The Price of a Postcode

Called Wightlink today to investigate books of tickets. I’d heard that for Island residents, 5 return car ferry tickets could be had for around £200.

WIghtlink are one of two ferry companies who operate car ferries from the Isle of Wight to the rest of civilization, so if you want a car on or off The Island, it’s these guys or Red Funnel.

Me: How much is a book of 5 return tickets? I live on the Island.

Operator: That’s £213.50.

Me: Cool. How do I get them?

Operator: You’ll need to go to a terminal and show them your driving license with an Island address on it.

My driving license has a mainland address (we rent on short-term leases, so I’ve always left the address as my parents’ house since they’re not going far).

Me: I have lots of utility bills.

Operator: That’s no good. They only accept driving licenses.

Now at this point, imagine me with a bit of disappointment. I can vaguely understand why they insist on an Island registered license, since the company has a long-standing habit of charging Islanders less to go to the mainland than vice versa – debate amongst yourselves the pros and cons of this – so I ask the inevitable:

Me: Okay, how much will it be to get the same set of tickets if I have a mainland driving license?

Operator: £390

Me: *Stunned*

The price of the tickets, fuel surcharges, the oddly strict driving license address rule, everything else pales into insignificance when you realise just how vastly different Wightlink treat Islanders and mainlanders.