Richard Quigley proposes legal measures for fair Solent ferry fares

Louise Haigh and Richard Quigley

Island Labour have been in talks with the shadow transport team since November 2023, after the Isle of Wight West Labour candidate for the General Election on 4th July, Richard Quigley, met with Shadow transport minister Louise Haigh (pictured above).

Richard explained this week,

“Louise was extremely keen to hear about the issues with cross Solent transport.

“Her first reaction was to say, ‘Isle of Wight, it’s really expensive to get there isn’t it?’”

Following the initial meeting, Louise gave Richard access to her team to work on a solution to the problem we are all facing, trying to cross the Solent.

Richard said,

“The ideal solution would be the regulation of fares and timetables, through the Office of Rail and Road (ORR), the official regulator, which will require primary legislation.

“The Island’s outgoing MP Bob Seely’s idea of a regulatory bill would have to apply to all ferry operators in England, not just cross Solent operators. The Island needs the focus to be on cross Solent transport, not action on the Woolwich ferry.”

Detailed report on the issues and possible solutions
Richard Quigley went on to add,

“After speaking to Louise, I have been working with several residents, with expertise in the area, and we have written a detailed report on the issues and possible solutions.

“The report includes data from the Wightlink Users Group, passenger complaints and reliability data. Our aim is that the Island has a loud and clear voice in this matter. This has now been passed to the Shadow Transport Team.”

Richard said a representative from the Shadow Transport Team had told him that they were completely ‘baffled’ why no one had dealt with this before now, adding that the last meaningful action was taken by the then MP Andrew Turner referring the ferry operators to the competition and markets authority in 2009.

Quigley: The roulette wheel of private equity
He said,

“Bob Seely promised action in 2018 and yet nothing has happened.

“We need to take ferry ownership away from the roulette wheel of private equity. They sell it on every few years, leading to higher fares to cover the increased debt. A new referral to the competition and markets authority needs to take place.

“Outside of re-nationalisation, I would ask any new owner to either site their head office on the Island, or commit to at least 50% of their senior team living here as currently, neither ferry operator has a board member living on the Island.

“I’d also ask that cross Solent transport comes under the Minister for Rail, rather than Aviation and Maritime, as is the case now. The routes are important for tourism, but this is an issue of economic and social well-being, dare I say, survival, for the residents of the Isle of Wight.”

This article first appeared in ‘On The Wight’ here – Richard Quigley proposes legal measures for fair Solent ferry fares (

Similar Posts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *