Isle of Wight Festival – Taxi Or Bus From The Ports To The Festival?

There have been many rumours about bus pricing and taxi pricing during the festival, so I’ve gone “undercover journalist” in an attempt to clear things up once and for all. The common theme is that buses are the way to go as they’re much cheaper, but is that actually true?

Vectis Buses on many occasions have advertised, on the back of their buses, that they’re cheaper than a taxi, so let’s have a look and see if that advertising is actually kosher.

At 1800 hours this evening I rang the Vectis Customer Service number which was answered by a very helpful “Rob”. I asked Rob what it would cost for a single and a return bus ticket from any Isle of Wight port to the IOW Festival. Rob informed me that a single one way ticket was £9.00 (up from £8.00 last year) and a Return Ticket would be £15.00. That’s for a single adult over the age of 18.

OK, fair enough. Let’s now look at what it would cost with any Isle of Wight Taxi. I say “any” because the taxi companies do NOT set the taxi fares. Throughout the UK it’s the local councils who set the taxi fares, not the companies themselves. When the council change the rates, each taxi must go to a designated garage, who break the seal on the taxi meter, change the algorithms, and then seal the meter again. Only designated garages are allowed to break the seals and alter the meters.

Alright, let’s look at a typical Fishbourne Port to the Festival for 4 passengers. Via taxi you’ll be looking at around £25.00. That’s £6.25 per person. So one way via a taxi would actually cost you nearly a third (30%) less to take a taxi as opposed to a bus.. and whereas the bus will drop you a fair distance from where you actually need to go, the taxi will drop you off right outside your tent pitch, if required.

OK, let’s look at from the Red Jet ferry terminal to the festival. Again, one way with the bus is £9 and a return is £15 and you’ll need to enter a 1/4 of a mile queue to get on the bus, meaning a wait of 1-2 hours. The Friendly Cabs van takes (and is fully licensed for) 8 passengers. I drove the festival last year, after the taxi fares had increased, and one way from the Red Jet terminal to the festival cost £35.00 before 10pm and closer to £45.00 after 10pm. So let’s do the maths: £35 divided by 8 is £4.25. That means that by taxi, door to door, from the Red Jet, each person would pay £4.25. By bus they’d pay £9.00, over TWICE as much. OK, what about 5 people in the same taxi? £35 (and I’ve calculated everything above on Tariff 2, which is 5 people or more) divided by 5 is £7.00. So the taxi that drops you off in great comfort, a few meters from where you need to go, is actually £2 cheaper per person than the bus..

Taxi companies on the Isle of Wight tend to be made up of small companies with a few cabs to one man independents, who rely upon the tourist trade (and particularly the festival trade). So here’s a question:

Would you personally prefer to:

1. Support a small, local company striving to do their best to survive, whilst providing a top class and personal/professional service?


2. Support a large bus company that operates around the UK, whose managers and directors take enormous salaries and whose buses provide nothing but.. a generic bus service?

A good taxi company will meet you at the port at exactly the time you ask them to. The driver will load your bags into the taxi, chat to you on the way, provide you with any local knowledge you require and leave you with a smile. Your £7.00 will not help fund his holiday lodge in Switzerland but it will help fund the food on that night’s table for his children and the diesel to allow him to do it all again the next day and the next evening.

One thing I have noticed with festival goers is they’re a good bunch and I’ve always enjoyed driving them back and forth to the festival. Now armed with all the facts, which method of transport will you choose for the 2023 IOW Festival?

Copyright 2023 Friendly Cabs

3 Replies to “Isle of Wight Festival – Taxi Or Bus From The Ports To The Festival?”

  1. It’s £2 for any bus journey at the moment. You could just get the bus into Newport main town centre and walk 20 mins to the festival site

    1. Yes, at the moment, but NOT during the festival. The above prices were confirmed by Vectis Buses Customer Services just a couple of hours ago. Appreciate your input, though, Becky.

    2. As a follow-up – Vectis Buses do not put on a festival bus from a given location and then provide a standard route bus just down the road. Who would take the festival bus at £9 when a few metres away was one for £2? When the festival buses are running, that will be the only bus available.

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