CROSS-SOLENT SAILINGS CUT AS FERRY COMPANIES INTRODUCE SKELETON SERVICE

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The Isle of Wight’s cross-Solent operators are to heavily reduce and, in some cases, suspended their cross-Solent services, it has been announced this afternoon (Wednesday).

Wightlink’s Fastcat service between Ryde and Portsmouth Harbour will be suspended completely from Monday 6th April until normal services can be restored. Meanwhile, a 2-hourly service is to be run on the Fishbourne-Portsmouth Gunwharf route, also operated by Wightlink. This will come into effect from Tuesday 7th April.

Red Funnel are cutting their Red Jet service down to just 4 early morning crossings and 5 evening crossings from Saturday 4th April. From Southampton the morning crossings will operate at 05:45, 06:45, 07:45 and 08:45 and in the evening at 16:45, 17:45, 18:45, 19:45 and 20:45. From West Cowes, in the morning the Red Jet will run at 06:15, 07:15, 08:15 and 09:15 and in the evening at 17:15, 18:15, 19:15, 20:15 and 21:15.

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Foot passengers will continue to be able to travel on Red Funnel’s vehicle ferry service, which will continue to operate to its advertised schedule throughout the day.

In the event that Hovertravel is unable to operate due to weather conditions or technical reasons, Southern  Vectis will be arranging for its number 9 service to go via Wightlink’s Fishbourne terminal to provide a foot passenger connection from both Newport and Ryde.

Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield says:

“We are sorry to suspend our FastCat route and reduce sailings between Portsmouth and Fishbourne, however we will still be able to transport all essential travellers and supplies to the Isle of Wight using one of our largest ships.”

Fran Collins, CEO of Red Funnel, said:

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“We have seen a significant decline in foot passengers using our Red Jet service in recent weeks due to the government’s guidance regarding non-essential travel. Whilst we are pleased the public is taking this advice seriously and only travelling if absolutely necessary, it subsequently means we are seeing very reduced passenger numbers on all sailings, particularly on our off-peak services where we have sailings operating with very few or even no customers at all.

“Given the current government guidance and very low passengers numbers, the revised timetable is more appropriate and the crossing times will still enable the majority of those still travelling with us to continue to use the Red Jet service, especially NHS and key workers. We are also continuing to operate our vehicle ferry services that foot passengers can use.”

Christopher Garnett, chairman of the Isle of Wight Transport Infrastructure Board, adds:

“These measures have the full support of the Board and will ensure essential, effective and robust cross-Solent ferry services can continue at this very difficult time. The Board and operators are working closely together to ensure full resilience for the Island is maintained in all key areas.

“These are lifeline services for the Island, bringing in all our supplies and freight – including food and fuel – and providing key connectivity in areas such as mainland travel for hospital appointments, whether on foot or by ambulance.

“Each of the operators continues to put in enormous efforts to maintain these services in these unprecedented times, including the promotion of ‘essential travel only’.”

Bob Seely MP has said:

“The ferry companies have now downsized to a skeleton service due to a very significant drop in demand for their services. I’ve had questions from some Islanders asking why visitors are still coming to the Island. Apart from a few very isolated cases, they are not.

“We do however need a skeleton ferry service to ensure food and medical supplies can get to the Island. We also need to make sure that key workers can come here to support the NHS and other vital services that keep people alive and safe.

“I spoke yesterday to the Chief Constable of Hants. and the Isle of Wight, Olivia Pinkney, to see what can reasonably be done to deter any potential visitors over the Easter period. We agreed that in Britain we have a tradition of policing by consent in this country and we need to be mindful of that. However, the Chief Constable will see what measures can be taken.

“The three ferry firms as well as tourism businesses on the Island are doing their best to ensure that we do not have holiday-makers and visitors coming to the Island at this time. They are behaving very responsibly and I thank them for that.”

 

The views/opinions expressed in these comments are solely those of the author and do not represent those of Island Echo. House rules on commenting must be followed at all times.
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Stay at home
Stay at home
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They should all be stopped except for freight and essential supplies, If people really have to travel across and back for their work, they should merely have to show proof of that. But no visitors should be allowed over for holidays or to self isolate down here when they live elsewhere.

Shanklin Steve
Shanklin Steve
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I agree totally but this should have been done 2 plus weeks ago to stop this awful virus being brought here!

Bart
Bart
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Submitting documents as evidence of residence, before tickets are issued will stop this.

Pompey Pete
Pompey Pete
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Big signs at the mainland terminals telling potential visitors that the ISLE OF WIGHT is CLOSED until further notice, should be all that is needed.

K Jones
K Jones
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I agree, produce a utility bill to prove you live or own property here. We do not need non residents burdening the NHS. We only have 1 intensive care bed per 2000 population and no sign of emergency facilities yet.

Daemy
Daemy
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“produce a utility bill to prove you live or own property here”
but that wouldn’t stop the holiday home owners,.. that’s who we really need to stop, the DFLs most of whom will be coming from somewhere (like London) where the likelihood that they are already infected will be much, much higher!

no they need to have proof that the isle of wight is their main residence

none given
none given
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no – daemy – you need to have key workers only providing proof of eligibility to travel to and from work – without proof of eligibility – no ferry travel.

In other words, unless you can prove you are going to, or coming from work, you get turned away at the ticket barrier.

Tony Jurd
Tony Jurd
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I hope that the ferry companies will now give a FULL refund to anyone that now wishes to cancel thier ferry crossing due the pandemic.
At present, I am led to believe that Red Funnel are offering a chance to move the booking to a different date , or charge a 50% cancellation fee, why?
I hope our Island MP catches site of this and lobbies government to make it compulsory for a full refund from the pirates of the Solent crossing, it is not the public’s fault that we are unable to travel it is under the instruction of the government. Come on Red Funnel and Wightlink…. do the right thing, put health before wealth. Put your customers before your profit.

Dismus
Dismus
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“ We agreed that in Britain we have a tradition of policing by consent in this country”
Political B.S. we are a police state, I personally didn’t give my consent to be bullied by people in blue uniforms, unlike some of the sheep in this country. It would also be nice to have a politician to represent the island instead of a safe seat poll dancer!

Ricky
Ricky
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it would be useful for season ticket holders (that are still paying for these servces) to be able to use their season ticket for any of the available forms of transport. for example, my partner uses the hover service daily to reach her NHS role and the current timetables are not aligned with her new working hours. this should also be open for key workers to use the car ferry service at no extra cost since their long hours wont be helped with bus services.

Marilyn
Marilyn
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These greedy ferry operators should cancel all boats except essential freight supplies or people needing to go to the mainland for hospital treatment. Apparently they are not even checking if passengers travel is essential…its like a free for all for a jolly..its disgusting and putting the risk of more cases on the island. The government should step in and stop this…or the Council….they are a joke at the best of times

Mojo
Mojo
Offline

Greedy you hit the nail on the head

David ford
David ford
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Yesterday there was a mini in our carpark with Irish plates on it so that was allowed to come over not seen it here before

Chivers
Chivers
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No comments from the fixed linkers. Perhaps they have all moved off the island. Feel sorry for key workers though.

Suzie
Suzie
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Thank you it’s hard enough as it is for us Key Workers without people having a go at us. We are all in this situation together and people just need to be nicer.

Mojo
Mojo
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Are they now going to open up the passenger lounges ,,,,,, bit of back tracking

Mark
Mark
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About time, but still not enough, and too late. Well done Wightlink and Red Funnel.

Paul
Paul
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Came past Kite Hill caravan/camping site today and appears to have a lot of caravans etc in there even though it says they are closed.

Daemy
Daemy
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“Kite Hill caravan/camping site … appears to have a lot of caravans” some people store their caravans on camp sites over winter …. (a lot of people who own one, don’t have space at home to keep it when they’re not using it)

Opinions Matter
Opinions Matter
Online

They all are only cutting their crossings down due to lower passenger numbers. All about money. ONLY ESSENTIAL SUPPLIES SHOULD BE COMING ACROSS TO THE ISLAND AND SERVICES FOR THE KEY WORKERS ONLY. WE ARE ALL BLOODY FED UP OF HEARING ABOUT CAR LOADS OF OVERNERS DRIVING AROUND SEAVIEW AS IF NOTHING IS GOING ON. COME ON POLICE, GET OUT AND STOP AND ASK THESE IDIOTS WHAT THE HELL THEY ARE DOING OUT. MORE NEEDS TO BE DONE TO STOP ANYONE THAT IS OUT AND ABOUT WITHOUT A LEGITIMATE REASON.

none given
none given
Offline

caps lock stuck on is it.

Opinions Matter
Opinions Matter
Online

NO! What’s your problem None Given?

none given
none given
Offline

Using caps lock is deemed to be shouting – would you have shouted this message directly in the faces of those reading this board, had you been saying it face to face – the answer would have been no, you wouldn’t have – so why are you shouting then.

none given
none given
Offline

“overners” – ha ha – jeez – everyone out and about has a legitimate reason to be out, that you can be assured of – shopping and exercise, going to and from work.

Has it ever occurred to you that the only reason you have electricity, fresh water, gas, food, sewage disposal and social media is because people are getting up and going to work – are you working or spending your days tutting at people for daring to be outdoors.

This is not a police state and people can go out if they need to.

nick
nick
Offline

Was out delivering today and i can tell you far more cars driving about, roads more busy, people out in the sun or on easter holiday? saw some police driving around but no one being stopped or checked, we are not going to get rid of this covid-19 at this rate, why is this still going on?

none given
none given
Offline

because people are going shopping, taking their daily exercise – and trust me, trying to keep everyone cooped in their little flats and houses, permanently will only ensure one thing..

peoples patience with the government and each other will run out and then you will start to see pockets of disobedience really show up on social media, with violence towards the police and it will spread as fast as the fear about this virus did.

Society is only putting up with this, as it trusts the government for now – if they drag it out too long, people will say “f^^k it, I am going out, what are they going to do, arrest the whole city”

the police/govt are only able to get society to do what they want as it is by consent – if society withdraws its consent, then it won’t matter what anyone says – looting and rioting will take place until the government backs off and takes down their draconian measures.

The government knows that society is close to a full on collapse and then all hell breaks loose – they had better ensure these restrictions are lifted for the majority as soon as possible.

Stay at home
Stay at home
Offline

Yes of course this would happen in selfish “entitled to do as we please” Britain. In this country, it seems, anything goes. I’d like to see the pleasure seeking scumbags try to do as they please in North Korea.

none given
none given
Offline

north koreans live under a “do as you are told or die” system – that is not even a society – it is a giant prison where its inmates
are mentally locked up for their entire lives and physically prevented from living their lives in the way they see fit – which is the fundamental right of every life form.

Someone who knows.
Someone who knows.
Offline

“Living their lives in the way they see fit”. Yes. plenty in the UK doing just that. Making the rest of us suffer by their antics.

A bit more law and order in this country, in favour of decent people is just what is needed and have been for decades now. Law abiding people should have nothing to fear from that.

Lin
Lin
Offline

I am an Islander born and bred, there are very few of us left. I strongly resent a lot of the comments made regarding the solent crossings. I am on the mainland and chose not to go back to my home on the Island. I am spending this lock down away from my family and home. I really don’t need non island people who only live there (not born) telling me to stay away.

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