Bob Seely and Wightlink

Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely says that Wightlink’s apology for cancelling services on Friday is ‘frankly not good enough’, given their increasingly poor record of reliability.

This article first appeared in the Island Echo here – https://www.islandecho.co.uk/wightlink-apology-not-good-enough-says-sitting-mp/

As first reported by Island Echo, the cross-Solent operator cancelled a number of services yesterday (Friday) which has impacted those heading to and from the Isle of Wight for the Bank Holiday weekend.

Speaking about the disruption, current Member of Parliament Bob Seely has said:

“To have such a disrupted service on a bank holiday weekend not only hits Islanders but costs Island businesses money. The ferries’ unreliability is hitting our Island economy as well as inconveniencing individual Islanders.

“My recent report into the ferries has shown that the ferries have become less reliable, slower, less frequent and more expensive than they were two decades ago.

“I had hoped that after Covid they would reset their relationship with the Island and frankly do a better job, given the public money given to them and their status as a lifeline service. Sadly, the opposite has happened. In particular, their staffing levels don’t seem to be good enough to offer a reliable service and there are rumours that the firms are cutting back on their servicing to save money to pay their owners.

“It is not good enough. I am campaigning to get a better deal. We need a better deal.

“First, I will be encouraging and doing what I can to help new services to compete with Wightlink and Red Funnel, which between them have over £400 million pounds of debt, the majority of it borrowed to pay their owners – not for investing in services.

“Second, we need regulation of service not only to encourage competition but also to protect the interests of the Island, which as far as I can see come last in the ferry firms’ calculations.

“Next week, prior to Parliamentary dissolution, I will be publishing figures on how often Red Funnel cancel services based on staffing shortages or poor servicing.”

It was on Friday morning that Mr Seely presented a Bill to Parliament calling for ferry regulation.

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