Plan to axe ferries will isolate Island, MP warns

By a County Press reporter

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

 

SERVICE cuts by ferry company Wightlink have prompted Isle of Wight MP Andrew Turner to seek a meeting with Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Vince Cable.

Wightlink boss Russel Kew said last week that redundancies and cuts to late night services were necessary due to financial pressures.

In a statement on his website Mr Turner said today (Tuesday): "We have been constantly told fares are high because they subsidise loss-making, overnight services.

"Well surprise, surprise! Wightlink has not announced fare cuts to compensate for the loss of those services.

"Islanders need ferries to access hospital and other health services, work and business opportunities and education, as well as to keep in touch with family and friends; the public are absolutely right to be concerned.

"These changes will end the possibility of an evening out on the mainland and make the Island even more isolated."

Mr Turner said he hoped to raise the issue in the House of Commons.

It is not the first time Mr Turner has challenged the ferry companies, having led a campaign in 2009 calling for the Office of Fair Trading to investigate the issue of cross-Solent travel.

Mr Turner said: "The ferries are private companies and can change their prices or services at will, with no consultation or consideration of the economic or social impact on the Island and Islanders.

"That is why I want to talk to the Secretary of State about the wider issues. I have also written to various organisations asking for their views and would especially welcome hearing from Island businesses with details of what these changes mean for them."

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Displaying the last 10 of 33 comments - Show All Comments

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by Carla Johnson

16th November 2012, at 10:29:15

I was on the ' underused' 23.15 from Portsmouth Harbour last night, along with at least 50 other people. My better half was on the 23.15 the previous night, along with many others who had been to see Motorhead at the Guildhall. Empty? More Staff than passengers? Hardly!!
I have asked Wightlink for the numbers which support the assertion that these services are those which carry the fewest number of passengers' but have been told that the information is not for public distribution.
Come on Wightlink, at least let your paying customers see what your decisions are based on.

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by Graham Stubbles

15th November 2012, at 15:02:36

In addition, I understand the scooter boys and girls are 'boycotting' their annual weekend this year, a massive part and annual boost for the island's economy etc. The reason..........they are sick and tired of having to pay the quite ridiculous ferry prices to get here. It is cheaper for them to take their 'business' elsewhere. When will it stop?

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by Graham Stubbles

15th November 2012, at 14:58:49

Example - Many of us go to London for football, concerts or theatre. The first available train gets in to Portsmouth at 0007am, just in time for the 0015am ferry. Now the only available ferry is 2359pm! So we miss it. Do we have a 1.30am option? Of course not, that has gone too. So 3am is the only option. 1 ferry between 22.15pm and 3.00am. Disgusting. Will WQightlink consider moving the 23.59pm to 00.30am to at least alleviate that issue? Don't be ridiculous, that would be too sensible! I assume Wightlink will be laying on transport from Fishbourne to Ryde too so their 'customers' can access other parts of the island.......oops I forgot......that would be providing a service! As much as it would still be daylight robbery considering the already ridiculous prices, have Wightlink considered keeping the late night services going and introducing a 'surcharge'? Of course not. At least we would then have an 'option'. We are sick of pathetic excuses.

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by Tim Brayford

15th November 2012, at 09:46:21

If Wightlink are genuinely in financial difficulties as these proposed curtailment to their service suggest what happens if they cease trading?
Are there any contingency plans in place to keep the ferries running if this happens?

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by shane randall

14th November 2012, at 21:43:04

I am not surprised that Wightlink want to cut ferries. After all surely this is because of the higher price that Wightlink charge, this being their own undoing. i went to book a ferry a week ago, day night away with Wightlink was going to be in the region of £60, where as with Red Funnel this was £35, bearing in mind that Red Funnel route is a longer route.
Surely it would make better sense for Wightlink to charge cheaper prices and get full boats, thus being able to keep the services running, than to charge higher prices not have a full boat and cut services.
in my mind, it makes better econimical sense to be cheaper to get the business.
just my thought

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by Mike Crowe

14th November 2012, at 20:42:35

Alan, how about visits to and from family members?

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by john pole

14th November 2012, at 20:31:04

Wightlink prices,DISGRACEFUL

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by alan naylor

14th November 2012, at 20:11:20

cannot understand why so many people want to get off the island anyway them in prison yes but not the residents with so much social life there going on

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by Tim Brayford

14th November 2012, at 19:46:38

The long term solution can only be a bridge or tunnel, the ferry service has had its' day and belongs to a bygone era, the Island needs to move forward as other islands such as Skye have done

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by Mike Crowe

14th November 2012, at 15:38:00

Might it not be a good idea to read ALL of what someone is saying and understanding it before making a false reply? Read what they wrote not what you THINK they wrote?

For example, I don't recall anybody saying that the bridge would be free. I don't recall anybody saying that it would be up to the Isle of Wight to pay for it, and likewise, I don't recall anybody saying that the Isle of Wight Council would have to maintain it. Please please please correct me if I am wrong and these things have been said and please do show who said them and where.

Very many thanks

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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