Inflation busting increase in cost to drive up Ryde Pier

The cost of travelling up Ryde Pier by car is set to double for those paying cash, and will increase by 30% for others as Wightlink introduce a new vehicle entry system which will accept contactless card payments (except American Express), or Apple and Android Pay on smart phones.

The Pier toll will be increased to £1.30 for card and smartphone payments and £2 for cash. This is the first increase since 2011 and Wightlink says it reflects the cost of repairs and maintenance of the 205-year-old Grade Two listed structure.

Wightlink invested £5.5million refurbishing Ryde Pier in 2010. Since then, further repairs and maintenance has cost £2.6million. Work currently underway involves wrapping the pier’s concrete piles in carbon fibre to protect them from corrosion at a cost of £155,000.

Wightlink’s Chief Executive Keith Greenfield said: “Ryde Pier is the UK’s oldest working pier, and the second-longest. We are very conscious of its heritage and are determined to keep it in good condition. Increasing the toll in line with inflation helps us defray the cost of repairs and maintenance. Many customers have told us they would like to pay the pier toll by card or smartphone and this new barrier entry system gives them that option.”

The rate of inflation from 2011 to 2019 is 21% according to figures from the Office for National Statistics.

The new entry system is being installed during the week commencing Monday, September 9 and will come into operation at 4pm on Sunday 15 September.

A spokesman for Wightlink declined to give information on the revenue the pier has generated since the toll was introduced, other than it was ‘nowhere near’ recouping the costs of repairing and maintaining the pier. It was also confirmed that the new system would not issue receipts.