A FERRY company has been criticised after increasing its fares, including those for children and the elderly.
Gosport Ferry has increased all return tickets by 10p and a ten-trip ticket by 50p to £13.50.
It is the first time in two years the firm has increased the fare for youngsters and senior citizens, up to £1.90 from £1.80.
An adult will now pay £2.90, up from £2.80 for a return ticket.
Jeremy Webb, 46, of Monckton Road, in Alverstoke, Gosport, uses the ferry.
He said: ‘We’re being held to ransom.
‘I think it’s about time the people of Gosport stood up and had a voice about it.
‘It’s a lot of money when wages are frozen.’
Councillor Graham Burgess is the deputy leader of Gosport Borough Council.
He said the firm should look at reducing the frequency of crossings between Portsmouth to Gosport during non-peak times.`
He said: ‘They have a duty of care to the users.
‘In the sense that those who commute from Portsmouth to Gosport and Gosport to Portsmouth daily, I think they should be looking after them.
‘If it’s a case of keeping the fares down and perhaps reducing one ferry an hour, then that’s something that could be looked at.
‘We need the peak service in the morning, lunchtime in the evening, but perhaps during the day a slower service but with reduced prices.’
But general manager Keith Edwards said reducing frequency is not on the cards.
He said passenger numbers have dropped nine per cent to around 3m last year and the parent firm, Falkland Island Holding plc, has its financial accounts due out soon.
He said: ‘We’ve only put them up by the minimum inflationary rate.
‘In fact the child and OAP is the first increase to go on for two years.
‘That’s the same for bicycles and motorbikes.
‘We hoped they might have stabilised by now but unfortunately that doesn’t appear to be the case and we’re still losing passengers.
‘And the costs of everything continue to rise.
‘By applying the minimum inflationary increase to ticket prices we’re able to sustain the level of service that we have done.’