Isle of Wight Railway Fares

Isle of Wight Times February 14, 1878

To the Editor of the Isle of Wight Times &c. Dear Sir, – I was very pleased to see your able and exhaustive article in your issue of the 31st ult., on the high fares charged on the Isle of Wight Railway. “High” does not properly express my meaning, but anyone can suggest to themselves a more appropriate adjective. Only this week I was in a commercial room in Ryde, and heard the gentlemen of the road speaking in unmeasured terms of the charges between Ryde and Ventnor and Ryde and Newport. There can be no doubt the charges are exceptional – or that this Company cannot exist by pursuing a policy the reverse of that adopted by large companies – indeed by all. Others lower fares and prosper; this one increases fares and anything but prospers. Several of these commercial gentlemen expressed their determination to travel by coach where there is a coach service, and I need not say what a large proportion of the general public would prefer to do so – for time is certainly not a greater object to the masses than it is to commercials – if there were only a number of coach services. I am pleased to hear that a char-a-banc is to run between Ryde and Ventnor, and once started no doubt this will not long run alone. Before such services are supplied, persons can travel more cheaply and pleasantly by three or four joining in the expense of a cab, and it seems to me all that is needed is for some persons to be appointed to keep aboard the steamers and inform the passengers, before landing, of how matters stand, by distributing very tiny bills, showing the figures, &c., or by telling those who they can discern are going beyond Ryde. I believe there are some persons who are almost bound to travel by rail, but who can hardly pay present rates. In the interests of this class let me urge gentlemen to see the directors, and try to persuade them to do something – something fair –  in the interest of the poor compellled to travel; in the interests of others who would be inclined to travel but for the prohibition; in the interests of the Island, so that visitors should not be frightened away, or deterred from travelling whilst here –  and at the same time in the interests of the company. In the meantime there is hope ahead. Let the two mainland companies once get their pier, and they will buy up these toy lines, and charge at mainland scale.
Yours &c.,
AN INDEPENDENT MAN

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