Reassurance sought from ferry companies over change to disability law

Isle Access has written to all the ferry companies about the new Trade In Services agreement between the UK and the EU after concerns regarding provision of ferry services for those with disabilities was raised

crop of a person in a wheelchair

In light of the new Trade In Services agreement between the UK and the EU (as highlighted by Matthew Smith) there have been concerns regarding the provision of ferry services for disabled people on the Isle of Wight, and visitors.

Isle Access has contacted the ferry companies and asked the following question:

“Please can all ferry operators assure us that there will be no reduction to the availability, process of transportation and level of service given to disabled passengers? As there are no other means of crossing The Solent it is crucial to residents and visitors that the regulations prior to January 1st 2020 are maintained or improved on.”

Here are their replies:

Red Funnel: Committed to provide services to all customers
Fran Collins, CEO of Red Funnel, said,

“Firstly, let me reassure you that Red Funnel’s commitment to ensuring the provision of services to all customers, including passengers with reduced mobility or those requiring special assistance, is unchanged and remains one of our highest priorities.

“Please be reassured that the legislation to which you refer has not been materially changed as part of its incorporation into post-Brexit legislation – the exclusion to which you refer is contained in the original REGULATION (EU) No 1177/2010 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 24 November 2010 concerning the rights of passengers when travelling by sea and inland waterway and amending Regulation (EC) No 2006/2004 and expressly prohibits operators discriminating against disability or reduced mobility.

“Article 8 (Exceptions and special conditions) is there to recognise the occasional and unique challenges that may occasionally be insurmountable due to the nature of the vessel/infrastructure preventing safe access or carriage and indeed, it places specific obligations on the operator in supporting those passengers who may be affected should this occur.”

Wightlink: No plans to reduce level of service
Keith Greenfield, CEO of Wightlink, said,

“I can assure you that Wightlink has no plans to reduce the level of service or availability of services for disabled passengers.  

“The thought to do that would not even occur!”

Hovertravel: Concur with others
Neil Chapman, MD of Hovertravel, said,

“As noted by others, this had already been dealt with and discussed by council/operators.

“Rest assured Hovertravel’s position is that of others and hope that gives all users the assurance needed.

“If anyone has an issue, concern or even a question – I would be more than happy to answer personally.”

If anyone has any further concerns, please contact the ferry operator direct.

Image: Marcus Aurelius under CC BY 2.0

Friday, 8th January, 2021 4:27pm

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Filed under: Ferry, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story

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