Bob Seely and Wightlink

Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely has complained about Wightlink and Red Funnel services to the Secretary of State for Transport, Mark Harper MP.

This article first appeared in the Island Echo. See here – MP SEELY OUTLINES CASE FOR FERRIES INQUIRY IN LETTER TO TRANSPORT SECRETARY – Island Echo – 24hr news, 7 days a week across the Isle of Wight

In a letter to Mr Harper, the Island’s MP set out why he believes access to the Isle of Wight is being damaged by the current practices and corporate structures of both firms.

MP Seely highlights several areas where the firms were failing; a lack of competition, slower services, fewer services, price inflation, more disruption through delays and cancellations, as well as increased debts.

Within the letter, MP Seely has said:

“The ferry firms are damaging the Island,”

“In recent years there has been a notable decline in the frequency of services as well as the speed of service. At the same time, both firms have invested little in their services, compared to the staggering level of debt that both have taken on.

“In the last year, the combination of fewer services, disrupted services and increased cost has reached a critical point. That’s why I decided to produce my study on the ferry firms last month.

“We need change. We need a better deal from the ferry firms.”

Seely said that whilst Wightlink has raised loans of £175 million, it had invested little in passenger services.

Seely told the Secretary of State:

“Operating profits could have been used to invest in new infrastructure, service resilience and better quality services; but have instead largely been used to pay lenders and shareholders who have made little capital investment in the business.”

Mr Seely also reminded the Secretary of State of the government’s commitment to an accessible and well-connected transport system across the country and asked on what grounds the government would support an inquiry to investigate the issues further.

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