Wightlink will suspend its Yarmouth-Lymington car ferry service from the last sailing on Tuesday 31st March 2020 until normal services can be restored, following the outbreak of Coronavirus.
Fewer people have been travelling on the route in recent weeks and numbers have fallen heavily since Monday’s announcement by the Prime Minister urging everyone to stay at home, unless they are essential workers.
There is room on Wightlink’s larger car ferries that cross between Portsmouth and Fishbourne for all the vehicles and people displaced from the Lymington-Yarmouth route.
The suspension will reduce the risk of COVID-19 spreading to Wightlink staff based at Lymington and Yarmouth and further into the community.
Wightlink will also be able to concentrate vital resources on to its Portsmouth-Fishbourne service by using the skills and experience of some colleagues currently working at Lymington and Yarmouth.
Wightlink Chief Executive Keith Greenfield says:
“We know suspending the service will disrupt the travel plans of some customers and we apologise, but it no longer makes sense to continue operating a route with very few customers while exposing our colleagues to risk.
“We have plenty of capacity on our Portsmouth-Fishbourne ships to carry all the essential travellers who need to cross the Solent at this time.”
Existing Lymington-Yarmouth vehicle bookings are being transferred to the Portsmouth-Fishbourne route. Customers can amend their tickets for free online or claim a refund.
Under the leadership of Isle of Wight Council during the COVID-19 crisis, all cross-Solent ferry operators are working together to keep the Island connected. Pre-purchased foot passenger tickets will be accepted on Red Funnel and Hovertravel. This includes rail tickets and season tickets.
Christopher Garnett, chairman of the Isle of Wight Transport Infrastructure Board, adds:
“The Board has been meeting regularly with the cross-Solent ferry operators to review the current and developing situation.
“The need to safeguard the essential mainland links and services for the Island remains paramount. But there will be adjustments to services and timetables to ensure our operators remain effective and robust during these critical times.
“In the light of this, the decision to suspend the Yarmouth-Lymington service is unfortunately unavoidable at this point, and we fully support Wightlink in taking this decision in the best interests of the Island.”
Fran Collins, CEO of Red Funnel, comments:
“We understand and sympathise with Wightlink’s tough decision to suspend one of its routes in these extraordinary times. No ferry operator would wish to reduce services unless absolutely necessary and we fully support Wightlink at this time. Red Funnel is doing all we can to maintain continuity for all customers across the communities we serve.”