GOVERNMENT NOT COUNCIL MUST STEP IN OVER CROSS-SOLENT FERRIES SAYS TRANSPORT LEAD

Cllr Phil Jordan

‘Absolute nonsense’ was the response of the Isle of Wight Council’s transport lead to a claim by a government minister it is up to the authority to impose a public service obligation on Solent ferry firms.

Isle of Wight MP Bob Seely asked in parliament on Thursday if it was right the Isle of Wight has public ferry services without any sense of this obligation. The Island is served by 3 main operatives, Red Funnel, Wightlink and Hovertravel, which are all privately-owned companies, with no service obligations.

On the order of questions for the Department for Transport (DfT) session in the Commons, Mr Seely asked what assessment the DfT has made of the potential merits of imposing a PSO on vehicle and passenger services between the Island and the mainland.

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A Public Service Organisation (PSO), by EU transport law, is an arrangement between a governing body and a contract-winning company, whereby the company is obliged to operate a specific level of service.

Mr Seely asked whether transport ministers and secretary of state, Grant Shapps, could give him an example of anywhere else in the UK where a true lifeline service had no PSO attached to them.

Responding, Robert Courts MP, parliamentary under secretary at the DfT, said Mr Seely was a longstanding advocate of improving the services for the Island on which the pair had spoken many times. He said:

“Mr Seely will know service provision to the Island is a matter for the local council, working with service operators.

“Nonetheless, the government will continue to monitor the service on the route.”

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However, the Isle of Wight Council’s cabinet member for transport and infrastructure, Cllr Phil Jordan, said it was absolute nonsense. He said:

“If it were in our powers, we would have been talking to the ferry companies along those lines a very, very long time ago.

“This is absolutely a matter for the government. It is not a matter the council can deal with without the assistance and regulatory powers of government.”

Cllr Jordan has said he has had brief, initial discussions with Mr Seely about regulating the ferries and asked whether Mr Seely felt government had changed its views and if it was worthy of us considering a new approach for PSO regulations.

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According to Cllr Jordan, Mr Seely did not know but if you don’t ask, you don’t get.

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isle of wighter
isle of wighter
2 months ago

Interference from the government in ferry services, will only ensure that the owners of the ferries, indicate that they require public cash to achieve what is being expected and will not invest one penny of revenue into service improvements unless it is supported with taxpayer cash. Cue tax rises to pay for it.

As the fear of the business failing disappears with government underpinning it, the employees will end up just like the old nationalised industries of years gone by – slow, cumbersome, bureaucratic, entrenched militant unions and stagnation due to a lack of fear of job losses, as they will be on strike the minute an MP speaks.

isle of wighter
isle of wighter
Reply to  isle of wighter
2 months ago

eg. public service obligations were place on the airline route from Newquay to heathrow, which as of last year, British Airways were being paid £125k a month of public money to run the route. This is paid by Cornwall council.

It is fair to say, that the Isle of Wight council and subsequently, Island residents would be paying extra council tax for this in a “ferry levy”

there is no free lunch – you want round the clock ferry services at cheap prices, you will still pay, through higher taxes.

Steve
Steve
Reply to  isle of wighter
2 months ago

What on earth are you on about. All we get from you is drivel

isle of wighter
isle of wighter
Reply to  Steve
2 months ago

steve -clearly the subject matter is above your level -go back to sleep – the adults are talking.

Robert Axton
Robert Axton
Reply to  isle of wighter
2 months ago

Spot on.

Nick Black
Nick Black
Reply to  isle of wighter
2 months ago

It would be bad enough if Government intervention was required, outside of enforcing a PSO.
Heaven help EVERYONE if it were to fall to the IoW Council to be directly involved!

Tim Brayford
Tim Brayford
2 months ago

Apart from all the bickering it won’t happen because the IWC fear that the ferry companies will simply withdraw their services (Source: IWC Document)

Have some empathy!
Have some empathy!
Reply to  Tim Brayford
2 months ago

Fixed link all the way!

Jane
Jane
2 months ago

As I keep seeing mentioned everywhere Cllr Jordan, why do you and the council keep ignoring an alternative & reliable way on & off, i.e a fixed link, or at least the viability study that is ready to start by Arup, or an airport? We need more ways to get on & off, not just the ferries

Sir Digby Chicken Caesar
Sir Digby Chicken Caesar
2 months ago

Build a bridge, sod the ferry companies. Money grabbing at it’s finest.

Lee
Lee
Reply to  Sir Digby Chicken Caesar
2 months ago

Years ago I would have never wanted a bridge, but nowdays with all the Ferry delays etc
It’s the only way.
If you take a day trip to the Mainland due to Ferries being cancelled etc
It can take 2+ hours to get from Fishbourne to Portsmouth and 2+ hours on the return journey and that’s before you drive to your destination on the Mainland
It’s ridiculous

You can fly to Spain quicker

Peter Jeffries
Peter Jeffries
2 months ago

It’s about time ferry fares were sorted. They strangle the IOW economy especially in summer. You can get a cheap all inclusive hol in Spain with flights for less than what peak summer IOW ferries charge. It’s a joke. Doesn’t help the tourists or Islanders.

Frequent Flyer
Frequent Flyer
Reply to  Peter Jeffries
2 months ago

Care to give an example of this cheap all inclusive hol in Spain with flights for less than a ferry fare. My family of 4 would be up for that. Where can I sign up for it?

Hope Springs
Hope Springs
2 months ago

PSO will be unaffordable until ferries taken into public ownership. Don’t hold your breath.
Meanwhile, Comrade Seely would be delighted if somebody would pour yet more revenue into his brother’s firm.

John Doe
John Doe
2 months ago

I seem to remeber the CAT runing an hourly service until 00:15 and half hourly in the summer.The fishbourne car ferry would run at least an hourly service until midnight.All with additional staff on standby.
Wightlink made a profit running this service.New owners and greed then took over as did a blatent disregard for commuters and anyone else who has NO CHOICE but to use this service.
A tunnel or a PSO is the only way to bring these companies back into line

 

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