Cross-Solent ferry traffic up: Red Funnel beating Wightlink

Red Funnel reports a 7.1% increase in car volumes in the first quarter of 2015, saying they have outperformed the total cross-Solent market.

Red Osprey - Red Funnel

This in from Red Funnel, in their own words. Ed

Red Funnel Ferries, the original Isle of Wight ferry operator and Island specialist, has reported a strong start to 2015 on the back of a record 2014.

The ferry operator has witnessed growth of 7.1% in cars, 38.3% in coaches and 5.4% in passengers in the first three months of the year, compared to 2014.

Red Funnel has also outperformed the total cross-Solent market in Q1, which has seen an increase in cars and passengers of 6.3% and 4.5% respectively vs. Q1 last year.

Significant investment
The past 12 months have marked a significant year for Red Funnel, with the company investing over £4.4 million in the refurbishment of the passenger accommodation onboard its ro-pax ferries Red Falcon and Red Osprey.

Kevin George, CEO of Red Funnel, said:

“We continue to be encouraged by the growth in visitors to the Isle of Wight and we are confident that this trend is set to continue.

“The £2.2m refurbishment of Red Osprey, which mirrors sister ship Red Falcon, has been extremely well received by the market and our ‘customer first’ strategy is really paying off, as more visitors choose to travel via Southampton with Red Funnel.”

‘Customer first’
Red Funnel has invested heavily in expanding its ‘customer first’ strategy, ensuring that the excitement of a day trip or a short-break starts with an unrivalled travel experience across the Solent.

Jonathan Green, marketing and communications director for Red Funnel, said:

“2015 has got off to a great start, which demonstrates the appeal of the Isle of Wight as a year round destination for both day trip and staying visitors.

“Attractive pricing and a wide range of activities and events such as the Acoustic Isle music festival and the Electric Woods ‘Spirit of the Orient’ have given people new reasons to visit and stay for a short-break during the winter and shoulder periods.”

Thursday, 23rd April, 2015 10:45am



Filed under: Business, Ferry, Island-wide, Isle of Wight News, Top story, Travel

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13 Comments on "Cross-Solent ferry traffic up: Red Funnel beating Wightlink"

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A nail in the coffin of those pushing for a fixed link, they keep lamenting that people can’t afford to visit the IW.

I'll Get Flamed

Tiki – is your argument is that because people are using ferries we don’t need a FL? We have no option but to use ferries – they have a monopoly in a captive market at a time when people are travelling more!

I wonder what percentage of the increase in Red Funnel customers can be attributed to a decreased in Wightlink customers?

Aunty Bridger

No, the pro-link lobby maintain that the ferry prices are putting off the tourists.
Last year’s record figures plus more increases this year dis-spell that! Therefore the real reason they want a fixed link is, they hope (sic) it will be cheaper for them to GET OFF the Island NOT for others to come here!

I'll Get Flamed
So, you are stating that fares in excess of £100 are not deterring visitors. I can’t speak for the entire population, however I certainly have many friends and family who do not visit due to the high ferry fares. With reference to cheaper travel for Islanders traveling to the mainland … I certainly would like it be cheaper and don’t see that as a bad thing. Reducing… Read more »
Aunty Bridger

“Reducing travel costs is a proven way of increasing economic activity.”

But of no benefit to our Island as you want to go off and spend on the mainland!

I'll Get Flamed

Definite benefit to the Island in attracting more visitors and more businesses.

Only a few weeks ago we learned that 40 GKN jobs were being moved to Bristol.

I would like technology companies to see the Island as a place to invest in – bringing skilled jobs (and the salaries that go with them) to the Island.

Rod Manley

These companies are still taking us for stupid.


If visitor numbers are so buoyant, why has the Chair of Visit Wight recently launched a taskforce to combat falling friends and family visits?

When the head of the ferry-company-sponsored tourism organisation is pulling moves like that, you know there’s a big issue, which is away from the figures being tossed about by Red Funnel here.


Auntie, that is why, because there are no shops of any consequence. Build the bridge and they will come here.

This doesn’t surprise me at all. Red Funnel are consistently cheaper than Wightlink, and their ferries, particularly the upgraded ones, are far superior. When travelling to the West Country (as I am this weekend) I used to use Wightlink’s Yarmouth-Lymington service in preference to Red Funnel because of the shorter crossing. Checking prices for this Weekend Wightlink were far more expensive and for the return on Sunday… Read more »

Balfour Beatty have been in control long enough at Wightlink now but this monopoly has changed nothing. They have even kept Russell Kew. It is business as usual.Prices are too high and connectivity schedules are still inadequate. It shows that whichever Monopoly Capitalist is in control that they do not act in the people’s interest, that they are a class apart from us.

Both ferry companions are cocker hoop because they can charge us what every they like, being as there are only three options to cross with vehicle’s and there is only two company’s fighting it out. So there is NO real competition. So come on lets stop praising these robbers and insist on a third option A FIX LINK then maybe we would have a real choice on… Read more »

I’ve read and reread this article and I can’t find anything to justify the headline that Red Funnel are beating Wightlink.

To me this article is saying Red Funnel’s market share is growing at the expense of Wightlink but not that it is beating Wightlink.