I love the Wightlink Fastcat, it is efficient, the staff are great and it is clean! I feel safe and looked after. My favourite view of Ryde is from the Fastcat when I’m coming home. Just as the fastcat slows down to dock you get a beautiful view of the sea and the town against the hill.
However I have 9 unused trips on my Multi Link pass, trips I would normally have used in November and December visiting friends and family on the mainland, going shopping, to the theatre and cinema.
I now have an additional Wightlink pass for my car which I am using. I feel I have to do this because there is no longer a reliable service between Ryde and Portsmouth in the evenings. This is an expensive contribution to global warming that I’d rather not make. I would prefer to use public transport for the whole of my journey.
The reason I’m using my car and restricting my visits to the mainland is because I do not want to end up as a lone woman traveler having to walk through Portsmouth and Fishbourne at night, nor do I want to stand on the main road on my own waiting in the cold for the bus. If I have luggage or shopping the walk to public transport from the car ferry is long.
Donna Jones, (Police and Crime Commissioner for Hampshire and the Isle of Wight) reminds people walking at night that they should stick to busy well- lit areas.
In Portsmouth the Transport interchange is well lit and busy, but at night this is often with groups of men who have visited a few pubs, to get to the Car Ferry you then have to decide whether to, walk alongside the dockyard wall where it is difficult to follow the advice of crossing the road if you see people you would like to avoid as there are railings along much of the footpath, or to use the subway and walk through Gunwharf Quays. The latter seems the obvious choice until you think about the subway which is well lit but a confined space and where you can’t see who is at the other end.
In Fishbourne you have to walk along a deserted residential street where the houses are set back from the road, I could get dramatic and quote Alien here! The main road is fast and the bus stop is isolated from the houses you rarely see people there at night.
The prospect of using the car ferry as a pedestrian to end a trip to the mainland is daunting, the antithesis of pleasurable, something I would only do as an emergency. This is not a viable alternative to a regular FastCat service.