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'Island Flyer' with transmission problems at Southsea this morning
‘Island Flyer’ with transmission problems at Southsea this morning / Photo: Steve Wenham

VIDEO: Hovertravel has announced that ‘Island Express’ is to return to the Ryde-Southsea service as the company faces continuing problems with the introduction of the new 12000TD hovercraft.

The cross-Solent operation was suspended earlier today (Wednesday) after ‘Island Flyer’ suffered a transmission problem at Southsea. The craft, 1 of 2 new hovercraft set to serve the Island, had to be pulled out of the way by a JCB digger. It follows the suspension of service yesterday.

In an update to customers, Hovertravel’s managing director, Neil Chapman has announced a new compensation policy for technical cancellations, as well as confirming that the aging ‘Island Express’ 1-88 hovercraft will be brought back into service to help ensure a 2-craft service.

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Neil has today said:

“We continue to see that the settling-in period for our new craft is taking considerably longer than we had hoped and this week we have unfortunately had to temporarily suspend services twice due to technical issues on both our 1-88 and 12000 craft.

“We appreciate this has caused inconvenience and frustration for many of our customers and therefore I would like to update you on a new compensation policy”.

As of today, a new compensation policy has come into force for technical cancellations, the full details of which are to be announced next week. Until 31st March 2017 if Hovertravel cancel services for ‘technical reasons’ then the company will be offering customers the following:

• For customers with a Season Card; Travel Card; Company Ticket Holder or Appreciation/extra day voucher, Hovertravel will transfer travel to Wightlink at cost to the company

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• In the event that it is not possible for Hovertravel to pay, customers should keep hold of their Wightlink ticket receipt and use the special online claim form which will be available from next week

• For pre-paid paper tickets, Hovertravel will refund the cost of the ticket

• Alternatively, customers have the option to request double compensation:

• Season cards – 2 apology vouchers for each single journey cancelled and 2 extra day voucher (for each day affected by cancellation)
• Travel cards – 2 apology vouchers (for each single journey cancelled)

In addition, Hovertravel are offering 1-2 weeks free travel upon renewal for those customers with a season card or travel card. Further details will be released next week.

Neil continued:

“In order to protect our timetable we are temporarily bringing Island Express back into service. Whilst we appreciate this is not ideal our mission is to ensure any combination of our craft is used in order to protect our 2 craft service.

“We appreciate we have sent a number of apologies in recent weeks and we are also aware that some of you are not receiving our SMS texts. We are investigating this and to further enhance our communications we are going to introduce push-notifications to our smartphone app, allowing for instant updates when we amend our status. Additionallly, the status hotline can be called on 01983 717717 for updates.

“Once again many thanks for your patience and please contact me or anyone in my team if you have any concerns”.

VIDEO (Thanks to Steve Wenham):

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