NEW FERRY SERVICE TO AND FROM THE ISLE OF WIGHT ON THE CARDS

A consortium of Island businesses and key figures are working on plans to introduce a new community ferry service across the Solent, acting as competition to the duopoly of Wightlink and Red Funnel.

Currently, there are 3 vehicle ferry services operating to and from the Island; Fishbourne-Portsmouth and Yarmouth-Lymington operated by Wightlink and Red Funnel’s East Cowes-Southampton. However, under initial plans being put together, a 4th service would be introduced to run to and from Portsmouth.

The proposal will no doubt be labelled a pie in the sky idea by many Islanders, especially given the huge start-up costs involved including the purchasing of ferries, terminal development and associated roadworks – not to mention the inevitable years of planning applications and authority approvals.

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The mysterious consortium has requested support in principle from the Isle of Wight Council for the proposed development of this new community ferry service. Next month the Council will decide on whether or not to issue a letter of support at this early stage.

It’s said that the consortium will be consulting the public and key agencies about the principle of the proposal, but, to date, nothing has been made public about the idea and who is behind it. It’s also unknown how long such a major project would take to implement.

Many will be hoping for a low-cost operation that undercuts both Wightlink and Red Funnel, who have in recent years raised prices whilst cutting the service provided. Both ferry operators have also been marred by numerous accidents and breakdowns.

Would you support the introduction of a community ferry service? Have your say in the comments section below!

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The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Martin Shoebridge
Martin Shoebridge
10 days ago

Think what businesses would benefit…. The frequent users…. Supermarkets,parcel carriers,tankers,waste disposal. Would they have £50M + to invest? Would they get a return on that investment? I could see a smaller scale operation working with 2 shifts running- early morning and early evening only with maybe 50-100 car capacity….

highpark harry
highpark harry
10 days ago

There has been independent operators over the years and none have lasted long !!
I the council is involved may be they can donate the Chain Ferry …

Joe Blogs
Joe Blogs
Reply to  highpark harry
10 days ago

That would break down more than the current ferries.

Oldbutalive
Oldbutalive
10 days ago

Would be great to have proper competition amongst the ferry operators other than continual price increase and poorer service.

plato
plato
Reply to  Oldbutalive
10 days ago

The duopoly wont allow that to happen. They will work together like they have in the past to put the newcomer out of business.

Bird table
Bird table
10 days ago

I would have thought the best option would be to buy land and develop a new pier on the island and run fast passenger ferries to Southampton and Portsmouth. It may end up just being the death of the Hover though. Or Nationalise the ferry infrastructure and franchise the routes. IWC though is not a big enough entity to achieve any of this, DfT, and tah dah!!! levelling up eh!

The greatest
The greatest
10 days ago

Seems like a big waste of time to me….only one bus company that costs the earth and nobody can afford to use it.
You can travel around the whole of southampton for £1.50……
Why people think they can just pop up a new ferry company and it will succeed is beyond me…have they got bored of the fixed link idea now lol

Peter Gladman
Peter Gladman
10 days ago

Why not buy one of the existing companies and run it for the public not the shareholders.The infrastructure is already there and purchasing new and (hopefully) more reliable vessels could work out cheaper.

Rob
Rob
10 days ago

When the overheads and costs remain the same it is impossible to run a reasonably priced service even a not for profit company as they will still need to cover all the costs including all the set up debts. The reason why previous attempts have failed, Cowes Express and Scoot.

Paul Pelosi
Paul Pelosi
10 days ago

Any initiative that puts the two existing rip-off ferry companies on notice is to be welcomed.

Dave
Dave
10 days ago

So every one on here should be shouting from the rooftops and letting wight link and red funnel know we are 100% behind this new service. No it might not here for 5 years but come on someone out there is trying to get us a better and cheaper service.
So get behind them and see if we the Islanders can make a difference for once, instead of always complaining while sitting at home .
I for one think it’s a brilliant idea .

Joe Blogs
Joe Blogs
10 days ago

I don’t think the current ferries make much of a profit, so how will another operator cope?It’ll just dilute the profits even more and result in fewer ferries.

Lord lucan
Lord lucan
10 days ago

Wouldn’t a airport like what Jersey has, be a better option?

Chartman
Chartman
Reply to  Lord lucan
10 days ago

Shoreham tried to that and failed. Admittedly it was to France. How about bringing back into service those big cross channel Hovercraft? They were Awesome! New terminal on Ryde beach somewhere and another one on Southsea….

jan
jan
10 days ago

Been saying this for years . stiff competition is needed . Who needs fancy gimmicks o board when all we want to do is sit with a cuppa and get from A to B cheaply with a reliable service !!

It’s faster by rail!
It’s faster by rail!
10 days ago

We must be the only region in the developed world where people are seriously planning on inflicting outdated 19th century communication applications to a 21st century communication issue.

Anywhere else in the developed world would have built an under-the-Solent fast rail link between the island and Southampton or Portsmouth years ago!

Relying on outdated, inefficient and highly expensive and unreliable ferry services as a short communication link between this island and the mainland given the repetitious chaos caused by weather, staff shortages, failing equipment and severe cutbacks in ferry frequency would not be tolerated anywherelse!

isle of wighter
isle of wighter
Reply to  It’s faster by rail!
7 days ago

stop peddling your tunnel feeney – we know its you and your mates, still trying to peddle that non starter.

Billy
Billy
9 days ago

i Say save there money and put it towards a bridge or tunnel and be be done with ferries!

Old school.
Old school.
9 days ago

Just a way of getting paid off: create noise, gain support, look serious, sound serious, threaten their control. Get asked nicely by a man bearing gifts if you wouldn’t mind ‘being quiet’.
Seen it before.

Jonathan
Jonathan
9 days ago

As another reader said, We don’t need another 19th century solution to a modern world problem?! look at what other countries are doing, there either tunnelling or bridging yes it’s costly but at least you want get the staff holding the ferry companies to ransom or mechanical issues with a tunnel or bridge.
Food for thought.

Robbo
Robbo
9 days ago

The new ferry service to and from will not last long as many others have tried before

Tony
Tony
9 days ago

Whatever. Never will happen.

June
June
9 days ago

Definitely would support, more so if link was to Portsmouth via the tip of the Island i.e. Cowes location. Competition never hurt and if they can run a service (I use the word loosely) at a lower cost I cannot see anyone not being for it especially if they push the ECO side of things concerning running costs.

Jamie
Jamie
9 days ago

New ferry!!! Hahaha. Christ we can’t even get a ferry to cross the river Medina on a chain

Rob C
Rob C
9 days ago

Associated British Ports would not allow Cowes Express to land anywhere. It will do the same for any new venture. It could change now they don’t own Red Funnel but don’t hold your breath.

Ching Chong Chow at Chingford
Ching Chong Chow at Chingford
9 days ago

Well said mate, unfortunately some of the newer locals over here are so shortsighted that they don’t think of the big picture.
Short term gain, long term pain.
Some one said on this subject…what about our children and grand children, reg.local jobs, education and local economy etc.
It is exactly this reason why, we do not want or need a fixed link or more people on more ferries. End of !
Welcome to the Alamo.
And pull up the drawbridge.

Lorraine murton
Lorraine murton
9 days ago

Just build the tunnel so we can be free to travel
When ever we like ….

tom
tom
9 days ago

Only way to free us from these pirates of the solent is a fixed link. Don’t want one but we have no choice. Maybe a rail only link? Be a good compromise. Ferry companies are bleeding the island dry.

Dunbrowsin
Dunbrowsin
9 days ago

There is a company on companies house called wight gateway with some fairly influential directors whom are island based and a Ryde, seafront based address? Could this be the mystery company?

Justin
Justin
8 days ago

Better to have low cost ferry but come on bud a god dam bridge and be done with it should of done this 20 years ago. I left the island as its like a prison cheaper travel to and from would make people want to be there

Sunshine
Sunshine
8 days ago

Great for islanders in theory but will it work in practice? Let’s hope so.

Move forward, not back..
Move forward, not back..
8 days ago

Just build a tunnel, for train and vehicles… but not commercial vehicles or large vehicles, ie: motorhomes.. large lorries, coaches.. leave them for the ferries.. ferries are subject to weather.. so are not reliable.

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