Isle of Wight’s Wightlink criticized for cashless Covid policy

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Residents of the Isle of Wight have criticized Wightlink for refusing to accept cash payments for its services, out of concern for vulnerable and elderly people who may have no other method of payment.

A number of residents across the island have contacted the county press in recent weeks, expressing their displeasure with the new policy.

The cross-Solent operator says the decision was made two years ago to protect its customers and staff from the spread of Covid-19 through cash management.

“I actually can’t believe it,” said Paul Logan, 78, of Ryde.

“I have a bank card but it is a matter of strong principle concerning all the inhabitants of the island.

“It’s shocking, it’s ridiculous. They told me they only accept a bank card.

“Nobody refuses cash. If the buses wanted a bank card for everyone who makes one or two stops, it would cause an uproar.

“I checked with Hovertravel and they said ‘of course we accept cash’.

“It is of particular concern for the elderly and the vulnerable. People have to travel to the mainland for hospital.

“Imagine if an old lady who goes to Portsmouth for treatment does not have her card, arrives at the dock and is turned away.”

A spokesperson for the ferry company said: “Wightlink welcomes payments by credit and debit cards, through the Wightlink website and smartphone app, at ticket machines in all ports and through payment systems. smartphone such as Apple Pay.

“This decision was made at the start of the Covid-19 pandemic in 2020, to protect customers and staff from the spread of coronavirus through the handling of cash.

“Many customers are using contactless cards and payment devices that are quick and convenient and reduce wait times.

“Over the past two years, Wightlink has received less than 30 complaints about this policy.”

In a letter to the editor, Steve Styles, from Portsmouth, told the county press: “In April I had gone to the ticket office at Wightlink’s Portsmouth Harbor with the intention of buying a return ticket to Ryde.

“I waited to pay cash but was told they don’t accept cash.

“All my life good ol’ cash has been accepted but now I find it’s not good enough for some and I’m treated like there’s something wrong with me for even asking to make a cash payment.

“I have no problem if people want to pay by card, but what about choice?”

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