Phil Jelly, Ryde:

In last week's County Press there was a report concerning the poor service operated by our ferry companies.

I don't know if anybody has picked up on the term used by Keith Greenfield from Wightlink when he said 'scheduled services'.

'Scheduled services' are not the same as timetabled services. Let me explain by quoting an example from a few years ago when I regularly attended Wightlink Forum meetings.

At the time (pre-Covid), Wightlink had 24 daily return catamarans on their Portsmouth to Ryde service using two catamarans.

When one broke down it took a couple of weeks to repair it and Wightlink were forced to cancel six return sailings a day (25 per cent).

This caused complete chaos with passengers unable at times to board because a service was full.

I thought that when the performance figures were announced for this period they would be very poor.

I was surprised to see the usual figures of just under 100 per cent for services that had operated on time.

Naturally I raised this at the next Forum meeting. I was told that a revised timetable was put in place because of the breakdown and performance figures were based on that, thus removing the 'cancelled' services from the timetable.

A perfectly legal procedure, I was told.

So, there you are. There may well have been only 215 cancellations in the last 12 months but I am sure there were a lot more rescheduled services!

If the service you were booked on does not run you have not suffered a cancellation because the ferry company will transport you across the Solent perhaps an hour later than planned or maybe a few hours later.

They have done their job and got you across the Solent.

It does not matter to them that your life has been disrupted, appointments missed or you arrived late for events etc.

To the ferry company you are just like a 'sack of potatoes' that needs to get from one side of the Solent to the other.

Provided you are deposited at your destination at some stage, then their job is done!