"Probe should look at Multi-link tickets" - Nicholas Finney's letter to the Isle of Wight County Press 24.10.14

Press Release

Read below Nicholas Finney’s letter to the County Press, regarding the way in which Multi-link tickets are sold and travel restricted. Published in The Isle of Wight County Press on October the 24th, 2014.

Dear Editor.

The Better Ferry Campaign (BFC) has received so many complaints about the policy being adopted by Wightlink regarding the way in which Multi-link tickets are sold and then travel restricted that we have decided to take the issue up publicly and to push for an urgent change in policy by Wightlink.

Anyone reading the comments on the BFC web site (or the ‘Are Wightlink the Right Link’ Facebook page) will see the real anger that is building over this issue. What in practice appears to be the policy adopted by the company – although we are more than willing to publish Wightlink’s side of the story – is that Wightlink are allowing Islanders to buy batches of tickets for travel in advance, costing many hundreds of pounds, and are then restricting, on a seemingly random basis, usage of those tickets depending on a quota fixed for each crossing. Wightlink staff make clear that the number of spaces available for Multi-link tickets is a closely guarded secret.

So once the allocated number of Multi-link spaces on a particular ferry has been filled, no one else can book using a Multi-link ticket on that crossing. But what our contributors are reporting is that there are empty places on those same crossings which can be secured using a normal fare or even a discounted ticket. This is a blatant discrimination against Islanders and should be stopped. There can be no justification that we can think of to apply such a sanction against advance ticket holders, and because of the secrecy behind the quota system we believe that this verges on sharp practice. Multi-link ticket sales give a very significant cash flow advantage to Wightlink – it is almost unbelievable that they think they can get away with disadvantaging their regular travellers in this way.

We hear rumours of a premium Multi-link ticket being introduced, presumably to make up a perceived revenue loss if the current practice stopped. That will fool no one. Wightlink claims to be part of Island life. Well its time that business practices like this were brought to an abrupt end and Island residents treated like first class passengers not third class cash cows.

Nicholas Finney.

Better Ferry Campaign

You can also read the response from Wightlink chief executive, John Burrows, here.

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