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Fond farewell to ferries’ top man


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I do wonder if this is as a result of the ongoing Lymington/ Yarmouth saga, an innocent victim perhaps.

 

http://www.iwcp.co.uk/news/news/fond-farewell-to-ferries-top-man-26641.aspx

 

WIGHTLINK has parted company with its chief executive of three-and-a-half years.

The ferry company said Mr Willson, 44, stood down "by mutual agreement".

Mr Willson was appointed when the Macquarie investment bank took over Wightlink. He had worked as a group finance and strategy director for Condor Ferries.

Wightlink said the multi-million pound investment programme in its new fleet had been driven by Mr Willson and was now nearly complete.

A spokesman said: "Having seen the company through this critical phase of its development, Andrew and the board of Wightlink have agreed it is an appropriate time for new leadership, focused on exceptional service delivery, to take the company forward.

"A search for Andrew’s replacement is underway, and until a permanent replacement is found, Dyson Bogg has been appointed interim chief executive officer. Dyson works for Wightlink’s owners, Macquarie Capital, as an asset director overseeing its investments in various companies within the portfolio."

Wightlink’s multi-million pound investment in new ferries has included the three new controversial Yarmouth-Lymington vessels. Their introduction remains problematic.

The rest of Wightlink’s senior management team remains unchanged.

"These are exciting times for Wightlink and the strong foundations that have been put in place can now be developed further. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank Andrew for the substantial contribution he has made and wish him all the best for the future," said Wightlink chairman Gordon Parsons.

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

I think it is perhaps more to do with the generally appalling level of customer experience that radically needs addressing. Wightlink lost a lot of market share to Red Funnel last year, and the latter is reporting a big increase in traffic whilst Wightlink is busy reducing staff and cutting prices. The level of service by Red Funnel is considerably ahead of that offered by Wightlink, and they play a much more active role in the Island community.

 

A usual Wightlink experience consists of:

 

1) either waiting 23 minutes to make a phone booking before giving up or hoping that the website will be working - sometimes it's great, sometimes really so; simply not reliable

2) having to get out your car to collect tickets if booked online, no drive through check-in on the Portsmouth route (Lymington route does though)

3) surly staff at the terminal - offices and waiting lanes

4) getting on the crossing you're booked on, if you're lucky as they seem to have an odd way of loading and on several occasions a ship has sailed without me on it despite having arrived over 30 mins before departure and booked on - when this happens you just get a shrug of the shoulders!

5) setting sail late - usually the result of more than a handful of cars being booked on St Clare (last week I was on the 18.00 from Fishbourne which sailed at 18.45, hence delaying the entire fleet)

6) might be clean inside, might not

 

The things that Wightlink have going for it are the frequency of crossings, seating space inside (which is sadly lacking on the Raptors on even a moderately busy crossing; would have been very mad today I am sure) and the shorter crossing times. With their virtual shuttle service from Portsmouth then perhaps a BC Ferries style operation would be more effective where things run more efficiently.

 

I hear that with the new booking system not yet fully operational at Wightlink, double booking crossings is now becoming common as two systems are selling the same space but not talking to each other. Indeed, I had issues on a getting on a crossing last week and the receptionist at the terminal did not seem surprised about my booking experience in the slightest so imagine it is very common place.

 

Wightlink are currently pushing their customer experience survey online, which should certainly be commended, but perhaps unless they do something fast they will miss the boat in more ways than one with people choosing not to travel to the IOW because of a bad holiday experience on Wightlink - for my holiday rental business and many other businesses on the island that could mean disaster.

 

At the moment their huge plan for investment, which again should be commended especially in this economic climate, isn't yet going to plan with Lymington service still not settled, Ryde pier head with nothing going on to improve the delapidated state of the terminal, and no stretching of the St class having been completed nor improvements to St Clare's turnarounds.

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

I hear that with the new booking system not yet fully operational at Wightlink...

 

...At the moment their huge plan for investment, which again should be commended especially in this economic climate, isn't yet going to plan with Lymington service still not settled, Ryde pier head with nothing going on to improve the delapidated state of the terminal, and no stretching of the St class having been completed nor improvements to St Clare's turnarounds.

 

Hmmm, although 3 new ferries for Lymington/ Yarmouth, 2 new cats on the way for Portsmouth/ Ryde and a new booking system were all significant parts of that investment which most definately have taken place.

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

Hmmm, although 3 new ferries for Lymington/ Yarmouth, 2 new cats on the way for Portsmouth/ Ryde and a new booking system were all significant parts of that investment which most definately have taken place.

 

Lymington-Yarmouth

 

NEW SHIPS HAVE RESULTED IN REDUCED LEVEL OF SERVICE...

1) crossing times have increase from 30 to 35 mins with the new ships

2) usual service frequency (every 30 mins) still not achieved with average 45+ mins between crossings

3) ships cannot cope with foot passengers when full car load; Old Gaffers festival the other week was apparantly a nightmare

 

ON THE PLUS SIDE...

1) ships get good reviews for their accommodation

 

 

Portsmouth - Ryde

 

No enhancements seem to be on the horizon for Ryde Pier whilst parking still is an issue, loading is labourious, terminal is most uncomfortable. The ships aren't in yet but notice an increased crossing time has been announced from 18 to 20 mins. Ships were due in during the summer, it nows seems it will be autumn. Not too much it seems but is proportionate to the increase on Fishbourne when St Clare came in and Yarmouth when the Wight class came in. Before the FastCats the crossing time was 15 mins. Progress?

 

But then again everyone know that you take Wightlink for price, Hovertravel if speed is important... and you actually want to be sure you'll set off if there is a gust of wind.

 

 

Portsmouth - Fishbourne

 

As per PDF link - http://www.wightlink.co.uk/media/41618/ports_fis_brochure.pdf

 

Winter 2008/2009 - new high level ramp - not done, no start visible

 

Winter 2008/2009 - reconfiguration of Fishbourne - this is miles away from being completed and certainly won't done in time for summer - currently vastly reduced waiting lanes as two terminal buildings and a cafe, no drive through check-in; this won't be ready for summer and will be a nightmare. on monday they are warning cars not to approach the terminal until 30 mins before or face being turned away. This is because they have no space for the cars for two full ferries. For anyone who knows Fishbourne Lane, the thought of what it will be like after the festival is spine tingling. It will undoubtably have an impact on cars coming off the ships too so imagine they will be running pretty late (of course St Clare will have more than one and a half cars on it so will be late). I think I'll stay on the island and go to work!

 

Early 2009 - alterations to St Clare - not started and not likely with summer nearly here and no upper ramps to service it. So in the meantime will continue to sail late and hold up the rest of the fleet. Don't be fooled by her being on time once or twice... it's a rare and pleasant surprise!

 

Early Summer 2009 - conversion of St Faith and St Cecilia - as with St Clare no start in sight.

 

 

Booking system

 

The new one is working but cannot yet take over. Online bookings can only be made up to end of September. Was told the new one would be working 10 days ago - 2 days ago a reservation advisor laughed when I asked if it was in yet. In the meantime booking system continues to be unreliable (does not always work and speed varies greatly) and apparantly double bookings seem to be the new problem with most public bookings and all online bookings being on the old Travellog system and freight and trade phone bookings being on the new system. It's not a surprise they are having problems as Red Funnel did theirs in winter 2008 and had real problems, can imagine that the middle of summer could not be a worse time to do it.

 

 

The OFT results have been a big "water cooler" topic at work today as for Islanders ferry travel really does matter - unlike the channel islands or isle of man we can't take planes. The northern isles are subsidised yet islanders have to pay prices double those of P&O to Calais during summer to get to the mainland. It's generally accepted that Wightlink's customer experience is lacking and that Red Funnel seem to have the edge. Whilst they are by no means perfect - the raptor class have passenger lounges which are just too small for the number of cars since the extra car decks got put in - RF have been trying to improve their service over the past couple of years. And since their new chap James Fulford came in a number of changes have come about which are noticed by regular users.

 

Wightlink's St class on the Red Funnel service (with a restuarant added tho) would be an equivalent for a ferry enthuiast to fantasy football! Perhaps they could take St Catherine, run it for extra capacity (which they will need if the customers continue to heamourage from Wightlink - which is the rumour around here whilst their CEO has gone) and fill the 30 mins when the linkspans are empty at either end?

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

A somewhat different view on the matter:

http://www.dailyecho.co.uk/news/4437365.Wightlink___s_chief_executive_quits/

 

Wightlink’s chief executive quits

 

11:30am Sunday 14th June 2009

 

THE man who oversaw the controversial introduction of three new Wightlink ferries in Lymington has suddenly left the company.

A short statement from the Hampshire to Isle of Wight ferry firm said former chief executive Andrew Willson, pictured right, had left “by mutual consent”.

He was at the helm of the company as it sailed into storm of local anger over the new W Class ships worth £27m, on its Lymington to Yarmouth route. Residents said at four metres longer, one metre wider and a whole deck higher than the Cclass ships they replace, the ferries would damage the river.

The Croatian built craft are still the subject of High Court action from residents concerned at the level of water they displace Now, just weeks after they entered service, Mr Willson has abruptly stood down from his high-profile role.

Wightlink’s owners, Australian investment fund Macquarie Capital, have parachuted in an interim replacement, Dyson Bogg, while they launch a hunt for Mr Willson’s successor.

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

From a personal perspective, I have only had one dealing with Andrew, and he went out of his way to meet a request I made of him. I was surprised, and very grateful. I am sad for his departure.

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

Not wishing to seem rude, but is Adicats reply in totally the wrong forum (where did the sale of St Clare come into the discussion about the departure of Andrew Willson?

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

Mark, I have moved the post to St Clair thread in Wightlink forum. Could everyone please try and remain on topic or at least within sight of the topic from a hill !

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

Did not mention about his departure as such or him by name but maybe some reasons as to why of which St Clare probably played a major part and what perhaps should have been achieved but was not were in there.

 

Can St Clair not be amended to correct spelling as title to a thread with the most important word leads to search capability problems?

 

I know Mark.Icteacher@ has argued against me in a few responses but seems to be picking on me now:(

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

Did not mention about his departure as such .......

 

Or at all in fact (L) - hence the move and certainly nothing to do with being picked on. Lively debate and respectful differing opinions are what this place is all about and there are plenty of cases of thread drift. Tagging the post will ensure that it is picked up in searches, something that everyone should try to do to help others searching.

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

As a gentle reminder to both, please remember that this is an open public forum which uses a few ground rules (along with common sense) to keep things going smoothly.

 

Whilst debate can often get heated, it's important to remember personal respect at all times.

 

It should also be remembered to try and ensure your posting is relevant to the thread. Sometimes, things do go off-course (it's in the spirit of discussion) - that's just how it is.

Should anyone feel they have a particular issue, it should be raised to the BFE Staff who can take appropriate action.

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

I know Mark.Icteacher@ has argued against me in a few responses but seems to be picking on me now:(

 

Adicat, i'm sorry you feel I have picked on you, but the post in question, as the BFE staff have pointed out, made no mention of the discussion thread in this topic- that being the reasons why Andrew Willson has moved on from Wightlink. Whilst you may have had a clear and explicit link in your mind, it seemed more as if your post was simply "St Clare bashing" which isn't the topic of this thread!

 

As for previous arguments, I do confess that sometimes your posts do grate with me, not you personally (I wouldn't know you if I walked past you in the street!) but your posts. There seems to be a recurring theme in your posts- that of bring back the old days- what directly contradicts my opinions- that of wanting progress. Sometimes, you do seem to say things that just don't make sense at all, for example in a recent thread discussing a bridge across Portsmouth harbour you posted

Quick, purchase all 3 C classes, prow to prow and we have ourselves a bridge and saved them all!!!!

which obviously is an unworkable solution as it would totally block shipping movements within the harbour. I'm sure you posted it tongue in cheek but again it's harping back to old times, which have now changed.

 

However, as I said before, whilst I may not agree with some (lots!) of what you say, I have no problem with you as a person. Indeed, I quite look forward to our online "discussions", and as long as they remain good natured the odd argument never hurt anyone.

 

Regards,

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

As for previous arguments, I do confess that sometimes your posts do grate with me, not you personally (I wouldn't know you if I walked past you in the street!) but your posts. There seems to be a recurring theme in your posts- that of bring back the old days- what directly contradicts my opinions- that of wanting progress. Sometimes, you do seem to say things that just don't make sense at all, for example in a recent thread discussing a bridge across Portsmouth harbour you posted which obviously is an unworkable solution as it would totally block shipping movements within the harbour. I'm sure you posted it tongue in cheek but again it's harping back to old times, which have now changed.

 

However, as I said before, whilst I may not agree with some (lots!) of what you say, I have no problem with you as a person. Indeed, I quite look forward to our online "discussions", and as long as they remain good natured the odd argument never hurt anyone.

 

Regards,

May I make a suggestion here?... It may be better using the PM facility to write something like this...

This is more of a private issue than a public one for other memebers to see...

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

You may, but as Adicat had said that he felt (publicly) I was picking on him specifically i thought I should reply (publicly).

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

This thread had deviated quite a long way from the original topic, so I have moved all the posts about what levels of service are expected and required to a new thread in Open House Chatter:

 

http://forums.bfenthusiasts.com/showthread.php?t=7099

 

Let's keep this thread back on track to the departure of Wightlink's top man.

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

You may, but as Adicat had said that he felt (publicly) I was picking on him specifically i thought I should reply (publicly).

 

Mark.icteacher@ - as you were able to quote what I've posted, you have evidently read it, along with the suggestion that if you have a problem you should come to any of the BFE Staff.

 

I'd like to (again) remind all members that this is an open-community, but that behind the usernames there are real individuals. Please think before posting.

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

Sorry but I don't understand the issue. Adicat said (publicly) that he felt I had picked on him specifically, I have explained (publicly) why I feel we have differing views. Isn't this the purpose of a forum- to exchange and discuss differing viewpoints?

As I pointed out previously, I may have taken issue with some of what Adicat has said but never with his beliefs as a person. He may want the old ferries back- I think that would be a step back, and I have explained my reasons why.

Perhaps if there is a further issue one of the BFE staff would like to PM me in order we continue this conversation.

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

Perhaps if there is a further issue one of the BFE staff would like to PM me in order we continue this conversation.

 

Certainly. This has been done.

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

Lets move on folks. If I put a little face by the post then like most, there is a tongue in cheek comment there and St Clare bashing, I will leave that to the skippers (but she is 15 late today already). Any bets on whether the new man is internal or external. I for one would like to see (and you always seem to find that it does not happen) is that someone with IOW ferry experience gets internal promotion as they may have had their own ideas and certainly the knowledge (but not had the opportunity in the past to do anything).

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

Always tricky to know if internal or external is for the best. I guess the people holding the purse strings will be looking for one thing and thsoe on the ground will be looking for something else.

 

Sitting on the fence a little I suppose but when you parachute someone in from outside, unless they have a stellar reputation to bring with them, you are naturally going to face hostility. Someone internal tends to be greeted with open arms as 'one of their own' but then has to follow the direction that the company has set out. Anyone who has been promoted over their co-workers will know how quickly the masses decide "you've changed" !

 

Does the parent company see Wightlink as a service to run or an asset to maximise profit from as part of their wider portfolio and bigger plan ?

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

(L) sorry... " Does the parent company see Wightlink as a service to run or an asset to maximise profit from as part of their wider portfolio and bigger plan ? "

 

will comment properly when i stop laughing!!!

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Re: Fond farewell to ferries’ top man

 

(L) sorry...

 

will comment properly when i stop laughing!!!

 

Don't take too long. Fly out later for a week and not going to use data roaming for comedy purposes ! I suppose what I am getting at is whether new ships mean there is a genuine longterm plan to maintain their interest in the company or are they just tarting it up ? Don't get the sense that they are in the league of Carl Icahn and TWA but . . . ?

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