Thanks to VB reader Andrew Nordbruch for sending in this comment on an article he caught sight of this afternoon. New contributions are always welcome at VB. Ed
I was passed a link to a news story on the Daily Mail’s website this afternoon, regarding new anti-terrorism measures and the Isle of Wight.
My initial reaction was that it was an April Fool’s joke (and I still hope it is!). But it’s in today’s Mail on Sunday paper too, and it’s a bit early for an 1st April joke.
The news story states that ferry passengers on most routes in Britain will be required to produce ID when boarding. This includes ferries to the Isle of Wight and Scottish islands.
“Under new Government security rules that will come into force next year, personal data, including name, date of birth and home address, will be typed into a computer record for the police by the booking clerk or travel agent.”
The Mail article continues, “A Home Office spokesman confirmed the measures would ‘require passengers to show photo ID, such as a driving licence or the (proposed) Government ID cards, when booking tickets for domestic air and sea journeys’.”
“He added that ‘ferry journeys to the Isle of Wight or the Isle of Skye’ and ‘private jet passengers’ would be included in the new measures, due to be formally announced later this year.”
As a regular commuter to Portsmouth (University), this would be an absolute nightmare if it were true.
The news story states that the required data would need to be keyed in manually to a computer and would impact upon check-in times. In my view, this would take such a long time to do, and I really don’t think the staff at Wightlink and Red Funnel would be able to cope. It would be even worse with coaches full of tourists at the car ferry terminals, all having to get off and go inside for ID checks.
I read a discussion online that suggested that domestic travel journeys such as these would need to be approved by the state 24 hours before traveling, although I have not verified this.
Erosion of civil liberties
Not only would this have a significant impact on journey times, but I feel this would further erode our civil liberties and give the ferry companies a good excuse to bump up the fees because of all the extra admin time involved.