Letter: Time for the Government to step in and nationalise ferry operators

The handout to the ferry companies in the first lockdown “proves without doubt, that cross Solent Transport is in fact a special case”, says Labour’s Richard Quigley

House of Parliament and Westminster Bridge

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This from Isle of Wight Labour’s 2019 election candidate, Richard Quigley. Ed

Firstly, may  I congratulate Hovertravel for reacting quickly to take up the gap in ferry services announced by Wightlink.

Unfortunately, they can’t do the same for the reduced Red Funnel service.

As Island dwellers, we all understand there is a price to pay for being separated from the rest of the country by water.

We reluctantly pay the price in both travel time and sometimes exorbitant fares, set at a level both companies assure us are necessary to maintain a year round service.

Government £ paid to ferry operators
Some Islanders even have sympathy with the ferry companies.  

This quickly evaporates when we see them take government money to “stay afloat” and still reduce the service we receive. This proves without doubt, that cross Solent Transport is in fact a special case and should qualify for government intervention.

Nationalise the ferry operators
I went one step further during last year’s election and called for nationalisation to ensure the crossings were regular and at a reasonable price.

Our MP Bob Seely, in one of his many U-turns, called for the same during the last lockdown. (Though he has gone very quiet on his “Island Deal”).  

Our council now find themselves having to defend the ferry companies, a situation they should not be in.

Operators need to help Islanders during these exceptional times
The government has been forced into re-nationalising failed rail franchises, the same should apply to the ferry operators. 

We all help them make exceptional profits the rest of the time, they now need to help Islanders during these exceptional times.

Image: hernanpc under CC BY 2.0

Wednesday, 11th November, 2020 4:02pm


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Filed under: Ferry, Island-wide, Letter to the Editor, Travel

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7 Comments on "Letter: Time for the Government to step in and nationalise ferry operators"

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Geoff Brodie

Entirely agree Richard, though under any Tory government ‘pigs might also fly’.


Let Wightlink go bust.

Then get the Government buy it up for a song.


Totally agree with what Mr Quigley on this – the ferry situation needs sorting (but not by building a fixed link) and nationalising seems the only answer. Is there a petition on the go that people could be signing up to ?

Unfortunately Richard it doesn’t and cannot work like that. In essence the Govt. already owns the the rail network and privatisation merely franchised out the day to day operations under the supervision of a statutory regulator. This enables the Govt. to take the operations of the railways back in hand if need be. The situation with the ferries is entirely different. They are private concerns with no… Read more »
Mr. Quigley really –and sadly for most of us–misses the point. We are always ripped off financially, mentally and socially by the ferry companies as they are a cartel and, from earlier this year, are legally entitled to converse with one another to our detriment. We need what Wales, Scotland and even tiny Scottish Isles have—a permanent link. Such a link would essentially be under Govt. control—a… Read more »

Unfortunately Nationalisation would lead to rationalisation. You can guarantee if that happened we would probably lose one of the services Ryde to Pompey and either the Fishbourne or Yarmouth service. Also prices would definitely rise.

I do not believe it
Richard Quigley has fallen into the predictable ‘Old Labour’ rant of “her’s not working so nationalise it!”. Governments and Local Authorities are the last people a sane person would want running a Pontic service. History perfectly demonstrates this. Nationalisation is a sure and certain recipe for overmanning, inefficiency and lack of investment leading to an inevitable decline and death an a industry or service. All that we… Read more »