‘Government intervention’ may be necessary says Isle of Wight council leader over ferry suspension

Dave Stewart says decisions on services rest with the private ferry companies, but that he’ll work with the MP and Dept for Transport to impress on them that it may be necessary to arrange government intervention

Map of the Solent

Wightlink have earlier today announced they will be suspending the FastCat service from the end of this week and reducing the Yarmouth ferry route to a weekday-only two-hourly service.

Leader of the Isle of Wight council, Dave Stewart, talked about the possibility of government intervention maybe being necessary.

He said,

“The council, as part of the Island’s Transport Infrastructure Board, has been engaging with ferry operators to ensure services are retained as far as possible, but decisions on services do rest with these individual private companies.

“Nevertheless, we continue to work with the MP and the Department for Transport to impress on them that it may be necessary to arrange government intervention.

“I hope that when lockdown comes to an end in December, all ferry companies will review their arrangements, ensure they are stepped up again for Christmas and have plans in place for the new year that ensures our Island is fully open for business when the time is right.”

Cllr Stewart, said,

“Pressures of lockdown are having a significant impact on our ferry companies, caused by reduced footfall, and they are clearly reviewing their service provision in a similar way to many other businesses.

“However, we as a council will continue to lobby for services to be maintained to their fullest and the Island has connectivity with the mainland in a way that provides a vital lifeline for goods, services and keyworkers.”

Stewart: Disappointed but understand
Stewart went on to say,

“I am disappointed that, once again, we are in a position where the Portsmouth Harbour to Ryde Pier Head FastCat foot passenger route is to be suspended from 14th November, although I understand this is a business decision by Wightlink and is due to the substantial reduction in use that has happened due to lockdown.

“However, I am grateful Wightlink are maintaining a limited Yarmouth to Lymington service and in particular the change they have made to the early morning sailing which will support our students who attend Brockenhurst College.”

Thanks to Hovertravel
Cllr Stewart thanked Hovertravel for accepting Wightlink tickets, saying

“I do welcome the announcement by Hovertravel that it is reintroducing ticket acceptance for Wightlink customers and adding extra weekday services, including additional flights during peak commuter periods to ensure people can travel to work, to school, to college or university and for medical appointments.

“I wish to thank Hovertravel for the support they are providing.”

Image: Annie Spratt under CC BY 2.0

Tuesday, 10th November, 2020 12:53pm


ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2o3k

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

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8 Comments on "‘Government intervention’ may be necessary says Isle of Wight council leader over ferry suspension"

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Ooh, I got all excited when I read the headline words “government intervention and ferry” only to be dissapointed to find that it wasn’t the chain ferry that the council leader has responsibility for, but the other ferries that he wants to run as well. Maybe just stick to fixing your own toy ferry before telling others how to run a service eh?


We are beginning to see the issues when you hand over services to for profit private companies.

God help us if our NHS continues down the road of pursuing private health care.


Won’t be long,wait while the Yanks sort themselves out then Cummings will be dropping the keys off dead sharp.


Please be kind enough to share your evidence that this government, or indeed any potential government, has plans to privatise the NHS.

I suggest that you cannot, because no government in its right mind would suggest such a policy, it would mean certain oblivion for that party.


The evidence is in front of you.There are all ready moves afoot to get rid of this clown in charge,the king of the U turn,once he’s gone and the yanks get rid of the other lunatic then Cummings will sell the NHS and if anybody votes for this bunch again,they want their head examining.
Remember what Nye Bevan said years ago-‘they are worse than vermin’.

Chiverton Paul

It’s a great shame Cllr Stewart isn’t a quick to call in central govt to investigation the floating bridge scandal that continues to evolve and waste public money.

Angela Hewitt

It’s a case of use it or lose it. As we can’t by law use it Wightlink have done the next best thing. Negotiated with Hovertravel for transfer of tickets, still offer passenger service on car ferry. If the company was still owned by Government would be criticising GOV’for wasting taxpayers money by running an empty service. Only time will tell if Wightlink’s intentions are good ones.

I presume that the Government Intervention is needed over the ferry service because the NHS GPs will be involved in the 7day 12 hours a day rollout of the new vaccine to be administered from the beginning of December. The fast cat service will be needed to get all the key workers to the right place at the right time. Presumably Bob Seely, the NHS on the… Read more »