Isle of Wight MP states: Ferry companies prioritised shareholders over needs of Islanders (updated)

The new Isle of Wight MP states that today’s TITF report “provides evidence that the firms’ shareholders have been prioritised over the needs of Islanders.”

bob seely

Isle of Wight MP, Bob Seely, has issued a statement where he says that today’s Isle of Wight transport review TITF, “provides evidence that the firms’ shareholders have been prioritised over the needs of Islanders”.

While recognising the cross-Solent transport companies, “have tried to be good citizens to the Island, and they do help to drive traffic and tourism”, he points out that, “they deliver a high profit on their turnover, and this helps in part to explain their high cost to Islanders”.

Calls for Open relationship
Seely calls for “a more open relationship” with the ferry companies, asking for them to be, “more transparent about the costs of running their business, including the cost of their debts”.

Regulation threatened
The Isle of Wight MP is supportive of, the “Island Partnership Board to undertake regular and meaningful dialogue with the ferry firms”, as a means of reaching more openness and understanding.

Bob Seely, while offering a friendly hand does also provide a threat – “greater regulation”.

“In general, there are various options for the Island’s future dealings with the ferry firms. They include a closer working relationship with Island representatives through the Partnership Board, a public service obligation and/or greater regulation. I want to let the Board develop a relationship with the ferry firms first before we seek other alternatives. I will be guided in part by their recommendations.”

Red Funnel:Reviewing the report
Red Funnel CEO, Kevin George, told OnTheWight,

“We are currently reviewing the content of the Infrastructure Task Force report and we will seek to support the recommendations where possible.”

Wightlink: Delighted to join cross-Solent operators’ partnership board
Wightlink welcomes the publication of the Transport Infrastructure Task Force report.

A spokesperson for the company said,

“Chief Executive Keith Greenfield would be delighted to join the proposed cross-Solent operators’ partnership board to promote the economic development of the Isle of Wight.

“Wightlink is investing £45million in a new ferry and port facilities to support the Island’s economy.

“Wightlink already offers a wide range of discounted fares for Islanders, including students, apprentices, disabled people, groups and senior citizens, it is always happy to consider further support for those in education and training.”

Article edit
12.45pm – Responses from ferry companies added

Wednesday, 26th July, 2017 11:28am



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

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12 Comments on "Isle of Wight MP states: Ferry companies prioritised shareholders over needs of Islanders (updated)"

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Fred Karno
Something needs to be done about the unbridled greed of the ferry companies. They are operating completely free of any regulation apparently and are literally bleeding the Island to death. I have thought for a long time they are the main reason why the Island is a deprived area, because of the millions they are syphoning into their own coffers. The following two very recent examples may… Read more »
Steve Goodman

3. Red Funnel, having previously transformed what was the E.Cowes high street into their car parks, have insisted on taking much more of our land and money (about £12million through SLEP, plus the valuable financial gain from permission to develop part of the seized sites, plus other peoples thriving businesses, jobs, and homes.)


Yes, I certainly would believe those fares. I too was quoted £180 online for a 1 week return. That was for a less-than-ideal time of travelling, too. I could have paid over £200 to travel at the times that were convenient to me.

As it was we went with Wightlink from Yarmouth. Still an eye-watering £140, though.

I recently worked out that it would have been cheaper to cross as a foot passenger and hire a car on the other side. Not particularly convenient, but the sheer fact that I can hire a car, the same size as my own, for an entire week, for £30 less than Red Funnel wanted to sting me to spend 2 hours on one of their ferries, speaks… Read more »

Bob reckons he can fix the ferries, I’m looking forward to the outcome!

On reading the above comments, it’s such a pity that multilink passes are not generally known about. Maybe because they don’t use the internet, who knows the reason. Instead of paying £180 for just one return, the above mentioned travellers could have paid an extra £84 and bought 5 returns valid for one year from the date of purchase. This way a return journey would have cost… Read more »

Red funnel no longer offer MultiLink tickets. They now offer “Travel Cards” which give up to 20% off, but only if you pay £1000 upfront. £500 upfront will get you 10% off, and £250 will get you a measly 6% off.


That’s an awful lot of money. In fact it’s not reasonable. I’m amazed anyone would want to travel Red Funnel at those prices. Travel Wightlink instead.

the auditor
Good luck with sorting out Wightlink & Red Funnel. As private companies, they have a duty to giver shareholders a return on their investments, so whilst private enterprise holds the purse strings of these operators, the Isle of Wight will continue to be held to ransom. In Scotland, the Clyde and Hebridean Ferries are operated by Calmac which is owned by the Scottish Government. The ferry service… Read more »
Luisa Hillard
This is no surprise to those of us in East Cowes who worked on the Red Funnel planning application. I spent hours in meetings, scribbling on plans and moving things around like a tile puzzle to try and fit in things that the community needed, as well as meet the needs of Red Funnel. We finally came up with a compromise plan that Kevin George took to… Read more »
Luisa Hillard

Perhaps Bob Seely should be reminded that the Isle of Wight Council had an opportunity to become a part-owner of Red Funnel but his Conservative group declined the opportunity. They declined the chance to have a seat on the board that makes decisions that affect the Island.

People need to realise that the ferry service will not be owned by local government.The island needs 24/7 access and that in short means having a fixed link.Yes,it’s time to grow up and realise that all the bluster to “fix the ferries”,simply will not happen!Public ownership of these so called services will not happen! The only alternative is a fixed link. For those that oppose a link… Read more »