Wightlink pier price hike ‘unacceptable’ say Isle of Wight Labour

Island Labour say the price hike is “naked exploitation of a captive market by a monopoly provider”.

julian critchley - Allan Marsh

Island Labour notes the announcement by Wightlink that they are intending to raise prices by up to 100% for Islanders driving down Ryde Pier.

Wightlink claim this is necessary to maintain the pier, noting they have spent £2.6m maintaining the pier in the last nine years, or an average of some £288k per year.

Wightlink’s profit in 2017/18 was £13.8m. Wightlink voted to pay a dividend to shareholders in 2017/18 of £15.3m.

Critchley: Naked exploitation of a captive market
Island Labour Chair, Julian Critchley, himself a Ryde resident, said:

“There is no excuse for this. It is naked exploitation of a captive market by a monopoly provider. This company makes tens of millions of pounds in profit every year. Last year alone, it paid its shareholders £15m in dividends.

“To then seek to justify 100% price rises on ordinary residents of the Island, because of an annual maintenance cost of £288k per year is ridiculous and contemptuous of Islanders.

“Maintaining the pier isn’t a gift to Islanders. It’s the way in which Wightlink maintain their enormous profits, because without the pier, the Fastcat wouldn’t be able to take on passengers. To argue that every Islander should have to pay even more so that this profiteering company can continue to make disproportionate profits is a bad joke.”

Ferry companies must be regulated
He went on to say,

“Wightlink, and Red Funnel, have exploited Islanders for far too long. The next Labour government will introduce regulation to prevent them continuing to treat this Island as their own corporate magic money tree.

“In the longer term, we will seek to nationalise the ferry companies along with the national railway network, so that our cross-Solent lifeline is run in the interests of Islanders, and not in the interests of the ferry company shareholders.”

Image: © With kind permission of Allan Marsh

Monday, 9th September, 2019 2:18pm

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ShortURL: http://wig.ht/2naJ

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

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13 Comments on "Wightlink pier price hike ‘unacceptable’ say Isle of Wight Labour"

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greenhey

Isnt it interesting that Wightlink claim it cannot afford to maintain the pier based on current finances, and have to raise the charges. Yet it felt able to pay more in dividend than it made in profit…

Colin

I see elsewhere that Wightlink are proposing a dual pricing system with those paying by card charged considerably less than £2, indeed the sum of £1.30 if you pay contactless. I was under the impression that it was illegal to make differing charges in this manner. Anyone with a better knowlege of consumer law than me might be able to confirm.

Ian Young

From my very limited knowledge on such matters Colin I seem to remember from my dealings with EasyJet that you can no longer be charged a supplement for paying by card.

As for a card payment reduction, I suspect Wightlink might be OK legally,if not morally.

Jenny Smart

So they are not saying you can’t use your credit card if it’s under £5

Alternative Perspective

The difference of 70p is relatively small, but which group will it disproportionately hit? And why should we expect them to pay 30% more?

lifewriterbutmainlybeer

Think laterally – Boycott Wightlink and their profits – walk? train? – both will reduce your carbon footprint.

Ian Young
As is so often the case these days Labour/Mr Critchley have very clearly identified and articulated a problem. Not too many people would disagree with much of what they say until that is we come to their solution. In reality they are offering us an outdated off-the-shelf answer, which didn’t work in the past, and I suggest will not work in the future. Given that in a… Read more »
Tim
The authorities have resisted regulating the ferries for fear of them curtailing or withdrawing their services altogether. As for nationalising them the previous IWC Indie administration had mooted buying Red Funnel had they been re-elected. The purpose of which was not to establish a very frequent, fast service at the same sort of prices paid on toll roads & bridges across the UK but merely to take… Read more »
Jenny Smart

Within the grand scheme of things there are far more important issues Mr Critchley ought to focus on.

Geoff Brodie

Frankly pathetic. Tying this increase to the sensible demand for public ownership of the ferries just devalues the argument in favour. I wonder if there is self interest at the heart of Mr Critchley’s opposition?

iain mckie

Nationalisation is theft.

chrisinthemorning

The creation of the NHS nationalised hospitals. Do you consider that theft too?

Excessive profiteering takes money from people’s pockets and puts it in the pockets of shareholders. Theft in your book?

iain mckie

My grandfather (mother’s side) founded a business when he returned from France in 1919. It was taken away from him by the Government. My father had an Act of Parliament passed to prevent one of his company’s steel mills being taken away from their rightful owners. This was subsequently overturned and hundreds ended up losing their jobs.