on ghe 9th November. I paid £38 return on that occasion. Wightlink introduce their new pricing structure and suddenly its £92 for the same crossing times.

You are incorrect when you suggest that nobody wants a bridge. There are plenty of people who would welcome one, and a great many of those are.

I will, however, concede that it probably will never happen. Largely because of the rampant parochial nimbyism that infests this island.

Take a stroll along Newport High Street. Pound shops and charity shops. This place is dying of strangulation, and it is the likes of Wightlink that ate doing the strangling.

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by alan naylor

7th December 2013, at 18:58:32

Dear Mr Smith the cost of a bridge across the Solent cannot be assesed by toll fees alone the revenue it would bring can be measured by what it will bring and that will be Employment and education both ways investment in the infastucture ie roads sewer system and most of all it will give the island people the freedom of choice which they now lack in this modern age over time will make the cost look like peanuts

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by Colin Barton

7th December 2013, at 18:48:44

Neil nobody wants to buid a bridge . Tha only time it would be usefull is to ship the ones who want it over to the mainland!

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by Colin Barton

7th December 2013, at 18:40:39

TRAINS RUN REGULARLY

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by Colin Barton

7th December 2013, at 18:39:06

Should have gone on 9th Nov then

Any views or opinions presented in the comments above are solely those of the author and do not represent those of the Isle of Wight County Press.

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