We always welcome a Letter to the Editor to share with our readers. If you have something you’d like to share, get in touch. This from Stuart George from the IW Bus & Rail Users’ Group. Ed
The IW Bus & Rail Users’ Group has followed with interest the recent correspondence about the bus service between Ventnor and Shanklin.
We share Evelyn Knowles’ frustration that buses haven’t been able to serve Shanklin Railway Station since January and find it incredible that, after four months, no one has found a way to fill in the pothole preventing access to the station. During the wettest winter on record passengers have been left to stand in the rain in Atherley Road.
Together with this the recent bus timetable change has added ten minutes to the time they now have to wait for the bus.
Dispute general manager’s claims
I must disagree with Matt Kitchin’s claim that the overall increase in waiting time for a return journey is only one minute – according to my calculations it’s five minutes, and it’s only that small because the journey time from Ventnor to Shanklin Station has been increased by five minutes.
Although Matt makes a good case for the fares rise, it might have been more sensitive of Southern Vectis to wait until the proper service was restored before putting up the fare.
Beware the ‘bus wars’
However, Evelyn needs to beware of implying these problems are due to Southern Vectis enjoying a monopoly on Island bus travel. Older readers may remember the mainland “bus wars” of the 1980s after bus deregulation, when rival bus companies competed on profitable routes and abandoned unprofitable ones.
Some fares may have come down, but services were slashed and, as Matt says, much of the mainland, including some reasonably sized towns, no longer has any bus service after 7pm or on Sundays.
One of the best
Whatever people may believe, Southern Vectis provides one of the best comprehensive bus services in the country, with a modern fleet of buses, and with very little financial support.
Be assured that our group will continue to press for buses to return to Shanklin station at the earliest opportunity.