The lack of a late night FastCat crossing between Portsmouth and Ryde, has quite rightly attracted a lot of attention.

Stopping a service at 8.20pm questions whether the term “service” should be used at all.

I have had regular discussions with Keith Greenfield regarding this, to his credit he is always courteous and does respond to questions, but the main aim of his job is to make money from ferry travel.

An aim that is at odds with a regular late night crossing it appears.

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My views on the ownership of the ferry companies are well known, privately owned ferry companies will always put profit and shareholder return first, no number of petitions or empty words from our MP will change that.

As the ownership of Wightlink is unlikely to change in the favour of passengers any time soon, we need to find a solution that provides a late night crossing.

The main issue appears to be cost, Wightlink say there aren’t enough passengers to make a late night service viable.

So it would make sense to find an answer to this issue.

Based on the running costs of a return service, it should be possible to run a trial late night crossing on a Friday and Saturday night (say 11pm to Ryde) for six months for less than £100k.

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That’s assuming there are no passengers buying tickets.

Our MP could ask the minister for transport to stump up £50k of that and ask Wightlink to invest the other £50k.

If the minister were to provide the money via the council, should the crossing prove popular.

Wightlink and the Isle of Wight Council could share the profit. It might also be an option to allow organisations or individuals to “sponsor” a crossing, with all ticket sales going to the sponsoring organisation.

I appreciate this isn’t the perfect solution, ideally we would have regular and reliable crossings every day of the week that allow for commuting and pleasure, but we seem stuck in a loop of us as customers telling Wightlink what we want and Wightlink telling us why we can’t have it.

Surely it’s worth trying something different?

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