Hampshire & Isle of Wight

Calls for Isle of Wight tourist bus to carry locals

The Island Coaster Image copyright Southern Vectis
Image caption The Island Coaster is marketed as a way for tourists to see the Isle of Wight

A tourist bus route on the Isle of Wight should carry locals with concessionary passes, parish councils have claimed.

The Island Coaster service runs between Ryde to Alum Bay and Yarmouth during the summer months but does not accept concessionary bus passes.

Six parish councils have said it could help mitigate the impact of cuts to public transport.

Isle of Wight Council said it was considering the issue.

The Coaster, run by Southern Vectis, is exempt from the England National Concessionary Travel Scheme (ENCTS) which provides free local bus travel to eligible older or disabled people.

In an open letter to the council, six parish and town councils said it should be opened up to concessionary pass holders to mitigate the effects of public transport cuts.

The 6 and 12 services, which follow similar routes to the Coaster, were reduced following cuts to subsidies earlier this year.

Niton parish councillor Jonathan Young said: "Residents see these buses going past their door and they really don't understand why they have to wait for a different one.

"The Coaster is now de facto an important part of the local bus network for a large part of the route, regardless of its original purpose.

An Isle of Wight Council spokeswoman said "The council is currently considering a request to consider Island Coaster's inclusion into the English National Concessionary Travel Scheme."

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