Distressing crossing for Autistic Passenger

WightLink User Experience

Dear WightLink,

I am complaining about your level of service but also about your staff lack of understanding of autism.

I was travelling back on Wednesday 15th March & due to travel on the 17:00 from Portsmouth to Fishbourne.  The display was informing you it was on time.  Then just after 17:00 the ferry was deleted, showing the next one at 18:00.  It was a further 20 minutes before a person came round to inform us there were problems with the upper linkspan, they were unable to unload the top deck.  There were no further announcements, passengers were not kept informed as to what was happening.  We finally boarded at 18:00 & departed about 18:15.

As I have autism I found this all very distressing.  When I enquired to what compensation I was entitled to, the staff were very unsympathetic even though I was on the verge of an autistic meltdown, this was despite the fact I was wearing a sunflower lanyard & an autism alert card.  It was clearly obvious none of your staff on duty that day have had autism awareness training.  You could start by ensuring they watch the recent Chris Packham series on BBC 1.

It causes extra distress as back last August my daughter on her birthday missed a Go Ape session because your ferry broke down, though at least on this occasion you did warn us with a text message.  Rearranging cost us £10 admin charge.  I did ask for compensation online but I did not receive a reply.

Another issue I have is that car alarms go off continually throughout the journey.  (Red Funnel also has this problem).  Though annoying for normal passengers it can be extremely distressing for Autistic people including myself who can find the noise unbearable.  You might find the link to the National Autistic Society website useful in highlighting how difficult Autistic people find navigating the world & help you better understand our needs.


– Trevor

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