The good news is, we can congratulate Hovertravel for reacting quickly, to take up the gap in ferry services announced by Wightlink this week.

Unfortunately, they can’t do the same for the reduced Red Funnel service, but it is encouraging to see that one of the cross-Solent operators has Islanders at the top of its list of priorities.

We have all come to understand there is a price to pay for being separated from the rest of the country by water.

We reluctantly pay the price in both travel time and (sometimes) exorbitant fares, set at a level both companies assure us are necessary to maintain a year-round service.

Some Islanders, and our MP, even have sympathy with the ferry companies.  

Any such sympathy evaporates when we see them take £10.5 million of government money to “stay afloat” during this crisis, yet still reduce the service we receive.

This proves without doubt, that cross-Solent transport is, in fact, a public service. This should be the case all the time, not just during a crisis.

They should stop paying dividends. There should also be a reassurance, that post Covid-19, we won’t be in a situation where tens of millions of pounds are privately retained when times are good, yet losses are met by the public purse.

During last year's election, Island Labour called for nationalisation to ensure the crossings were regular and at a reasonable price. Our MP, in one of his many u-turns, called for the same during the last lockdown (though he has gone very quiet on his “Island Deal”).  

Our council now find themselves having to defend the ferry companies - a situation they should not be in.

The government has been forced into re-nationalising failed rail franchises. The same should apply to the ferry operators. 

We all help them make exceptional profits the rest of the time, they now need  to help Islanders during these exceptional times.

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