The charges are part of the council’s response to the national austerity agenda which means that it has less resources to apply to those services which it does not have to provide and must prioritise its funding to those services which it must provide by law.
In many of these services such as adult social care the need and therefore the cost is also increasing as the level of resources is falling.
Travel will continue to be free for concessionary bus pass holders and those aged unde 19, but other users will pay 40p for a return trip return. Tickets will initially be available from staff located in both Cowes and East Cowes although this will remain under review following the introduction of the charges and a mechanised system will be introduced in February 2016.
Later this year a smartcard style system will be put in place and those with a card will be able to continue travel for the 40p return. Charges for those not obtaining a smartcard will rise to 70p return as announced earlier this year.
The decision to introduce the charges was made by the Full Council in February.
Isle of Wight Council Executive member for economy and tourism, Councillor Shirley Smart, said:
“It is well known that the council is under severe financial pressures and we must do all we can to raise income from services for which we do not have a statutory requirement to provide.
“We have sought to ensure elderly and young people will not be affected by the reintroduction of charges. For those who will be required to buy a ticket from 20 July, we feel that the initial charge of 40p return is very fair.”
Vehicle charges for the floating bridge will not be affected once the passenger charges come in.