You may’ve already heard about Andrew Turner, our Island MP campaigning for the Office of Fair Trading (OFT) to probe ‘expensive’ ferry prices between the mainland and Isle of Wight (I think it’s been covered in the County Press). He has raised the question in Parliament several times and is now looking for support from Islanders to prove how much the fares have risen over the past five years.
He says ‘Without hard evidence of past fares, and of the extent to which users can or cannot move from one service to another, it will be much harder to make a successful case,’ going onto say ‘I therefore appeal to anyone who may have this information going back over the last, say, five years, to send it to me.’
As we all know the fares (on Wightlink) have risen considerably ever since Australian bank Macquarie bought company for 225m. If the OFT investigated and found the ticket prices beyond reasonable, it could ask them to drop their prices.
Not surprisingly Wightlink deny the fares are high and say the company offers a ‘varied package of fare options to its customers’. Well, knocking the multilink tickets’ validity period from one year to six months doesn’t seem particularly fair to me!
I was shocked at one example of wide extremes of prices between the Red Funnel and Wightlink during Cowes weekend, when a ferry to and from the Island for a car and two adults with Wightlink was quoted at Ã‚£167. Red Funnel came it at Ã‚£50. How Wightlink can justify these prices is beyond me. It hardly encourages holiday-makers to travel over the water.
So, if you have any evidence of previous fares, going back five years, please send them to Andrew Turner, 24 The Mall, Carisbrooke Road, Newport PO30 1BW.