Letter of the Day: Shift Wightlink to the ferryport now

A Wightlink ferry leaving Portsmouth
A Wightlink ferry leaving Portsmouth
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Starting with problems caused to the America’s Cup shuttle bus service and every weekend since, including chaos when there was a link span problem causing incoming ferries to be diverted to the Portsmouth International Port (PIP), parts of the Portsmouth road system have been blocked and bus services disrupted by Wightlink not being able to accommodate Isle of Wight-bound vehicles within its Old Portsmouth marshalling areas.

This is a nonsense.

On a Friday and Saturday of different weekends when I observed the Wightlink traffic problems, I checked out the PIP, which was functioning smoothly. Yet there was clearly plenty of spare capacity in the almost-empty terminal building and smoothly-flowing parking lanes.

Presumably, if were there to be serious congestion, the PIP will have contingency arrangements to overflow into any spare space at the park & ride site before stacking back along the M275 – but certainly not jamming up the centre of Portsmouth as Wightlink customers do regularly.

Moving Wightlink services to the PIP would take 1,000,000+ vehicles (including HGVs and coaches) out of Portsmouth city centre each year (a bypass without laying any Tarmac) and free up a commercially-valuable waterside site to maybe provide Gunwharf some expansion space and perhaps a site for a top-end hotel.

Wightlink should grab the opportunity of moving to provide easy off-the-motorway connections through a modern ferry port already offering two-level deck loading, saving their customers a time-consuming journey around a busy city centre and giving the company something to counter Red Funnel’s proposed East Cowes development and possible relocation of the Southampton terminal in the Eastern Docks off the recently-improved Platform Road.

CM Burns

Fawcett Road, Southsea