Nicholas Finney's letter to the County Press

BETTER FERRY CAMPAIGN

Dear Sir

Mr Bowman from London is misguided in his letter.

The commercial viability of Wightlink is affected far more by the very high level of debts and the unsustainable cost structure than it can ever be by the actions or inactions of the Better Ferry Campaign. He will be interested to know from published accounts that average earnings per employee at Red Funnel have remained fairly static even dropped slightly at £25,380 per annum over the last five years whereas Wightlink’s have risen from £32,652 per annum to £41,663 per annum. Clearly further analysis and explanation is needed.

We believe that Wightlink continues to lose market share to Red Funnel. They will find it difficult to respond given the constraints imposed by their capital structure and their cost profile. Hovertravel are continuing to grow and reinvest.

Our objective is not to buy any company on the cheap (as if that was possible?) but to identify ways of restructuring the business so that it can re-focus on providing more flexible and affordable services for the Island community as a whole.

In this regard we remain committed to a solution which incorporates a significant community interest component.

We are extremely grateful to the almost 4,000 people who have signed up so far through the website and social media We have been working diligently and hard to find practical solutions to address the myriad of concerns expressed by our supporters whose real life experiences cannot fail to have been noted (and we hope acted upon) by the ferry companies.

We are engaged in a constructive dialogue with all the ferry operators or their shareholders. At this stage we have been asked not to negotiate in public and we will respect that wish.

Connectivity with the Island is a vital part of our ability as a community to grow the economy of the Island. We want to ensure that the quality of life is improved for businesses and residents. But it’s going to take time to deliver enduring solutions for all of the Islands connected transport infrastructure so Mr Bowman needs to show a little patience.

The Better Ferries campaign is not going away.

Nicholas Finney

Campaign manager: Better Ferries Campaign

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