Universal Credit makes discounted ferry travel tricky but improvements promised

Universal Credit makes discounted ferry travel tricky but improvements promised
Universal Credit makes discounted ferry travel tricky but improvements promised

Work is underway to address problems with a low fare travel scheme, after Islanders in receipt of universal credit told the Isle of Wight County Press they have been missing out.

People who get housing benefit, or council tax support, can apply for cheaper cross-Solent travel, thanks to Wightlink's discounted fares scheme, for eligible low income households.

Set up in September 2018, in conjunction with the Isle of Wight Council, it enables travel to the mainland for less money, for work, health or leisure. The fixed price discount applies to cars, motorbikes and pedestrians.

However, some Islanders getting Universal Credit say they have not been able to claim cheaper travel.

On the Isle of Wight, the monthly benefit has been paid since as early as June 2018 in Newport, and since October 2018 in other areas.

Although households already registered when the system switched have been able to  access cheaper travel to the mainland, Wightlink admitted new sign-ups have found it hard to claim their discount.

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The Isle of Wight ferry firm said: "We understand the roll-out of Universal Credit may have caused some issues with registering new households and are working with the Department for Work and Pensions to resolve matters."

Although not directly involved in the allocation of discounted fares, an Isle of Wight Council spokesperson said: "We are supporting Wightlink to work more closely with the DWP, so that Islanders in receipt Universal Credit, and who meet the criteria can access the affordable travel scheme."