Do ferry costs scare scooterists away to Brighton?

Has the cost of the ferry crossing affected the turnout for the Isle of Wight International Scooter Rally?

Ferry fares are being hotly debated this month, with August bringing about the advent of a petition to regulate pricing – the Island MP has written to the government seeking lower cost crossings too.

Islanders have been speculating on social media whether the cost of crossing the Solent has dampened summer visitor numbers.

The Bank Holiday Weekend (August 25 – 27) saw the annual Isle of Wight International Scooter Rally take place in Ryde, some Islanders expected less scooterists this year due to the cost of the ferry – claiming riders were choosing Brighton’s scooter rally instead.

IW Observer spoke to scooter riders who were visiting from all over the mainland to find out if the ferry fare influenced their decision on where to ride out this year.

‘Great actually’

Justina Read – photo by Joe Burn

Justina Read from Buckinghamshire said her group of friends always come to the Isle of Wight rally rather Brighton.

She said: “[The ferry crossing] was great actually. I don’t think it was too bad, we did it through the hotel, so it was £180 for the room and the ferry.”

‘Very expensive weekend’

Neville Packham and his scooter – by Joe Burn

Another scooter rider from Leatherhead, Neville Packham, paid £45.50 return to get his scooter to the Island.

He’s done the Brighton rally for the last five years and said the ferry pricing has affected his decision to come the Isle of Wight previously.

“It’s a very expensive weekend,” said Mr Packham.

‘I like to alternate it’

Scott Hill got his ferry price down by booking “obscure times”

“I like to alternate it, sometimes I do Brighton, sometimes I do Isle of Wight, depending on how I feel,” said Scott Hill from Cornwall.

Mr Hill explained he would not visit the Island every year because of the extra ferry costs compared to visiting Brighton’s rally.

He added: “I catch it from Lymington and it seems to be a little bit pricier than it is from Portsmouth or Southampton, but it’s more convenient because I come up from Cornwall.

“I wish it was cheaper but that’s the way it goes. It doesn’t put me off but I wouldn’t do it every year, because of the price. We managed to get it for £157 this year, return. That’s the three of us. But we had to pick some really obscure times for it to be cheap. We had to catch the last one which was 10.05pm and we’ve got to catch the 7.50am on Monday. So to get cheap prices, you’ve got to go for really weird times.”

‘It’s not a problem’

James Wright rode 200 miles and didn’t complain about ferry costs

James Wright had travelled 200 miles from Norwich on his scooter to be at the Isle of Wight rally, he said the ferry pricing doesn’t affect his decision to come here.

Mr Wright said: “It’s £15.60 each way, so it’s not a problem on the scooter.”

‘Very accommodating’

Neil Gordon thinks the Isle of Wight is “always the place to go”

Neil Gordon from Gloucester said: “Isle of Wight is always the place to go. It’s just great fun. I mean look at all the scooters here, it’s just chilled out, never any hassle. Red Funnel Ferries always do a good deal so no, [it doesn’t affect my decision to come here].

“And they were very accommodating, the amount of scooterists who broke down on the way here and they managed to reboot. For example, we broke down and we managed to get on the ferry four hours later – they were great.”

‘I suppose you get used to it’

Dave from Farnham and his scooter, he likes the vibe better on the Island than Brighton

Dave from Farnham said: “This is more of our scene, we’re not Mods, we’d rather come here. We’ve come here for years. It does [affect our decision to come here]. It’s getting expensive, it always goes up, but I suppose you get used to it.”

Dave’s friend, Andy, from Aldershot said: “Come over in June for Lambretta Day – £26.50. Come over today [August 25] £45.50 – tell me why? It’s getting silly.”

Ryde was noticeably busy on Saturday (August 25) during the middle of the day when IW Observer visited, however the following day was less busy – the rain could have affected the amount of people riding out and spectating.