New bid to influence ferry companies

By Richard Wright

Friday, December 14, 2012


New bid to influence ferry companies

Julia Bridgeman. Picture by Robin Crossley.

A POWERFUL business group is to be formed to buy a stake in Wightlink or Red Funnel to put pressure on them to take into account Island interests.

In a letter to the Isle of Wight County Press Isle of Wight Council leader Cllr David Pugh this week announced a group would be established with the aim of buying a stake in one, or both, of the main routes.

"The Isle of Wight Council would act as a facilitator in looking for people who could bring something to the table to allow the Island to become a stakeholder in one or both of the companies, should the opportunity arise," said Cllr Pugh.

"The group, which will have a strong business background, will draw on local commercial experience."

Meanwhile, the Solent Ferry Users’ Group has been formed to give a voice to Island travellers.

It will be formally constituted at a meeting on January 14 with the aim of being both a pressure group and engaging with the ferry companies.

It was the brainchild of Julia Bridgeman, whose original idea was for the group to concentrate on the Yarmouth-Lymington route in the wake of service cuts.

But she said Wightlink, Red Funnel and Hovertravel users had all come forward and it was decided to extend the group’s remit to all routes.

Interim group spokesman Mrs Bridgeman: "The group aims to reach out to Islanders through many mediums, including established representative bodies, social media, open meetings and regular local publications.

"It also aims to engage with the service providers to ensure the voice of the individual can be heard more clearly.

"Anyone interested in being involved in the start up of the Solent Ferry Users’ Group can contact me at"



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Displaying the last 10 of 35 comments - Show All Comments

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by neil jacks

19th December 2012, at 14:10:38

tim. you are wrong. you may be a tiny bit better off financially but you would lose out in many other ways. You are wrong about crime figures too. I am not talking about the odd asbo here n there either. Stay as an island, protect your culture and heritage. Its still a good place to live.

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by Tim Brayford

17th December 2012, at 17:30:42

How would a fixed link improve my living standards? Like many businesses my material input costs would fall substantially. eg cost of the delivery by lorry includes not just the fare but also takes into account the extra time taken to actually get onto an available ferry, some people do not want to send goods here at all. Look on ebay you will see what I mean. Also a fixed link would make expanding to the mainland from an Island base more viable and that blight on many people working in the private sector of "Isle of Wight Labour rates" will disappear. Your comment about crime is simply not supported by published crime rates nor by insurance premiums that are based on these. Your figure of £ 150m for building a fixed link breaking even within 4 years, surely that makes far more sense the cost of constantly replacing & staffing the ferries.

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by neil jacks

17th December 2012, at 16:19:32

how will a fixed link improve your standards Tim. I cannot think of a way it will impove mine and the reasons are as follows. Increased traffic volumes on roads we all know barely cope with volumes we have now. Increased crime rate. (more people=more crime) Loss of island culture and identity Who would invest in a fixed link. Cost to build, lets say £150m. It might cost lets say it £20 each way to use it. If there were 5k uses per day. Thats four years before you start to see a return on your money. Lets not forget the infrastructure cost at both ends of a fixed link and you will start to see why A, it has not been done yet and B why it will never be done. This without taking into account the geotechnical problems of the region. No private investor could achieve a build of this cost with such a limited prospect of return. Pro fixed link people should give up and concentrate efforts on improving what you already have.

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by Tim Brayford

16th December 2012, at 13:35:41

The Island does not have, and probably will never have a ferry service owned by and run for the benefit of it's residents. A fixed link will bring the benefits of improved living standards and lower costs. Crime levels here are already comparable with nearby areas on the mainland - try asking your house insurers for an I.W. discount !

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by neil jacks

16th December 2012, at 09:24:28

Well said Alan Bennett.

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by Martin Heath

16th December 2012, at 04:56:50

Alan. Seconded. A sound and reasoned answer to the problem.

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by Alan Bennett

16th December 2012, at 00:16:53

There is only ONE answer. A ferry company run by the people of the Isle of Wight, FOR the people of the Isle of Wight. NOT feeding the pockets of shareholders in Australia, or anywhere else. Cllr Pugh and his minions can spout there rhetoric wherever and how often they like, but we NEED a ferry company that exists to help and serve US, not line the pockets of investors, wherever they live

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by neil jacks

15th December 2012, at 21:33:48

Alan,The youth of the island are in comparison well behaved to those in some areas. Car crime, Burglary and violent crime figures on the island are still some of the lowest in the country. Manchester is a long way to go to see a first class football match, bridge or no bridge. No your argument for a fixed link is weak and unstructured. Can you tell me where these opportunnities are for school leavers, or better education that a fixed link would bring that a rusty tub cannot?

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by alan naylor

15th December 2012, at 16:12:41

Mr Neil Jakes Yes I t would benifit the welfare of the I O W people by giving the people the choice of employment and how they wish to spend their leisure i.e. first class cricket and football matches first class thearters sporting events the horse race meeting ect ect ect not to mention the employment protenial for your young school leavers instead of a summer job changing beds for 4 pence hapne an hour with no future choice of education in which your record on the island is terrible I could go on and on but off course if and i d ont say you are are retired and like the simple life and part of the status quo or have a secure income then I can see your interest in keeping things the way they are ps the youth of your island is restricted to choice and that is why you have problems drinking vandles and as time go s on the simple life you seek may well come to an end

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by Dave Dawson

15th December 2012, at 15:17:12

Once again Councillor Pugh spouts drivel. Ill-informed rubbish as any one knows. Who is this powerful business group? Why, according to this article, would they want to act as philanthropists? What is their motive other than to invest money for a healthy return?

I wish the County Press would start acting like a newspaper and get the story behind the story and not just publish any old rubbish spouted by Councillor Pugh. What happened to journalism at the County Press?

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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