Councillors urged to support MP over ferry issues

A motion at next week’s Full Council meeting calls for the Council to take all possible steps it can to address the cross-Solent fares and service situation as well as supporting the Island’s MP on the issue.

Wightlink :

Councillors will be asked to support a motion put forward by Cllr Jonathan Bacon at next week’s Full Council meeting over issues with ferry companies service and fares.

It expresses concern that neither the council nor stakeholders were consulted prior to Wightlink’s recent proposal to cut services and urges the council to take all possible steps it can to address the situation.

Cllr Bacon’s motion reads,

This Council is deeply concerned about further cuts to ferry services recently announced by Wightlink and the corresponding reduction in the service provided to Island Residents and visitors which has a direct impact upon the economy of the Island.

As the Local Transport Authority the Council notes with regret that Wightlink failed to consult or engage with the Council or other Island stakeholders about their proposals.

The Council is also very concerned about the levels of fares for crossings by motor vehicle on ferry services, which inhibits the ability of Island residents to travel for work, family, health and social reasons and again impacts greatly upon the economy of the Island and the quality of life for Island residents as well as having a direct effect on the tourist trade which is essential for the Island.

This Council resolves to take all possible steps it can to address this situation and, in addition, to support the Island’s Member of Parliament in any steps he may be seeking to take in respect of this issue, in particular raising the matter with the Office of Fair Trading.

Members of the public can watch the debate in person by attending the meeting that takes place on Wednesday 16th October from 6pm at County Hall, Newport.

Image: Mike Lawrence under CC BY 2.0

Wednesday, 9th October, 2013 12:03pm

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

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35 Comments on "Councillors urged to support MP over ferry issues"

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Bystander

People do actually have a choice don’t they? ie Red Funnel

Bystander
Isn’t this a valid point then? The government will say there is competition in the market, which there is. If you aren’t happy with a company suppling a service go somewhere else. The same as if you aren’t happy with BT’s broadband deal fleecing the tax payer vote with your feet by going to another supplier in protest. Or is it just that people choose to live… Read more »
Stewart Blackmore
BT is the wrong analogy, Bystander. There are dozens of broadband providers to choose from. There are only two car ferry companies operating the cross-Solent route and I can say that, as a regular user, there is not that much to choose between them, at least as far as prices go. I was quoted £97 two weeks ago with a return fare of £57. £154 day return!There… Read more »
Bystander

The principle is the same, if your unhappy with a service go elsewhere. But people won’t, a handful will complain on here but the vast majority will continue plodding along no matter what.

Did you know how expensive the crossing was when you moved here? I did, it was a consideration and the advantages outweighed the disadvantages. Either pay up or don’t take your car.

Black Dog
I agree about choice, however the issue is also about capacity. About three weeks ago I could not get off the Island (Wightlink and Red Funnel) between the hours of 9.30 am and 4.30 pm Every vehicle ferry was fully booked. Clearly Whighlink’s cut in service knocked on to Red Funnel resulting in this possibly life threatening situation. Irrespective of the fact that they are private companies,… Read more »
Bystander

@Black Dog You could get off the Island you are saying you couldn’t get your car off the Island, it isn’t life and death for your car and for people we have a hospital on the Island and an air ambulance. You say there was no capacity available that should indicate prices will rise not reduce and the companies will increase provision to meet demand.

Nip
@Black Dog, while there are many issues around Wightlink’s continuity of service and price, when it is a genuine emergency I have to say they do make exceptions to the booking system. A few years ago my Grandad (who lived in Eastbourne) had a massive stroke and wasn’t expected to survive. Despite it being a friday lunchtime in August and completely booked out, when we explained the… Read more »
Sarah

I don’t have a choice about where I live as I work in composite research and at the moment the only place to do that is the IOW. I could resign and work in another industry. But why should I? Ferrys are an essential service and so need to be regular, a reasonable price and run at all hours.

Cynic
@Bystander “The government will say there is competition in the market, which there is. If you aren’t happy with a company suppling a service go somewhere else.” In an oligopolistic market like the Island ferry market, suppliers – wary of being accused of operating an illegal cartel- will maximise profits by watching wht the market will bear. They do this by watching each other’s pricing structure very… Read more »
Bystander

I never said the government had any intention of being fair or honest, they don’t have to be as they are the government. In the same way as Council’s don’t have to be either which is why Pugh and co. got away with blue murder. They can promise the world and when voted in break those promises at will and do whatever they please.

Clare

I’m a qualified physio who lives in ryde and works in Portsmouth. If the ferries go up any more it won’t be worth going to work. I’ll have to resign. Sign on and wait for a job on the island. What a rediclous state of affairs.

Clare

No, red funnel is in cowes and wightlink in ryde which is one bus an hour which arrives ten minutes after the ferry has left.

RTUC
The Trades Councils support this significant and important motion of the council regarding the Ferry Service. The Trades Councils believe that in the final analysis the ferries should be brought back into the public domain. At the same time, being wary of OFT and the several approaches made by the MP, it is important that the emphasis of all policy of cuts in funding; the finger should… Read more »
Trevor

Good luck, you’re going to need it with this government.

Man in Black

Good to see the new council on the side of islanders, unlike the last one who told us we weren’t allowed to say anything critical about the ferry services otherwise it would scare off holiday-makers.

Thomas

Surely Russell Kew’s position now as Chairman of LTB is now untenable?

Bystander

So Turner is at loggerheads with the Tory government and the Indies are trying to persuade the Island Tories, who they normally attack at every opportunity, to call a truce in their alleged attempts to oust Turner and support the Indies and Turner in this.
Makes me wonder why Turner is a Conservative really.

Stewart Blackmore
As a member of the cross-party delegation which met the Transport Minister Stephen Hammond a few months ago (facilitated by Andrew Turner), I endorse this initiative by the Council. Mr Hammond was quite clear that he did not believe that the government should intervene on behalf of Islanders, despite their valid concerns. He said that he personally, and Conservatives, were ‘naturally against regulation’ in respect of the… Read more »
tiki

BOTH ferry companies need investigating, Red Funnel rips people off as well.

bayboy

Business as usual for the Tories?? The Labour party was is power for 13 (?) years why didn’t they challenge the ferry companies??

Cynic

Because Blair’s New Labour was a copy of Tory government, taking (or avoiding) similar political decisions.

Review Blair’s profitable post-politics career as an example of what really drives politicians in power.

BRIAN
Whenever you have a monopoly or near monopoly situation, business will always take advantage. With respect to ferries, the usual capitalist notion that high prices attract other cheaper businesses to compete is a non-starter: they have the only practical ports. The only way they can be compelled to lower prices is with a sympathetic government, not the one currently running the country. I’m afraid we are stuck… Read more »
Bystander
@Brian interesting that you are the only other one to get red marked on this thread, as you have mentioned me. This website was always anti-Tory but has become so overwhelmingly bias towards the Indies that you don’t have to be a Tory to get a hostile reception any longer, which I most certainly am not, just taking an objective view towards the Indies is enough. I’m… Read more »
tryme

I hope noone is put off by red arrows – there may be some very childish reasons for some of these, so they are definitely worth ignoring. Free debate is much more important.

woodworker
So what about the people born and bred here? Should they put up with the ferries? They have absolutely no choice. This is home, people born here may well not want to move away, and should not have to put up with the ferries. Every political person or body which might have influence should work together. A united front is the only way to take on any… Read more »
Bystander

Well the ferries have been here longer than you have. You grew up with them and I dare say everyone has always moaned about them. Simple fact is that if you want to take approx one ton of metal on a boat it’s going to cost you, if not travel as a foot passenger.

woodworker
yes, its going to cost – but a reasonable amount, not £100 or more for a return. yes, its important to run ferries full – but not to cut services so far back that people cannot get on a ferry without booking several days in advance. Some are not able to plan that far ahead in certain situations. and yes, the ferries have been here longer than… Read more »
Black Dog

@Bystander – I sincerely hope that you will never have to face the predicament I had to.

Stephen
Until there is a legally binding public service obligation in whatever licences RF and WL need to operate then, like privatised bus companies, they will provide a commercially viable service and no more. Their first responsibility is to their shareholders not passengers. Which government or local government agency has the duty or responsibility to grant-aid socially necessary services? If the IWC had Passenger Transport Authority status and… Read more »
Cynic
@Stephen “Their first responsibility is to their shareholders not passengers. ” Quite right! The problem is that their “shareholders” are off-shore investment bankers borrowing lots of money (from themselves and their friends usually) to buy the companies in the first place Now we are having to pay back their own investment (plus compound interest plus profits plus “management fees” of various kinds. No wonder ferry prices are… Read more »
BRIAN
The only way this situation will be resolved is by a sympathetic government treating the ferries like the power and rail industries – ie intervening in a private enterprise for the public good. Milliband with his power price freeze and Cameron with his rail fare cap. Unless something like this occurs if we wish to leave the Island, we will just have to open our wallets and… Read more »
Mark Francis
“…few if any of the routes currently operated by CalMac are profitable, and the company receives significant government subsidies due to its vital role in supplying the islands – these routes are classified as “lifeline” services…” – Wikipedia article on nationalised Scottish ferry company Caledonian Macbrayne. Apparently outlying Scottish Islands are seen as an integral part of the UK but the IOW is not. I was looking… Read more »
Matt

As the IW Trades Council(IWTUC) reported in the media said “This is how the Government treats the Isle Of Wight”.

Matt

But the Government are happy to collect your Taxes!

Thomas
The Government has a duty towards the well being of its citizens but the Westminster Cartel are always failing us. That ferry is our road and it should always be open to the public. It is a lifeline. If the MP or the council is being marginalised by the government then 140,000 people are being ignored. The only way is to get out on the streets and… Read more »