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The Isle of Wight Council has announced that as of 05:00 tomorrow morning (Wednesday) the Cowes Floating Bridge will only be operating for key workers and emergency services.

Reducing the service provided between East Cowes and Cowes is to ensure that staff and passengers are able to maintain social distancing, whilst keeping this vital transport link available for those who need it.

Foot passenger capacity will be reduced. This means that the lower passenger accommodation will be limited to 6 people, and the upper deck limited to 12 people.

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Car lanes might be used for foot passengers if necessary, which will mean more can be carried.

To make sure that everybody is following this new limitation, staff may ask passengers or drivers about their journey.

The definition of ‘essential workers’ will be the same as used by the government for schools, and can be found here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-maintaining-educational-provision/guidance-for-schools-colleges-and-local-authorities-on-maintaining-educational-provision.

UPDATE WEDNESDAY – The Isle of Wight Council has changed its mind about the operation of the floating bridge.

It has been confirmed this morning that the floating bridge is operating for all users but priority is being given to key workers.

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A spokesman has said:

“The floating bridge is still operating, and we are prioritising foot passenger and vehicle journeys to ensure essential workers can cross all times.

“Other passengers are still able to use the service but we would remind people of the Government’s advice to stay at home, protect the NHS and save lives.

“We will ensure that staff and foot passengers are able to maintain social distancing, whilst keeping this vital transport link available for those who need it.

“Therefore foot passenger capacity will be reduced so that lower passenger accommodation will be limited to six people, and the upper deck limited to twelve people.

“If necessary, empty vehicle lanes may be used for foot passengers.

“All users are reminded to use either prepay at the ticket machines or use a Saver Card as we will not be handling cash at this time”.


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Paul n

What about staff that are still forced to go to work because there employer who isn’t classed as essential but is refusing to close ? There are several in cowes doing that now I can assure you . As I don’t drive I will be forced onto 2 buses to get to work and the same to get home really safe not


Good point. Yes, key workers need to be able to get around but putting others at increased risk to do that is counter-productive. With the current lockdown most (all?) of those using the bridge are doing so out of necessity rather than choice. There is also the danger that this might lead to resentment by some against the key workers seen to be getting privileged treatment in what many will view as a publicity stunt. Why not just drop the charges, re-open the bridge to all (reducing capacity and increasing frequency of service if necessary) and put in place measures… Read more »

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