Better Ferry Campaign: Wightlink respond to OnTheWight revelations

Wightlink managers say they don’t recognise the Better Ferry Campaign’s portrayal of cross-Solent ferries in general and Wightlink in particular in the campaign’s launch video.

Colin Boswell

After OnTheWight broke the story of the soon-to-launch Better Ferry Campaign yesterday, we got in touch with managers at Wightlink for their reaction to the campaign video.

Luckily they were able to view the Better Ferry Campaign footage before it was removed and gave us this response.

A spokesperson for Wightlink told OnTheWight yesterday,

“We watched the online video from the Better Ferry Campaign with interest but did not recognise its portrayal of cross-Solent ferries in general and Wightlink in particular.

“We operate 48,000 crossings a year and carry almost five million passengers, a survey in summer 2013 found 80 per cent of customers rated our service as excellent or good, 70 per cent of those who expressed a preference said Wightlink was their favourite cross-Solent operator.

“We receive no public subsidy. However, we have invested almost £60million over the last five years in new ships and port facilities. We offer special fares to customers from the Isle of Wight.

“Consultation with our customers is important to us. We regularly engage with Islanders through ferry user groups, meetings with councillors and organisations such as the Chamber of Commerce and events such as Meet the Managers.

“We give £350,000 of support to Island charities, arts groups and individuals each year.”

Image: Colin Boswell who appears on the campaign launch video

Thursday, 16th January, 2014 1:14pm



Filed under: Ferry, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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18 Comments on "Better Ferry Campaign: Wightlink respond to OnTheWight revelations"

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Exactly the response you would expect. The fact is that Macquarrie, (who also own Thames Water, among other monopoly businesses) operate in a particular way. Google them, you will see they are predators who extract maximum (unrealistic) returns for investors. They do this by mortgaging their future revenue streams and of course these guaranteed high dividends, paid now to eager investors really come from you and me… Read more »
“We offer special fares to customers from the Isle of Wight” Really? Special up or special down? ” a survey in summer 2013 found 80 per cent of customers rated our service as excellent or good” Sample size and profile? Regular commuters or one-off holiday makers? “70 per cent of those who expressed a preference said Wightlink was their favourite cross-Solent operator.” Really? I wonder what a… Read more »

Ooops! Pls eliminate the superfluous “that”.

Wightlink has £195m of bank debts and an annual interest burden of £10.5m to service. It has been estimated that around 60% of current profits are being used to pay interest. The plan is to offload the debt onto the public. Macquarie is notorious for its get rich quick schemes. Trades Council Research has exposed the dubious nature of the bank. Prior to Airwave being taken over… Read more »

I’m sure there is lots of very useful and interesting information in your posts RTUC, but there are always SO long that I rarely read them (especially when I’m viewing the site from my phone).

A friendly suggestion would be to trim them down a bit and you might get more people reading and responding to them.


Read more it improves the attention span.

gullible's travels
‘Trevor’, I would agree with you, however, I find RTUC’s writing style both logically structured and also quite easy on my eyes, as, both on my IPad and PC, his text is presented with many visual pauses in the form of paragraphs separated by blank lines, and finally, his sentences are not too long either so that I find them easy to understand, especially as he has… Read more »

Not sure why you have quote marks around my name, that aside, I’m glad you find it easy to read RTUC’s lengthy comments, I was simply pointing out that I don’t on my small phone screen.

Not sure why that would earn me the badge of having have attracted five down arrows though.


WL’s first responsibility is to their shareholders.

As has been said many times on this site they do NOT have any Public Service Obligation in what ever operating licences they have.

Unlike the railways I do not think they have to operate to minimum service levels. WL/McQ are a cash making machine and buy businesses with a regular, monopoly type, cash flow. No more and no less.


“WL’s first responsibility is to their shareholders”

Now- who called it “the unpleasant and unacceptable face of capitalism”?

Oh yes! Tory PM Ted Heath- and he should know what he was talking about!

Black Dog
I am no fan of WL, infact I refuse to use them and have not used them for over two years. However it is the devil we know as opposed to this proposed new CIC. Wightlink and the other cross Solent have a responsibility to the residents, island industry, tourists commuters as well as themselves. The sooner they accept the fact that unless they act soon the… Read more »
Island Monkey
Some simple informed facts are required here. Patrick Seely seems to have these facts. It is sensible that he is leading on this, and that those of us who are interested in the subject listen. That said, most of us don’t understand city finance, if we did we would now be waiting on our six figure bonus news. What we desperately need is a translation, someone to… Read more »
According to our monkey friend above, it sounds like us simple island folk are lucky to have a clever city spiv like The Hon Patrick Seely to save us from the evils of the current service! So essentially us caulkheads are supposed to enthusiastically row in behind this hostile takeover bid, dressed up as a community interest company (whatever that is!), and be confident that Seely &… Read more »
Island Monkey

Not at all, but most of us do not understand international corporate investment finance. As for Seely and Co, how do you know this is their plan?

Black Dog

There is no such thing as a free lunch.

Black Dog has summed it up perfectly. It seems that these capitalists want ownership of Wightlink and they are determined to use whatever means they can to do it, such as seeking to get Island residents to row in behind their campaign and dress it up as some altruistic endeavour. Their website is now live – It’s got the rather polished video of posh people that… Read more »
A CIC ‘Community Interest Company’ sounds as if it’s for the benefit of – or even owned by – the community. In fact CICs are private companies with shareholders and directors who can pay themselves generously. Not surprising therefore that the only mailing I’ve received from Andrew Turner for some months, (despite several emails I’ve sent him regarding important votes in parliament, which have gone unanswered), is… Read more »
Desmond Meek

No ferry between 2100 hours and 23.59 hours on Saturdays and other days gents toilets smell terribly and the ST Clare seats have plastic peeling badly on headrests which are not healthy