Vehicles wishing to drive up the historic 205-year-old structure currently pay a £1 toll fee at the entrance. This entitles each motorist to 30 minutes of free parking – enough time to drive up the pier, drop off/pick up catamaran passengers and drive back down to dry land.
Now, Wightlink has announced that the pier toll will increase by 100% from Sunday 15th September with the new cash price set at £2. This is the first increase in 8 years and is said to reflect the cost of repairs and maintenance of the pier structure.
The installation of a new, faster entry system does mean that contactless payment through bank cards and smartphones will now be accepted by the cross-Solent operator. Those opting to use the modern payment method will pay a pier toll of £1.30 – 70p cheaper than those paying by coin, but still 30p more expensive than it is today.
In a notice to passengers, Wightlink has said:
“This is the first increase since 2011 and reflects the cost of repairs and maintenance of the 205 year old Grade Two listed structure.
“Wightlink invested £5.5million refurbishing Ryde Pier in 2010. Since then, further repairs and maintenance has cost £2.6million. Work currently underway involves wrapping the pier’s concrete piles in carbon fibre to protect them from corrosiion at a cost of £155,000.
“Ryde Pier is the UK’s oldest working pier and the second-longest. We are very conscious of its heritage and are determined to keep it in good condition. Increasing the toll in line with inflation helps us defrayed the cost of repairs and maintenance.
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“We’ve listened to many customers that told us they would like to pay the piuer toll by card or smartphone and this new barrier entry system gives this option”.
The new entry system installation will begin today (Monday) and will go live at 16:00 on Sunday 15th September. Season ticket holders with 30-day parking ticket can continue to access the pier for free.
UPDATE @ 10:15 – Wightlink have confirmed that the parking charges remain unchanged. The pier toll of £2 – or £1.30 if paying by card – will secure entry to the pier and includes 30 minutes of waiting time.
The cost of parking at the pier will begin at £2 for 2 hours, plus the £2 or £1.30 toll fee – a total of £4 for 2 hours parking, or £3.30 if paying by card.