Stephen Morgan, the Labour MP for Portsmouth South, who is also Shadow Minister for Local Government (Communities), has raised the issue in Parliament of improving transport links between the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth.
As well as asking what steps the Secretary of State for Transport’s Department have taken to improve transport links between the Portsmouth and the Island, Mr Morgan asked,
What assessment has his Department made of the effect on the (a) economic prosperity (b) well-being of people on the Isle of Wight of improved transport links between the Isle of Wight and Portsmouth?
Freeman: Half-hourly train service to the pier
In a written reply, George Freeman MP, Minister of State (Department for Transport) spoke about the recently-announced £26m for Island Line,
“The department recently announced a £26 million investment in new trains and track improvements on the Isle of Wight’s Island Line. The improvements will include a new passing loop at Brading, which will help to deliver an even interval half-hourly service to the pier.
“This will allow the train to connect better with local ferry services. This follows a multi-million pound commitment for Network Rail to make improvements to renew Ryde Railway Pier where trains connect with ferries to Portsmouth.”
Freeman: Up to ferry companies to determine
He went on to talk about the ferry services, but said the frequency of services, fares and other matters relating to the services are for the ferry companies to determine. He said,
“The Government of course recognises the importance for local residents and businesses of good quality ferry services between Portsmouth and the Isle of Wight . These locations are linked directly by ferry services provided by Wightlink between Portsmouth and Fishbourne or Ryde as well as hovercraft services operated by Hovertravel between Southsea and Ryde.
“These services are provided on a commercial basis by Wightlink and Hovertravel, without financial support from Government. The frequency of services, fares and other matters relating to the services are for those companies to determine.”
Mr Freeman went on to add,
“The Secretary of State met the hon member for the Isle of Wight (Robert Seeley MP) in August to discuss ferry services between the Island and the mainland generally, including fare levels and service reliability.”